On my Christmas wish list this year was a grain mill.
Santa didn’t deliver, so I decided I would experiment on how to use the appliances I have to make flour from Common Ground Garden grown wheat.
So here it is: wheat head to whole grain flour in four steps.
1. Thresh your wheat.
In aiming to keep this process low-cost and simple, all I am using to remove the kernels of wheat from the head is a 2.5 by 1.5 foot wooden frame that has a metal screen bottom. The metal screen mesh has approximately ½ inch squares, big enough for the wheat kernels to go through, but small enough to keep the stalk from falling through.
Put the wheat on top of the screen inside the threshing box. Rub your shoe over the wheat heads until the wheat kernels come out and fall through the screen.
2. Winnow the kernels from the chaff.
Put the threshed wheat into a large shallow dish or basket. Then shake and blow the chaff/kernels until the chaff is removed.
3. Pour the kernels into your mill or coffee grinder.
For me, it is a coffee grinder, simply because I don’t have a mill. The coffee grinder is the first stage of grinding the wheat into smaller pieces.
4. If not using a mill, then grind finer by processing in a blender.
Because my coffee grinder makes coarser flour, I then process the coarse flour in a blender. If you have a high speed blender like a Vitamix, you can simply grind your flour in your blender without the coffee grinder step.
Voila! Whole, healthful flour to bake with.
Looking for a bread recipe? You can substitute your whole grain flour for sprouted quinoa in the recipe for Sprouted Quinoa Bread.
While most gardeners don’t exactly go looking for snakes, this cobra is quite handy.
The Cobraheaded Cultivator is a multi-use tool: it weeds, it helps with sewing, and it digs into our Bay Area clay with ease. With over a hundred students visiting the garden each week and a half-acre garden to tend, we need quick weeding abilities.
This all points to a garden mantra: good tools make a difference. At Common Ground Garden, when we are short on tools, students often have to pair off to share tools, which means that they get less time of hands-on learning. Do you have some D-handled garden forks just collecting dust? Check out the Common Ground Garden wish list!
As one of the first blog posts for our garden project, I wanted to highlight exactly what is GROW BIOINTENSIVE (“GB”). Maybe people ask what makes our farming method unique and how it differs from other farming methods … so, here we go!
8 PRINCIPLES OF GROW BIOINTENSIVE
There are 8 main principles that really distinguish GB from other intensive-planting methods.
1. Deep Soil Preparation
In GB, we prepare our soil to a depth of 24”. This is quite unique. Conventional farming methods typically loosen the soil to a depth of 6-8”, on average. Why do we loosen soil? For aeration. Yes, air. A soil with good soil structure is composed of 50% air! In order to do this, we double dig our beds. What is double digging you ask? Well that’s an entirely different blog topic … But it’s a process of manually digging / loosening the soil in your beds to 24”. This allows us to aerate the soil up to 4x as deep as conventional farming and means the roots of our plants can access more nutrients, hold more water and generally have more room to grow. More roots = more plant. This is one of the ways in which we are able to produce exceptionally high yields in such a small space, which is a characteristic of the GB method.
For all you homesteaders-at-heart… we, at Common Ground Garden, are rolling out our first blogs.
When I tromped through our garden a few weeks ago, I found some of our threshed quinoa had been rained on and thus sprouted. So I decided to make it into bread. I guess it’d be appropriate to say: When in doubt, use the sprout!
As a quick aside, bread is easy to make. It just takes time to rise. So if you can count, and you have patience, you can bake your own bread. In comparison to store-bought bread, homemade bread is healthier for your body and cheaper on your budget.