How to Grow Oats



oats
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Days to germination: 7 to 20 days
Days to harvest: Full season
Light requirements: Full sun
Water requirements: Frequent watering
Soil: Well-drained
Container: Not suitable

Introduction

There are a few different varieties of oats available, with the 2 most popular being white oats and red oats. White oats are grown more in the northern areas, whereas red oats are grown in warmer areas with mild winters.

For anyone growing oats on a small scale, hull-less oats are ideal because they need a lot less processing after harvest time. Having to mill the oats to remove the hulls is usually beyond the scope of the average gardener, so look for hull-less oats.

Though oats and other small grains are definitely suitable for the home gardeners, you will need to have more space for them than you do for other fruits or vegetables. But that doesn’t mean you need acres to dedicate to your oats in order to get a useful crop.

Oats are a good source of fiber, protein and carbohydrates. Oats cannot be eaten raw, and they can take a while to cook when used whole. Rolled or cut oats will cook faster. They can be used in granola, baked goods or just plain as oatmeal. In savory recipes, you can even use whole oats in place of rice though they take longer to cook.

Starting from Seed

Your average garden center may not carry oat seed, so you might have to find a local agricultural store or farming co-op. Tell them how much space you are going to plant, and they should be able to tell you how many pounds of seed you will need.

Oats should be planted as early in the spring as you can get them out. To help reduce the weed levels in your field, you should try to do a cultivation in the fall, to bring up any seeds to the surface for the winter cold to kill. Dig again in the spring closer to when you’re going to do your planting.

You should plant your oats in a sunny location where it will be easy to access water for them. Oats need more water than most other grains, and you will probably have to water them if there are too many days between rainstorms.

Though they like moisture, oats will not grow well in low-lying areas where water accumulates. The soil needs to be well draining.

To sow your seeds, you just broadcast them out over the soil. For a small area (like a quarter acre or less), you can just do it by hand. Try to get the seeds evenly distributed. If you are going to be growing a larger area, you can get tools to help you spread the seeds. It saves your arm and will spread them more evenly.

Unfortunately, you will also have to go and cover all that seed once you’re done. If you leave it all on the surface, you will surely lose most of it to the birds. Go over the entire area with a rake and turn over the soil to get the seeds at least an inch under the surface. One trick is to do your seeding right before an expected heavy rain. The water will beat the seeds into the wet soil, and do a pretty good job of covering without any more effort on your part.

Growing Instructions

Though they may seem like a lot of work to process (see below) there is little work to be done during the growing season. Because oats are grown in a dense patch, you can’t really get in to weed them and the plants generally need little care.

You will need to give them a watering when the weather gets dry, which can be difficult if you are growing a large patch of them. But they don’t do well in dry conditions, so either you water your oats or risk losing them.

Pests and Disease

Other than birds and rodents stealing your grain, there are few pests to worry about when growing oats.

There are some rust fungi that can attack oats, particularly if the weather is very humid. You will see patches or streaks of rust on the leaves and stalks of your oats. There are fungicide products you can use, as long as you aren’t spraying right before harvest time.

Harvest and Storage

Oats will be between 2 and 5 feet tall when they are mature. The leaves should be starting to turn brown, and the oat kernels should be in what is called the “dough” stage. When you squeeze a kernel, there should be no milky fluid left (its still in the milk stage then). The kernels should be soft, and can be dented with a fingernail. If you wait until they are hard (also called “dead ripe”, you will likely lose a lot of grain with all the handling during harvest.

To harvest your oats, just cut the seed heads from the stalks. You can cut the stalks anywhere along the length, but the higher up you cut, the less straw you’ll have to deal with when you are threshing. A sharp knife or garden sickle will work fine.

Once the seed heads are harvested, you need to let them cure. How long this takes will really depend on the weather, and it can be several days to several weeks. Store your cut oats outside if it’s not expecting to rain, or indoors where it is warm and dry. When the kernels are dead ripe, you can start to thresh out the oats.

Spread out a sheet, and use whatever means you wish to beat the seed heads until all the oats are loose from the stalks. You can stomp on them (but cover with another sheet if you do this), or use something like a plastic baseball bat or a short length of stiff garden hose. Once all the seed heads have been crushed, you just need to separate the oats from the left over pieces of stalk (called the chaff).

The traditional way to do this, is to drop handfuls of the oats and chaff from several feet up into a bowl or bucket on a windy day. The wind blows out the loose chaff, and only the oats remain in the bucket.

You can get up to 10 bushels of finished grain from just a quarter-acre field.

Store whole oats in an air-tight container away from the light. They should last up to 3 months. Their high-fat content keep oats from storing longer, and they will go rancid.

