Triticum aestivum Winter annual grain. Up to 5'. Extremely frost hardy. Hard red winter wheat with medium-late maturity is ready to harvest in August in Maine.
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.
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.
8150 Sirvinta Winter Wheat - Organic
Triticum aestivum Most modern wheats are broadly divided into categories by color (red or white), protein content (hard or soft), and by planting season (winter or spring).
“Red” and “white” refer to the color of the kernel, which doesn’t necessarily translate into the color of the flour, although red wheats tend to have a darker-colored bran and white wheats tend to have a sweeter flavor.
“Hard” wheat is a high-protein wheat (typically 13-15% protein) that is ideal for bread-baking; “soft” wheat is a low-protein wheat (typically 10-11% protein) that is best for tender-crumbed pastries.
Winter wheat is planted in the fall, around first frost or up to 3 weeks or so before. It grows several inches in the fall, goes dormant for the winter, sprouts early in the spring and is ready for harvest by mid-August in Maine. Spring wheat is planted in early to mid-spring and is harvested in the fall of the same year. Winter wheats tend to produce yields 25-50% higher than spring wheats and compete better with weeds, but hard spring wheats have the best potential for high protein content.