Lupinus mutabilis (130 days, longer to seed) Open-pollinated. We thank Gary Kaszas of Fort Fairfield, Maine, for providing us with the impetus to offer Tarwi, one of the “lost” crops of the Incas. Years ago he sent us seeds he had accessed from the USDA seed bank for this wild-looking 3' lupine native to the high Andes. In our trials, we were first attracted to its flowers, mostly mountain-sky blue with yellows, reds and whites interspersed. More than just a beautiful ornamental plant, Tarwi is potentially an important food crop. With a full range of essential amino acids and more than 40% protein, its luminous pearly-white bean-like seeds (2–6 per pod) surpass soybeans nutritionally. They require a long season to mature, and must be soaked and rinsed repeatedly to leach out their bitter alkaloids to make a palatable food, somewhat akin to barley in texture and taste. Start the seed indoors—the young plants are frost sensitive. Even if you lack the climate or the dedication to grow the plants to seed, all is not lost. These leguminous beauties grow in poor soil, fixing nitrogen and attracting beneficial insects with honey-scented flowers. ~13 seeds/2g packet. Especially attractive to pollinators.⑤
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Days to maturity are from transplant. Add 20 days for direct seeding.
About 30 seeds/g
Grow rice in the Northeast! Wild Folk Farm, growers of Titanio, Hayayuki and Akamuro, started with 5g of each from the USDA and have been selecting the best traits from each variety. All four of our rices were grown in central Maine, Zone 5a/4b.
Lowland varieties are traditionally grown in wet clay paddies or riparian areas, although flooding is not necessary. They are typically shorter and produce more tillers than upland rice, 30-50 per plant.
Upland varieties grow in drier conditions, but also do well in flooded clay paddies. Upland rice is taller and has fewer tillers than lowland. Each tiller is thicker and will produce more seeds, 12-24 tillers per plant.
Culture: For both types, a rotation of saturated and very short (a few days) dry periods is ideal from late May to June. After that, cycling water patterns is less important but still helpful. Keep paddies flooded (but not stagnant) if you can. Dryness during the second half of the summer shouldn’t effect yields much, just maturation time and weed pressure. For transplants, start at 70-85° indoors 4-5 weeks before setting out into rich moist warm soil (early June in Maine). Space plants 10-12" apart in full sun. May be direct seeded in warmer regions. Heads the first week of August and finishes by late September If you live in a dry place, add 1-2 weeks to maturity dates.
The selections here are rare heirloom varieties especially chosen for small- or homestead-scale production. Revived interest in food security and sovereignty inspires us to seek edible and heirloom grains. Most of them are also decorative in both form and color, making great accents to bouquets and wreaths. In the early 1800s Maine was the breadbasket of the U.S. Wheat and rice do not demand huge space and can be threshed with a little ingenuity. With good fertility, proper spacing and reasonable diligence, it is quite possible to harvest 10 lb of heirloom wheat from 100 plants in a 10x10' plot. A 100' row of rice can yield 6–10 lb.
Larger-scale growers and farmers, those seeking larger quantities of more mainstream varieties, or those looking for cover crops should check out the Organic Growers Supply list of Farm Seed.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.