87 Responses to “How to Grow Oats”

  1. Tomas Fernandez  Says:

    We currently buy our oats from a gluten free farm facility in Wyoming. I am thinking of growing our own and am wondering where to buy the gluten free seed and what varieties there are?

    Thanks,

    Tomas

  2. Administrator  Says:

    Uhh… all oats are gluten free.

    Gluten is wheat protein. Oats, not being wheat, do not contain it.

    Gluten is what allows wheat to be leavened into breads. The protein creates a web which catches air bubbles. Oats, which contain no gluten, cannot be leavened, thus oat bread is flat like a pita.

    Gluten is just wheat protein, some people are allergic to it but if you’re not it is not unhealthy or anything. You shouldn’t look for gluten free foods unless you have an allergy. And oats, definitely do not have gluten. Only wheat has gluten.

  3. bea  Says:

    Tomas’ search for gluten free oats is valid, but your condescension is not.
    oats are naturally gluten free, yes, but they are more often than not contaminated with gluten. They get processed in the same facilities wheat and barley do, and are often grown in adjacent fields. I’ve become violently ill from oat products that were not processed in dedicated gluten-free facilities.

    and btw, there is a difference between wheat-free and gluten-free. having had celiac since I was 17, i’ve learned this the hard way many times.

  4. Administrator  Says:

    I wasn’t trying to be condescending, but this is a gardening blog, not a shopping blog.

    Tomas was asking for “gluten free oat seed” which is all oat seed. Not to eat, but to plant in the dirt, and grow into more oats.

    I understand your concern that oats may be processed at the same plants and so gluten can be introduced, but, again, this is a gardening blog no a grocery shopping blog. Tomas will be harvesting his own oats, so if any wheat “rubs off” on them after harvesting it will be because of his own actions.

    So while your advice about shelf shopping at the local supermarket is valid, it isn’t applicable to the matter at hand, which is growing oats in your garden.

  5. sue howarth  Says:

    I have managed to find some hull-less oats, not easy in the UK. They have been difficult to source in a small quantity. If my crop is successfull it makes sense to store some seed to grow on next year.If the shelf life is just a few months how could this be done?

  6. Rick  Says:

    It is all good information.
    Are there any commercially available devices to seperate the chaff?

  7. Mike Paraschos  Says:

    I just bought some “Streaker” Hulless Oat
    seed and the package said 2oz would plant 100 sq ft.

  8. lynn taylor  Says:

    Can you extend shelf life of the oats by freezing for storage? Also interested in the question regarding seed storage… I’m a “small homestead” gardener, this is my first run at grains and I would like to be able to self-sustain with my own seeds. How do you do this? Thanks for your help.

  9. Robin Dulake  Says:

    Could Sue Howarth let me know where she found hul-less oats, it would be a great help. We live in Dorset

  10. Rick Rogoski  Says:

    I purchased five pounds from Johnny’s seeds over the internet. They were not available locally. I am looking forward to eating them.
    Rick

  11. jamie  Says:

    hello, i am growing oats for the first time to harvest milky oats and oat straw for medicinal purposes. Is there a better time to harvest for those and i believe i can leave the hull on right?

  12. Jack  Says:

    After reading the comments of Tomas, Administrator, and Bea… I could not let this one go. It is a safety issue. The concern about a gluten-free seed source is valid, but for more reasons than the administrator is aware of or that have been mentioned here:

    Oat fields can often have wheat growing in them from leftover seeds remaining from previous years growth, or from strays brought in by equipment or other means.
    A gluten-free seed source perhaps isn’t the best term, so much as a wheat-free seed source, or a Wheat- and Barley-free seed source… in other words, a seed source that is VERY pure. This is a major concern for celiacs who want to grow their own oats. Seeking oats that have been grown with close attention to this, with the growers being vigilant about farm equipment and neighboring farm fields, who pay closer-than-normal attention to what is growing in their fields and what ends up in their products, would have a lot to say about why this is important. This is a gardening/farming concern, and a health concern, not just a “shopping” concern. Maybe that is true for some people, but certainly not for all.

    I think it is very important to be very clear about this, especially if you are planning on growing oats for your family or for selling and marketing as a gluten-free product. Celiac is no joke, and can be pretty dangerous for some folks, especially if you are consuming something that a farmer/gardener ignorant of such things presumes is gluten-free and therefore markets as such, when it actually isn’t. Children with celiacs could be fed contaminated oats by parents assuming that it is safe, and suffer permanent health consequences. For some of us, it really matters.

