This is a picture of a small field near our house. Altough it is a very small field there is a lot of intresting stuff going on.

Field

This field is seeded with green manure which are plants that improve the soil. These will be later cut down and ploughed into the soil, or just left to rot away after the season. The plants that you can see are Phacelia the blue flowers, Buckwheat the white flowers in front and White mustard the yellow flowers. I also saw, but these aren’t in bloom yet, cornflowers and poppies.

Buckwheat.

buckwheat

The name buckwheat (boekweit) comes from the middle dutch word “boecweite” boec = beech and weite = wheat. The relation to beech is that the triangular seed resembles a beech nut, alltough a beech nut is about 3 times the size.

This seed can be grounded and used as a wheat. Technically it is not a wheat but it has more or less the same properties. Buckwheat has no gluten, and can not be used for leavened bread unless mixed with wheat or rye. The yeast needs the gluten to produce the gas that leavens the bread. Traditionally in the Netherlands buckwheat is eaten in pancackes with bacon.

Buckwheat was grown by poor farmers in the 19th century because it needed little investment in machinery or cattle and still had a good yield, however, early frost could ruin the whole harvest. Because of this, it was also called “jammerkoren” which could be translated as “corn of sorrow”.

Phacelia.

Phacelia

The flowers of this plant can be used to make perfume, and the bees seem to like them too! The farmers seed  it  to suppress weeds.

White Mustard.

whitemustard

Dispite the obvious yellow flowers it is called white mustard. The seeds can be used to make mustard which is very yummy. Each yellow flower makes a seedpod that contians 6 seeds and they should be harvested just before the pods are ripen. The mustard plant can also be used as cattle fodder.

Well that’s it for todays botanics lessons. I have to wait a couple more weeks for mustard especially because I broke the pot this morning, and I think I’ll just buy the buckwheat in a shop.

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