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Farming Techniques: How To Grow Millet

The millets are a group of small seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. It has various types. Pearl millet is higher yielding than foxtail millet and regrows after harvest if sufficient stubble is left. Dwarf varieties, which are leafier and more suited for grazing, are also available. Foxtail millet is a lower-yielding grass that will not regrow to produce another harvest. Because it is shorter and finer-stemmed, it is easier to harvest as hay. It can serve as a good smother crop to be used before no-till seeding of other crops, such as fescue or alfalfa. Foxtail millet is also used as a wildlife planting to produce food and cover for various wild birds. Pearl millet, finger millet and prove millet account for a large proportion of the world production.

Growing Guide

Millet is one of many seed grasses that can be used as a food source. The grain, similar in nutrient composition to corn, is richer in protein and fiber. Millet has been cultivated for thousands of years and is believed to be one of the first grains harvested by humans for food. Millet prefers hot, extended summers and does well growing in the southern states below the Mason-Dixon line. Prepare the plot for planting. Work in organic compost or a nitrogenrich fertilizer. Plant the seed, spacing each individual seed approximately 2 inches apart. Make your rows at least 1 foot apart. Cover with at least 1 inch of soil. Add additional compost to the plot as the millet grows. Like corn, millet draws a lot of nitrogen from the soil. Mulch the plot with straw or other covering if desired. This can help the soil retain water and cut down on pests.Harvest the millet when the grasses and seed heads have turned golden brown. Millet can be harvested either by hand or with the use of a mechanical thresher. Millet is a classed as grain sorghum and is a popular ingredient in birdseed. Millet can be planted in any soil that can produce corn. Millet is being studied as a possible source for ethanol production. Millet can be cooked as porridge, a side dish similar to rice or ground to make flour or meal.


Normal average rainfall should take care of watering requirements to enable the grass to reach optimum growth. In the meantime, as the grass grows, it attracts more wildlife with the cover it affords.


Harvest the millet when the grasses and seed heads have turned golden brown. Millet can be harvested either by hand or with the use of a mechanical thresher.

Saving Seeds

To save seeds cut the mature seed cluster from the stem….the mature seeds will be swollen and release easily from the cluster by simple rubbing. They are very small, roundish with pointed ends and light wheat color. Allow the seed head to dry for a few days to facilitate easy removal of the seeds. Once the seeds are released from the stem allow them to dry for a few more days before packing.

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