Triticale (trit-ih-KAH-lee) is a crop species resulting from a plant breeder’s cross between wheat (Triticum) and rye (Secale). Plant breeders originally wanted to include the combination of wheat’s grain quality, productivity, and disease resistance with the vigor and hardiness of rye. Chances are these plants would never meet in nature due to different growing conditions, but are brought together by human intervention to create a desirable crop.
Edible Garden, we are using triticale as a cover crop. Simply stated, cover crops utilize existing nutrients in the soil and are later tilled under at the end of the season to release those nutrients back into the garden soil. The primary benefits are to improve soil quality and fertility and to increase nutrient availability to subsequent crops. Cover crops have the added benefit of potentially attracting beneficial insects, reducing weeds, and aiding in erosion control. Farmers who have used triticale as a cover crop claim it tolerates late planting, has good seed vigor, emerges under harsh conditions, has a deep fibrous root system, and is easy to suppress.
Triticale is a viable crop that is quickly gaining popularity in the agricultural world. The versatility it offers as a grain, a forage, for straw and as a cover crop adds to the economic viability that sustains the interest in the crop. As more literature is published about its impressive health benefits triticale is finding its way into all sorts of creative recipes. From bio-fuels to breakfast foods, the uses of triticale are just being explored. Keep an eye out for it in the local health food store or hopefully soon at the gas pump.
|The triticale will have to make way for thousands of tulips this sping. This early riser hints that the Edible Garden will be flooded in dark pink during Atlanta Blooms!|