    I’m sure if you contacted the folks in Wyoming (“Gluten Free Oats”) directly they would be happy to discuss it with you and maybe even suggest a seed source. Their company exists for a very real reason. They developed their methods out of their own necessity, and developed the product for market because there was a real need for it. I get my (hull-less) oat seeds from Johnny’s and have found them to be pretty pure, but I am not so sensitive that a little bit of wheat or barley contamination would matter.

    And I agree with Bea. The Admin’s comments were condescending. Uhh… Twice. People rarely intend to be condescending. It is a symptom of assuming that the standpoint of another person has no validity and, therefore, suggesting it is irrelevant. While your information is pertinent, you should do your homework before you discount the concerns of your guests on this forum, especially when they are trying to establish the safety of a plant they are growing. You could just state what information you have to bring to the table and raise questions to the discussion without phrasing it in a way that suggests that is the final word on the matter or that the concerns of others are stupid. That is a good way to promote ignorance and shut down discussion. And that is very much what your comments did.

  13. Administrator  Says:

    Again, you’re wrong.

    You can grow oats and wheat in the same field like a checkerboard, making every other plant oats, with wheat in between. The oat seeds will not absorb gluten through some magical osmosis.

    If someone then bought those oats, and ate those oats, there might be some wheat in there, yes.

    But this isn’t a cooking blog, this is a gardening blog. Seeds don’t have a memory of what plants were their parent’s neighbors in the field in the previous generation. It really doesn’t matter where your seeds come from.

    What you’re infering is that oats grown in the presence of wheat will have their genetic structure altered by some sort of wizardry so that their seeds will produce oats that contain gluten. Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?

    I’m sorry if my comments make you feel stupid, but that is not my fault, I’m merely stating scientific fact. Oats do not contain gluten, any gluten found in an commercial oat product has to be the result of contamination by wheat when the product is processed. If you grow your own oats, you won’t be using commercial processing plants, and unless you, for some reason, mix your harvest with some wheat, you’ll be perfectly fine. If you do mix your harvest with some wheat, it is not the fault of the oat.

    Being worried that your oat plant’s grandmother might have been grown near some wheat is entirely irrational.

    So I repeat, all oat plants produce gluten free oat seeds no matter what, with no exceptions. All oat seeds product oat plants that produce gluten free oat seeds, no matter what. For a gardener, looking for a seed to plant (not to eat), it does not matter where you buy your seeds, all seeds will produce gluten free oats. It is only during and after harvest that oats can be contaminated with gluten, and obviously if that is a concern for you, don’t use tools used on wheat to harvest your oats.

    Remember, this is not a shopping blog, or a cooking blog, or a commercial scale farming blog, or an agribusiness blog, or a food processing blog. This blog is about gardening, about plants, horticulture.

    I’m going to go ahead and assume that someone with a sensitivity to gluten will not be harvesting wheat in their home garden, will not be planting wheat in their home garden, will not cavalierly mix wheat with their oats, and if any wheat plants sprout, they’ll weed them.

    If they fail to do those things, it isn’t the fault of the oats.

  14. Nikki  Says:

    I am one of those gluten-free people too, but let me put the questions into gardening questions.

    I want to plant and grow oats to eat. The gluten contamination issue IS an airborne one, but it is so small as to be about spore attachment. It’s one an exceptionally microscopic level, which is why there is so much CC risk for the consumers.
    I want to consume these. I want to garden, and that plant, to be a way to get sustenance. Hull-free? ok. Enough water? Fantastic news. Gluten free? A life-threatening question, thus one you will hear about.
    The cool thing is, now you can say “It’s an airborne CC issue, oats are naturally GF, and if you grow them GF, they should stay that way.”
    Now, let me ask the question everyone before me has tried to get answered. I’d like to save some of these seeds to plant later- how should I store them, if the shelf life is so short?
    Thank you for your time, and your patience. Since it CAN be a life-threatening cross-contamination issue, and there are more people out there with allergies than you know, its often a necessary question, and we are pretty used to being belittled for it. Isn’t it nice you can now help us stay alive by providing the correct information in a kind manner? Wait, I did that. So just refer them to my comment. Either way, the information is there. Kindness gets the correct information spread further, whether youre planning on planting the plant to harvest seeds from, or for nutritional need.

  15. Henny  Says:

    Atta boy, Administrator. Atta boy. And I really mean it. Some people are just goofy.

    Thanks for the info on harvesting oats. My garden has sprouted oats, no doubt from the horse manure my mare so graciously provided. I thought that I’d harvest the oats and keep them for replanting next year, for a bigger crop, but on purpose.

  16. UrbanLoki  Says:

    What is the most accurate way to estimate crop production, ie x sq feet oatseed equals y lbs of oats. I am still new to the idea of growing my own oats/ grains.

