Monday, July 28, 2008


These are the seed heads Jack trimmed off the stalks we have growing in some of the buckets. He transplanted them from under the bird feeder because they were thriving, and he wanted to see exactly what they were and what sort of plant they'd form. It appears we have milo, or grain sorghum.

Can anyone confirm this for us? I have no idea what the difference between grain sorghum and the sort you use for syrup is, if any.

These few trimmed stalks (shown in the picture, behind the potted fig) have gone nuts in the summer heat here, enduring under-watering, over-watering, and outright neglect. They keep putting out more seed heads, and they are hardy as can be. The insects haven't messed with them, and though some of the leaf stalks get brownish, the plant itself seems to be indestructible.

If this is milo, it appears we have happened onto something that would grow really well down here, and possibly provide some additional fodder for livestock, and even a grain for us to grind for breadmaking or porridge. If anyone is familiar with this and knows of its practical uses, we'd love to know!

If it is milo, here's a link we found that piqued our interest.


TOCCO said...

Don't have a clue what you have there.... I did buy some "whole wheat sorghum flour" the other day. It made a great dense whole grain bread!

Nola said...

It looks like milo to me. It's mainly been grown for livestock feed in the past, but now they're growing it for making ethanol, too.
If you've ever seen corn growing, the milo looks a lot like a smaller, more compact version. The difference is in the head. Milo has that very seedy head, whereas corn will have tassles, and of course, the ears of corn themselves.
I'm not sure where you are, but we grow it here in the midwest quite a bit (Kansas down through Texas). Cotton used to be king here in north central Texas, but now we are seeing more plantings of milo, maize (corn), and soybeans.
If you are in the US, your local USDA extension agent could probably be helpful making a proper id and tell you if it's feasible to grow in your area.

Twinville said...

If it's milo, I can't wait to read more of how you process and use it. I'd love to read what you think of it's flavor and value as an edible grain.

By the way, I think your blog is brilliant! Come visit my blog and pick up your award :)

Razor Family Farms said...

I love that you greet each plant with such joy and see its potential. To me, that is an excellent study in your character and a prime example of the Robbyn that I've come to know.

Thanks, Nola, for the information. I have filed it somewhere to rattle around in my braincase and hopefully to tumble out when needed. Of course, it won't. I'll think of it in the middle of a movie or on a road trip when I am miles away from another human that I can share it with. don't you just hate when that happens?

Is milo easier on the soil than corn, I wonder?


Robbyn said...

Christina, I wonder if whole wheat sorghum flour is part wheat and part sorghum? Now you've got me curious!

Nola, I really appreciate the great information...thank you! I wonder if they have begun implementing genetically-modifying milo as they have corn in order to cash in on its potential for ethanol production? Hmmm...(thinking...)

Twin, maybe I should go to the health food store and ask them if they have any milo grains or flour, while we wait and collect enough to try of our own. The last time I went in there I asked if they had any Teff grains or flour, and they gave me this squinched-up eyes "wow, she's strange" stare and said they'd never heard of it. Which made me chuckle the rest of the day. Wouldnt you think at a natural foods store, they'd be all jazzed to find something hip and unusual that they've never carried?? heehee
Oh THANK YOU for the great award! I am amazed anyone even comes here, and very humbled ...thank you so much!

Lacyyyyy! Have I mentioned for the 19th time I'm so glad you're back?? You're going to laugh at me the day I take pictures of poison ivy and want to explore its potential...heehee! Ok, girl...milo grows in your area, get right on with the test kitchen trials :) I want to see what you'll make!

Twinville said...

Oh no! I saw your reply to Lacy and just had to say "Please don't mention Poison ivy here again!" hehe

I have been suffering from a terribly allergy to poison ivy now for over a week. It's making my life just about unbearable.

But on the other hand, if you can come up with some way that Poison ivy can be made useful, I might actually feel encouraged by that.

Last summer I went to a conference where they had classes that taught fun things like making handmade paper and turning stingling nettle into bracelets.
I made several bracelets and really enjoyed the process of turning a plant so painful into something pretty and useful.

So go for it!


Robbyn said...

Poor Twin ((((sending you a hug from a distance, the safest way to not get your poison ivy!)))) Oh man my mom suffered with some really bad bouts of that stuff when we lived in the country long ago. They tried burning the vines and the smoke carried some property or chemical of the poison ivy and she had it I'm definately relating to your misery! I did a Google search and it said Jewelweed is good for treating poison ivy...ever tried it? I was just teasing when I wrote I'd look for some way to use it...same as I do for venomous snakes, I just put a lot of distance between it myself and them!