Friday, September 12, 2014

My Sorghum Summer



I'm a Sorghum Farmer!  Don't you just love this picture of me in a pair of overalls!

Actually, Marcia did most of the farming, but I'm enjoying the fruits of her labors!  I enjoy nibbling on Sorghum as a treat in my cage. I don't eat much of it, it's just there for me to have a snack now and then.


Marcia used to purchase it on the internet from various parrot sites. It is sometimes called Mega Millet or Milo.  My supply began to run low, and we could no longer find any! No one was selling it anymore! Marcia said, "We'll just have to grow our own!"  Sorghum is a grain that grows very well in most areas of the world.  Not only is sorghum the fifth most important cereal grown in the world, it also used as animal feed, to produce alcoholic beverages, made into sorghum syrup or molasses, and used as a biofuel.



It is also very nutritious! Sorghum is gluten free, with high levels of unsaturated fats, rich in protein, high in fiber, and contains minerals like phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. It also has more antioxidants than blueberries and pomegranates.  I bet you didn't know Sorghum was so good! (Important Note: If you sprout for your birds, DO NOT sprout sorghum! It is safe when dry, but when sprouted it contains hydrogen cyanide.) 

We decided to plant some in the herb garden in the back yard. We'll forgo the usual crop of basil this year to make room for the sorghum. This little patch of land was perfect because the soil was very good and organic. We've never used any chemicals or pesticides in this part of the garden.



Since I had eaten all the sorghum we had on hand, we didn't have any seed!  We found some seed on eBay! Yes! eBay sells seed! Organic seed! No GMO's for me! It was very inexpensive and more seed than we needed for my small patch of land. 

Let the planting begin!  We planted in April. Soon, little sprouts began to emerge.


The plants grew and grew!



Little seed heads began to form!
This is the yummy part after it grows and matures.


In about 4 months, it looks like this.


Then, the BUGS Invaded! Yuck!


They are called Leaffooted Bugs and they are disgusting!
(The orange bug is an immature Leaffooted Bug.)

These bugs like to suck the sap out of the tender grain kernel as it grows. Marcia got rid of them by spraying them with solution made with hot peppers. It didn't kill them, but they fell off the plant when sprayed, then she stepped on them.  She did this nearly every morning for 4 weeks.  Soon the bugs were gone!

Finally it was harvest time! She cut the seed heads off and allowed them to dry inside my screen porch for about 4 weeks.  Then, she washed them and let them dry. 



Soon, I will be nibbling my Sorghum treat again!


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