    Oh, one more thing. What soil Ph do oats prefer?

  17. astrodominus  Says:

    I’ve never grown oats before, but its exciting to see it is possible for a backyard gardener. Is there a minimum amount of space you’d recommend a gardener with a finite backyard devote to a first time attempt of a crop like this?

    Thanks for all the good info here. And I’m not a celiac (I just enjoy oatmeal) and I don’t mean this in a condescending way: but questions of a life threatening nature are probably best answered by a doctor rather than a garden blogger.

    There is lots of useful garden info here, though. And I for one am inspired to try growing a crop of oats in my backyard next year. Assuming I have sufficient space. Thanks!

  18. OregonCoastGardener  Says:

    Thought I would pass along a money-saving tip for those not concerned with cross-contamination.

    I plant a rotation in winter of cover-crop (mixed legumes mostly) on all my garden beds, and to ensure germination as well as protecting from heavy rains, I mulch it with inexpensive oat straw. I buy it from a local farmer, the straw is usually sold for animal bedding. One 2-string bale goes a long way as mulch.

    The straw usually has a good amount of seeds still attached, so the mulch adds a “free” crop of oats. If you leave a few beds undisturbed to mature instead of turning them under for veggie planting, you now have oats for harvesting and improved soil to boot. The leftover new straw after harvest goes right into my chickens’ pen for bedding.

  19. melody  Says:

    Is there anyway to start seeds indoors to speed up germination?

  20. Rob  Says:

    Ya, I’m going to have to toss my hat in with Henny and give the admin kudos on this. It seems as if the second you start talking about grains kooky stuff starts happening.

    The admin is only trying to show how to grow oats, and I didn’t see his/her request for a lesson on Celiacs disease, nor to be educated on how wheat proteins travel on magical fairy dust and infect all that is around them.

  21. Niki  Says:

    Please, back to seed storage for spring plantinh… cold & dry?

  22. Ruth  Says:

    We should never make anyone afraid or embarresed to ask a question I am now afraid to ask anything becouse I don’t know what negitivity will come from it I did love your informitive blog until the meanness came out of your garden

  23. Dan  Says:

    How do you retain part of a harvest for seeding the plot the following year when the kernels only have a 3 month shelf life? Or is the streaker, hull-less variety sterile?

  24. Bob Craig  Says:

    I need to photograph some live oat plants and I live in Goleta, California. It is March 7 – any ideas on where I might find a field> Thanks very much
    Bob

  25. David  Says:

    As far as the retaining of oat berries for continual planting; my reading suggests the following:

    For areas with mild and wet winters; fall planting, over-wintering, spring growing with a late spring or early summer harvest… Will leave ~3 months until replanting… Perhaps buckwheat for a short and fast growing summer crop?…

    For areas with a frozen (thus arid) winter; I would presume the “outdoor” storage would prolong the berries long enough for a spring planting the following year…

    Wish I had practical knowledge to confirm my book knowledge :-(

  26. Lois  Says:

    re hull-less oats, Cavena Nuda, I grew some in a one gallon pot on the deck last summer, they performed well even though planted late, and in half shade. Seed is from Manitoba, where it was developed, but I got it on line from Well.ca as just a jar of hull-less oats to cook like brown rice. It sprouted perfectly for my experiment,and I will grow out the seed again this year. Not sure if they will ship to other countries, but it was 17. canadian for 1.5 kilos.

  27. Meredith  Says:

    Sorry, the Admin’s comments have really really annoyed me. Oats are gluten free. Oat plants grown next to wheat plants are gluten free. Simple, right? Except, that if you grow a whole stand of oats with one wheat plant somewhere in the middle because the seeds got mixed up at the source, harvest them, grind them into flour or make oatmeal – if you’ve got celiac disease, YOU ARE GOING TO GET SICK. So the GARDENING question is, what are some reliable seed sources that give those of us with celiac some comfort that we’re not getting into trouble. A helpful bit of information that could have been shared would be how to spot a wheat seed in a pound of oats, if there’s an easy way to tell them apart. Suggesting that we talk to a doctor wouldn’t help, because he’s already told us all he knows about the issue: don’t eat wheat. Or barley, or rye, for that matter. A doctor can’t help tell us what seed sources are pure oats and not mixed up with wheat. It would be a rare doctor that could tell one whole grain seed from another.

    I found all of the Admin’s remarks condescending because they assume that we’re worried about fairy dust, and not asking a legitimate question of how to make sure that we are planting only oats, not a blend of mystery grains half of which we’ll probably react to. Jack and Nikki’s comments are helpful, but their legitimate questions haven’t been answered.

