Transition Whatcom

Hi Everyone!

I love the discussion going on so far/already. This website has really gotten a good amount of use lately. I wanted to make sure that everybody knows I am starting Year Three of the Backyard Beans & Grains Project growing grain, dry bean, and seed trials, and my focus is mainly everything BUT wheat and barley and all things related. I will be trialling a few wheat and barley this year, but it seems those are all the rave with others so I think my work will be most valuable if I focus on: flax, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, dry beans, flour/dent corn, garbanzos, and soup peas. It's a hefty list and totally gluten-free (haha). It also supplements the work others are doing on wheat et al.  

My passion/interest in this project is towards small-scale, low-tech growers and gardeners. I am less concerned with marketability and economic competitiveness and more concerned with ease of growing and processing by hand and forming a well-balanced, locally-based diet. The goal here is to trial varieties and share both knowledge and seed when the results come in. I am making up seed packets of what I have found to work well and hope to have a bunch of new varieties to add come this fall. I am hoping that I can gather donations in exchange for seed and advisement because I need to be able to pay for seed and materials. I also would like to somewhat compensate the generous farmer who has been letting me use his land and tilling free of charge. 

So pass the word, but do also keep in mind that I have had some experience with the crops I listed if anyone wants to ask questions about them in this forum! I would really like to expand this conversation beyond the wheat family. There's a whole wide world of other crops out there that can help fill that niche in our diet!

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Replies to This Discussion

note that I don't know IF quinoa is grown on the westside... just that is much more likely to thrive there.
Maybe, maybe not. Quinoa is actually a cool-season crop, for the most part, although there are many many varieties in Peru and Bolivia, from lowlands to way high in the mountains. It actually can do pretty alright here. I had a fabulous crop a few years ago but it didn't mature by the time the rains came. That's the sticky part, it sprouts almost immediately when it gets rained on. But I still got a crop. The thing is, with quinoa, we need more research and breeding because the low-saponin varieties don't do well here (the cool, short season quinoas tend to be the high-saponin varieties), and the saponins (soapy flavor, blech) can be next to impossible to rinse off on a home scale. I really never got mine to be edible, and I don't know if it's good for my chickens, either. Uprising Seeds does sell it, though, so maybe they've got it figured out better than me, or it's a matter of having a greenhouse to get it going earliers.


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