This year on Tu Bishvat – one of my dreams came true!
Ever since my oldest was a little guy starting out in kindergarten, I wished that I could bring a serious farming experience to his cheder’s asphalt playground.
That “little guy” is already 17 but I finally made my dream happen for his younger brother’s school.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working with the principal, teachers and maintenance man to construct a raised bed on one side of their playground.
This Monday, on Tu Bishvat, the boys planted it with wheat!!!
The boys had a great time, learned a lot and got to play with dirt! They also prayed for rain, and boy did the Heavens answer!
According to my son, the boys are excitedly watching their soil everyday, waiting for sprouts!
May their wheat flourish and may they have a terrific harvest in time for Shavuos!
You too can plant wheat at home and process it into flour and challah. The Land of Israel is praised for it’s wheat.
My Wheat “Field” this Year
I planted wheat on Chanukah in a raised bed on my city farm (AKA the backyard of my apartment in Ramat Beit Shemesh). Six weeks later, this is how my wheat bed now looks.
(If you look closely in the above photo, you will see a small black pot – in the background in between the lavender and the strawberry tower – that is also planted with wheat. You don’t need a big bed to try this at home.)
OK. I know that most people think that growing wheat at home is something they’ll NEVER do.
Or maybe you’re one of the few who will take a few grains from your pantry today and sprinkle them in a pot or patch of soil?
If that’s you, get ready for all kinds of wonder and joy!
A few tips for successful wheat growing at home:
- The best time to plant is mid winter, to take advantage of the winter rains. Now is a little late but still doable.
- Don’t plant them deep, just sprinkle over the soil and cover with a light sprinkle of soil
- After you plant, cover with some sort of mesh that lets through sun and rain, so that the bird don’t eat your wheat. As soon as they sprout, remove the cover.
- Pray for rain to keep the soil moist! During the early weeks, a light sprinkle from the hose might help the process, if there is no rain.
- There is a Torah prohibition of growing wheat in the same bed as vegetables and, most severely, alongside a grape vine.
How to Harvest Wheat and Turn it Into Challah
To show the process of harvesting the ripe wheat and turning into a challah at home – including threshing, winnowing, sifting and grinding – a few years ago I made a video about the process.
My name is Naomi and this is my tiny little farm in the heart of the rapidly growing city of Beit Shemesh, Israel. I enjoy growing, making and processing as much of my family's food and household essentials as possible, while nurturing a biodiverse ecosystem filled with beauty and life.