  28. Tom  Says:

    You *can* eat oats raw! Soak the whole grains for 24hrs and they’re delicious and chewy – this is my regular lunch. Yum. Also rolled oats are a common ingredient of meusli, eaten raw.

    Thanks for the post :)

  29. Administrator  Says:

    Again… you’re the grower, you’re not buying the oats. So if you see wheat growing in with your oats, pull it as you would a weed.

    I guess it is accurate to say all oats are gluten free, but not all gardeners are capable of weeding plants they don’t want out of the garden.

  30. FARMCITY  Says:

    Wow…and I just ran across this while looking at pics of oat fields and toying with the thought of growing some. Interesting, entertaining, and truly understandable…from both sides. Well, you guys have helped me a lot…Whole Foods Market, here I come! Organic oats in different forms…steel cut, rolled, you name it!

  31. kaydazed  Says:

    A couple of points-

    The two times I have tried planting hull-less oats, I have ended up with fatter and happier birds in my neighborhood, but with a yield so low per plant that it made the endeavor of growing oats seem quite silly and fruitless indeed. The hull-on oats are pain and a half to clean, though. So far I am still struggling with this crop.

    Second point, directed to admin: though this is a gardening blog, it seems a bit odd to dissuade people from discussing processing/shopping/food production and food safety topics. A lot of these topics are the reasons people are out in their yard gardening anyways.

    Last point: to those GF ((and non-GF!) people out there who are interested in backyard grain production, I recommend The Resilient Gardener by Carol Deppe. That book has a wealth of information for beginning and experienced gardeners alike, with a focus on how to garden during hard times such a personal crises, natural disasters, financial or political crisis, etc. as well as for those dealing with food allergies, which, as the author states, qualify as a sort of ongoing hard time. It’s a great resource.

  32. Administrator  Says:

    Oh people can discuss things, but, look back to this comment thread’s beginning. Someone asks how to grow gluten free oats. I explain gluten does not exist in oats (which is a scientific fact). Someone else comes in throwing a fit and accuses me of practically being Al Qaeda because some big food corporations might process your breakfast oatmeal on machines that also process wheat. Which is utterly irrelevant to the home gardener. If you want to add information, fine, but don’t tell me I’m wrong to say oats are botanically gluten free. If you’re a home gardener with celiac disease I would imagine you would know enough not to mix your oats with wheat, if you do, it is not the oat’s fault.

  33. sam kephart  Says:

    I don’t see how explaining facts is mean thats the problem with our society these days…. everyone has to be spoon fed i guess… if things fall apart I feel sorry for the spoon fed people

  34. Carisa  Says:

    I am very well educated on the gluten content of common grains. I know that oats are naturally gluten free. However, I came here looking for information about growing oats while keeping my garden wheat-free.

    Oat seeds that one would buy to seed a garden plot are often contaminated with wheat seeds. The grains are often stored in the same silos and oat fields commonly have stray wheat plants growing in them.

    Nobody who is sensitive to gluten wants a wheat plant growing anywhere near their oats. Airborne CC is an issue, and it is far too easy for an accident to happen.

    The Administrator here seems to have an unnecessarily nasty and condescending attitude towards blog visitors that are asking perfectly logical questions, like, “how can I get oats for planting that are free of stray wheat berries?”

    When you have a blog, respect your visitors. Otherwise they will leave for friendlier territory and you will find yourself posting in no man’s land.

  35. pauline  Says:

    Thanks for the info on growing and harvesting oats.
    Mine are just about ready to harvest. And so is the wheat, which
    looks nothing like the oats and would be brain dead, easy to weed out of a garden for a person who is allergic or celiac or just hates wheat.

    Also, to Carisa who seems to think wheat and oat seeds are “often” mixed up by harvesters, my own extremely limited experience with growing wheat and oats would still tell me that is not the case. Merely because I’ve been a gardener for decades and purchased a variety of bulk seed many times that has never had any contamination of other seeds. I know, it always surprises me too! How do they keep those little foxglove seeds separated from the clover seeds? Amazing!
    I have to extrapolate from that experience and make the assumption that wheat and oat farmers would take similar care to prevent contamination. Not to mention that the two crops are grown separately, and usually harvested at different times.
    It would be hard to contaminate and it would take a really sloppy farmer, who was drunk and high to mix two separate grains like that as “often” as implied by Carisa. I’m sure there are high and drunk farmers out there, but I doubt they’re selling much in bulk.

    Growers take tremendous pride and go to great lengths to prevent cross contamination from happening, otherwise, buyers, in Carisa’s own words, “will leave for friendlier territory,” where growers can be assured of pure seed…

    And yeah, telling people a fact is not mean. Taking umbrage and blowing it way out of proportion? Now that’s mean. And a waste of our time.
    Oh, and the oats will store longer in the freezer in an airtight bag.
    As will the wheat…

  36. JuneBug  Says:

    Anything other than oats in a stand of oats is a weed (including any and all other grains), and is normally chopped out with a hoe before it grows too much.

