Harvesting Winter Wheat from our Garden - July 2012

The garden harvest is in full swing, and if you can’t eat out of your garden in the months of July and August, you just aren’t trying!

Of course, in the self-sufficient garden, the harvest looks a little different.

For the past month, we’ve been harvesting not only vegetables (which we do year-round) but also a lot of seeds. One of them is  Turkey Red Winter Wheat.

Our wheat was done (fully dry on the stalk) in the first week of July. I cut the heads off with scissors and threshed them using an antique hand-crank thresher I came across in a local antiques store in June. The thresher had been sitting in an outside area at the store for so long the price tag had been sun-bleached blank. The owner asked for 70 bucks. I said I’d pay $30. He immediately agreed. The threshing went much, much faster with this great hand-crank machine, and the kids did all the cranking because they thought it was great fun. What more could I ask?! I harvested 2 and a half cups of wheat from 8 square feet of wheat. This is winter wheat, and it was planted on Aug. 30 2011. It overwintered without any protection whatsoever, and our coldest night-time temp was minus-7 below zero this past winter (which, by the way, was 10 degrees warmer than our coldest temp the winter before).

Here is a fun fact about my thresher. Scratched into the metal is this inscription: “Pickles, Sept. 24, 1954.”


This machine was never used to make pickles (as you can see from looking at it, cucumbers would never go through this machine.) But the word sure looks like pickles, as best as I can make out. The date is pretty clear. I’ve wondered if the inscription really says “picked” -- which is a word used in the antiques world for “acquired” or “gotten”. Or maybe the scratched-in word says “picked up”. Here is a picture. What do you think? I would love to know more about this machine. I don’t think it was made in the 1950s -- I think it is more WWI era. At any rate, it is a gorgeous machine in my eyes, and I’m so happy to say that not only did I save it, but I’ve given this machine back its old job! And it works flawlessly. And fast.


  1. How fun. I hope if you find out more about your little machine you will share with us. On the other hand. to find out that 8 square feet only gives 2 1/2 cups of wheat sure puts a damper on wanting to grow all my own wheat. Since that isn't even enough to make bread to feed my whole family once. Let alone all winter. Hum....

  2. Gorgeous! I love your "Pickles" machine! Your kiddos are pretty darn cute also.