Most wheat varieties available in the U.S. are bred for and adapted to the prairie-type soils of the Upper Midwest and not as well-suited to the moist forest-based soils of the Northeast. Sirvinta (named after a river in Lithuania) was brought to Maine in 1998 by Raivo Vihman from Tallinn, Estonia, where soils and climate are more like New England’s. Raivo shared seed with Will Bonsall, who found Sirvinta to be his favorite winter wheat to grow and eat. If you’re tired of watching your wheat come in lushly only to fall over when it gets tall, you’ll love how Sirvinta’s sturdy stalks stand strong—great for straw. Even in smaller spaces, your dreams of baking with homegrown wheat can come true: A customer in Saint Albans, ME, yielded 59# of wheat berries from her 10x65' plot—that’s a lot of loaves! Bonsall grows in Zone 4b and says, “I like to plant between early Sept. and mid-Oct.; too late [and it] doesn’t get established well before [winter]. Mine is ready to harvest in August, [though] I pay more attention to the stage of kernels (hard dough stage), and the straw being roughly half yellow. In good weather, stooks should be cured in 3–7 days; if showers threaten, I may throw a tarp over them.” Read more in Bonsall’s Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening! Seed at 100–150#/acre, 3–4#/1000 sq ft.
Seed at the heavier rate for later plantings (after Sept. 15 in Maine). We offer smaller garden-scale packets of Sirvinta seed, but it is NEW! as a farm-seed listing. ①
As food grain: Flour has great flavor and texture for all-purpose use. Maine bakers have found Sirvinta to have superb qualities for bread, including long-ferment loaves.
As feed grain: Protein approximately equivalent to barley but with lower fiber content. Wheat is the best whole grain to feed to chickens and an ideal base for finisher and gestation rations for hogs. Highly palatable to ruminants, but should be fed carefully to prevent acidosis. Wheat should not be finely ground before feeding: cracking or soaking is preferable.
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