  37. michelle  Says:

    Wow! This is an amazing blog full of valuable resources, however, I must say I am extremely turned off by the administrators comments. With 3 people in my family having Celiac I understand, better than most, that Celiac disease and what contains and does not contain gluten can be a confusing topic.
    I came to this site after doing a search to grow my own oats for GF purposes. Although this site may be useful it is now one I will not frequent.
    People with Celiac have to be VERY careful, it is a life long problem and can pose major complications if strick care is not taken to make sure they are eating 100% GF.
    We can all be educated about something without being shamed. No one should be made afraid to ask a question, especially on an informative blog.
    I was excited to find this post…until I started reading the comments :(

  38. Patty  Says:

    I have to agree entirely with Michelle. Celiac sufferers are not “kooks”. I have only a mild reaction to gluten, but can tell you that the immediate response can be as unpleasant as the worst flu you’ve ever had, and there are long term effects including bowel cancer.

    The duties of an administrator include accepting all questions as having a legitimate base, and answering them without mocking, and accepting comments with a bit of humility, instead of making the situation worse.

    Good information here, it is a shame the discussion had to become so unwelcoming.

  39. McMillan  Says:

    Way to go administrator! (this is not sarcastic). Thank you for the information and for treating commentators with the (dis)respect they deserve. People who say stupid things should always be told so in the bluntest way possible. By the way the first reply you said to the initial inquiry was not impolite at all.

  40. Kelly with-a-corner-in-the-garden-full-of-Avena-strigosa  Says:

    To the Administrator:

    Thank you for the highly informative posting. Thank you also for attempting to answer many of the questions posted in the comments section. I’m usually a mere lurker, myself.

    Please do take into consideration the negative responses to the difference in writing styles between your original article and the responses to gluten related questions. I, too, was quite surprised at your response; while I understand your line of reasoning, the replies themselves seemed to me to be quite unprofessional.

    Let’s say I parent a child with multiple food allergies. Say I love to create homemade food. And that I also am a very explorative gardener. Put these factors together, and you have a home chef with a necessary interest in allergen-free cooking, and a potagé to meet my needs and interests. Please be tolerant of me and my questions, realizing that I would not be nearly as interested in your carefully-prepared article, were I not both new to the subject, and and personally interested in it.

    Regards,
    Kelly with-a-corner-in-the-garden-full-of-Avena-strigosa

  41. Administrator  Says:

    Look, people, there was nothing wrong with my response. Someone posted about how to grow gluten free oats, I explained that oats contain no gluten, which is a fact. Then some irrational people starting piling on because there are sometimes cross contamination in commercial products and how dare I lie to someone. Maybe people with celiac disease, or caretakers of those with it, get so wound up in their day to day lives trying to avoid it they overreact and can be irrational. In any case, as another person pointed out above, I my answer to the initial question was perfectly fine, I answered the question, and included an educational tidbit of how leavened breads worked. It was only after I was attacked by some irrational people that I got a little sarcastic. Don’t expect to be treated like an adult if you act irrationally.

    The facts are these, and these are indisputable:

    1. Oats contain no gluten.
    2. If you want to grow your oats yourself you can get oat seed from any source, it doesn’t matter. All oat seed is gluten free.
    3. In an unwanted plant sprouts or grows in your garden you should weed it. To most gardeners this would be common sense.
    4. If you’re sensitive to gluten you should not process oats you might grow yourself with equipment someone else may have used on wheat, again, I would hope this would be common sense to someone with gluten allergies.

    You do not need to pay a premium for seed from one source or another. No need to make mountains out of molehills.

  42. Kelly with-a-corner-in-the-garden-full-of-Avena-strigosa  Says:

    Sorry. Clearly stepped in the wrong place.

    I’ll wear my steel-toed wellies next time I come mucking in your garden, ok? ;-)

  43. kel  Says:

    Wow. 2 years later & the administrator still has to defend the original comments. If people will simply look back at the original question, they’ll see that the person only asked “Where do I find gluten-free seeds?” The administrator answered “all oat seeds are gluten free.” That’s all. The question had nothing to do with celiac disease. I’m amazed at how many times the administrator has been attacked for correctly answering a very simple question.

  44. ricardo  Says:

    after i have cut off the oats grass. will it regrow and how many times. I just send my sheep in for a short time each day. Will the oats regrow

  45. Kevin  Says:

    I’d like to grow some coconut-free oats – any suggestions for sources?

