Sunday, October 14, 2012

Growing Buckwheat in Kihei

Buckwheat is a heat tolerant seed crop that can be planted year round in Kihei.

Although buckwheat is typically planted as a cover crop
 it can be grown just for it's lovely flowers.

Tokyo Buchwheat
Harvested at 10 weeks

Buckwheat is not a grain but a seed that's often used as a gluten free substitute for grain. In contrast to wheat and sesame, buckwheat seeds were easy to liberate from the plants. In a world of changing climate patterns and food crisis predictions, these types of crops are of particular interest to me. In the event of food shortages, we could grow buckwheat in Kihei even during the hot summer months.

Buckwheat Cover Crop
3 weeks

5 weeks

I planted half of a 55 sf garden bed in an organic, generic unhulled buckwheat and the other half with corn. Buckwheat seeds are broadcast over the soil and raked in or covered with a thin layer of soil.

The organic unhulled buckwheat that's sold in the bulk section of the natural food stores will sprout and can be planted as a cover crop. If your not planting buckwheat as an heirloom food crop, purchasing organic generic seed in bulk is more economical than purchasing from seed dealers. If you're planting buckwheat as a grain crop, heirloom seeds are available from Sustainable Seed Company.

In Japan, buckwheat soba noodles are traditionally eaten on New Years day. In raw cuisine, sprouted hulled buckwheat can be made into raw crackers, granola bars and mixed with flax seeds to make mini-pizza crusts or tortillas. Unhulled buckwheat can be sprouted in soil or a soil-less medium, similar to the way wheatgrass is grown, and eaten as a salad green. Organic buckwheat hulls are used to fill pillows and zafu cushions.


  1. Hi Jane!
    I changed some browser settings so i hope this comment doesn't disappear when i click on the 'publish' button!
    I grew some buckwheat as a cover crop last winter. Thought the bees would go mad for the flowers but no, not much interest. Did your buckwheat see any action? I had no idea it was so heat tolerant.

  2. Hi Julie! I had a similar experience - it seems the buckwheat pollen has to reach a specific stage before the bees are attracted and then they go crazy over the flowers for a few days.

    They (whoever they are) fixed a few of bloggers problems maybe 2 months ago One of the worst I had was that blogger was arbitrarily white highlighting various lines in my posts. It was just nuts.