  46. Jeremy  Says:

    Up with the Admin! :)

  47. Shannon  Says:

    Actually, no, those are not indisputable. Oat seed purchased from a farm cooperative like Southern States, where many gardeners acquire seed in the South, will have a list with percentages of seed content on it. All commercial harvests have the chance of containing weed seeds and seeds from previous crops grown on the same land. Luckily they do tend to admit this.

    I always enquire about the farm’s other and previous crops. The co-op can put you in touch with the seed source company. I don’t worry as much about it when they grow wheat, barley, triticale, spelt or rye elsewhere on their enormous farms, because wind contamination on seed for growing doesn’t affect my crop. However, as a farmer of gluten free grains specifically, I have to know with certainty that none of those crops have been allowed to mature within the harvest of my seed source. Oats are seeded at such great quantities that combing through the seeds before planting is irrational.

    Administrator, you are right that oat seeds, themselves and alone, are always and forever factually gluten free. You are wrong to assure gardeners that there will be no other seed in the bags they buy or order online. This is provable through several universities’ studies. Please let others answer questions you may have no experience with, since your hostility made you sound ignorant rather than helpful. Seed sourcing is a big deal for gf food providers, organic growers, etc. It is most certainly a gardening issue and not one to scoff at. When next you buy a hundred pounds of oat seed to plant, please ask your source how much weed seed there is by percentage. You may be surprised.

    To those who say they weed out all other plants from their gardens and thus have perfectly pure crops, congratulations. You are growing tiny amounts, almost too little to prevent lodging in a grain crop, or you’re retired and have a lot of free time. It is not feasible to get into a dense crop of oats of a decent size to weed like that-not on a home gardening scale, with no tractor and grain drills available. Please respect other gardeners’ legitimate concerns for harvest purity.

  48. PC  Says:

    Wow, I am so surprised by all of these comments! I was just trying to investigate how to grow oats and just finished reading through the entire comment thread.

    I believe the question of concern here for those with gluten sensitivities is sourcing a seed that does not also have a few wheat berries mixed in. The whole point of buying gluten-free oats is that the growers carefully manage the field and production so no wheat sneaks in.

    For those who are very new to this (that would be those reading this post), we would not necessarily notice a few wheat berries in a bag of oat groats. Further more, when you plant a field of grain, you don’t go through and try to weed it as far as I know.

    I am positive that those who initially posed the question were not concerned with “fairy dust” or any touching of the oats seeds to the wheat seeds, because that does not matter when you are going to plant it in the ground.

    I’ve seen wheat berries in buckwheat groats, lentils, you name it! This is a very real issue for celiacs!

    To anyone interested in buying gluten-free oat seeds (seeds that don’t contain a few wheat berries mixed in), all you need to do is contact a grower of gluten-free oats and ask them if you can buy a bag of their RAW oat groats. That’s it! Oat seeds for planting are the same thing you eat. You just need to make sure they are raw and not toasted. Just google gluten-free oat companies and give ‘em a call.

    Hope that was helpful, as the admins snarky remarks sure weren’t!

  49. Tina Driskell  Says:

    Can we please just move on? This celiac issues has been covered to death. Celiac people, you have my sympathy. I’m allergic to peanuts and I know first hand how often chocolate is contaminated with peanuts, just by being in the same facility. I get it. The administrator gets it. Now can we get back to gardening, please? How do you get the hull off oats?

  50. Johnny apple seed  Says:

    Admin is hilarious! Everyone quit winning and learn to laugh. Tina, Ur question had already been answered in an above post :)

  51. Reba Jensen  Says:

    Wow, I am really disappointed in some of theses comments. I have a friend whose son has a deadly allergy to wheat. Deadly, as in he has been in the emergency room multiple times and they came close to losing him because he accidentally ingested a small amount of wheat. As a result, his mother has to ask a lot of questions at restaurants, grocery stores, farmer’s markets, etc. To make sure her son doesn’t die. He is a star soccer player and 4.0 student headed to college next year. He’s made it this far. She would probably want to be very sure before she planted a stand of oats in her garden that they would be safe for her son. When it comes to someone’s health and life, there are no stupid questions.

  52. Lucy  Says:

    To the Admin-The fact that you have managed to keep your patience for so long is admirable! People have put words in your mouth and said you said things that you never did say and you’ve managed to keep quiet. THANK YOU for stating the facts!! If people cannot use common sense that is not your fault. Please keep writing!
    Oh btw to other past posters(usually the ones attacking the admin.)- Please stop using the term gluten-free oats. It doesn’t make you sound smart but rather dimwitted as oats are naturally gluten-free. I understand the worries about wheat berries being inadvertently mixed in but if you see a plant that doesn’t look like the rest of the oats. Pull. It. Out. A little common sense goes a long way.

  53. James  Says:

    Since everyone has something to say about what others have to say im gonna say thanks for the experience and the website.

    i like that their are so many perspectives on things like this.

    Thanks Earthlings, very informative.

  54. Geo  Says:

    Thank you for the information, I can’t wait to start trying them out.

  55. Pedro  Says:

    I had a good laugh reading through all those comments, I really did. If any of those people who have accused the admin of being mean, agressive, snarky, condescending or what else not would have actually read the his comments, and those other comments he was answering to, they certainly wouldn’t have accused him like they did.

    By just reading the replies criticising the admin one could believe that he was actually forcing wheat seeds down the throats of celiacs with a funnel.

  56. Justa Laughin'  Says:

    I visited this website hoping to learn something new on this fine New Year’s Day. I didn’t learn as much on this post as I had hoped, but, it was very informative and entertaining. The audacity of some people will never cease to amaze me. The administrator has shown great restraint and has my admiration. Instead of deleting irrelevant posts, he has allowed people to exercise their right of Freedom of Speech. Just because a number of people choose to beat a dead horse to “prove their case” does not mean they have a valid case.

    I will continue to visit this website because the information gained is worth wading through the babblings of self-absorbed people who believe their comments are relevant to the questioned. Unless the administrator gives incorrect information to the question as asked, it would be of greatest benefit to me save time in my research by not reading all the whiny comments posted by people of questionable intelligence.

  57. Ted  Says:

    Good blog. I’ve been looking to grow some of my own oats…

    After reading through this I thought it may be of benefit to throw my hat in given I’ve consulted in this area. First off, the admin did not say celiac disease was nonsense. What he said was that the notion of glutton free seed is nonsense, and it is. Companies that market these seeds to private gardeners as “glutton free” are playing on your fears. I can tell you first hand that this is a marketing decision. They could just as easily guarantee the yield of their seeds is 100% oat, but that doesn’t sell. They cover their backside by the fact that the claim is technically true, not because they did something special, but because they didn’t do something (i.e., include other seeds). It’s like Cheerios saying it lowers cholesterol. Indeed, your cholesterol will drop if you give up the eggs for it.

    Companies know you will pay a premium for your health and the health of those you love. However, in a private garden you would weed out anything you don’t want, including wheat. The fact that it is in the soil does not mean you’ve contaminated your soil or anything else (I’ve heard some serious misinformation being propagated about this to consumers). Contamination happens at production. This is why it’s a different story for large scale production. But this blog is not about large scale production.

    If you felt the admin was condescending then you’re too sensitive. His points were important because the companies that prey on people should be called out. So before the next person writes in to say that celiac is serious and they are offended, do us all a favor and stay on point. If you pay more for seeds that are “glutton free” and you are growing a private garden in the backyard then you are either (1) lazy or (2) uneducated. Either way, companies will tax you for both.

  58. mark  Says:

    Great thread.
    Educational and entertaining. Yay.
    Thank you all.

  59. Spenser  Says:

    Today our lawn service guy thought he was doing us a favor by blowing the leaves from a hard to reach area in the garden. Needless to say, just about all of the young oat sprouts are broken at the stem and leaf area.

    I’m curious to know if they will grow back or shall I cut my loses now. The entire area is about 5 weeks old.

    Thanks

  60. Misty  Says:

    HA! Admin was condescending, never responded to any of the other legitimate questions asked…some of which I was waiting to see what the answer would be, as well. It’s all good! He’s good at growing oats, but not good at communicating in a professional manner…oh well! The discussion would long be over if he only responded to the other legitimate questions. :) I was going to grow my own oats, but seems like too much work. I can get my own Gluten Free (lol) oats at the store, for much less hassel. Thanks for the info, all!

  61. ER  Says:

    Thanks for the how-to of buying certified GF oats for planting, PC! Feel pretty dumb not being able to figure that out, but glad you mentioned it.

    I’m curious to hear if anyone else has experience with growing hull-less oats? I only recall reading one comment above saying they felt there was decreased yield. Can anyone weigh in on this? Or for those home gardeners growing regular oats, how do you harvest yours?

  62. KATHY  Says:

    I am growing a 6 acre field of oats mainly to help my soil. I have goats and BIG Shire horses that I was thinking of letting out into that field. I should cut the oats out first then let them eat the straw left?

  63. matthew kubien  Says:

    i have peanut allergies. does anyone know where i can get peanut free oat seeds with gluten

  64. matthew kubien  Says:

    and yes, i said i want oat seeds with gluten. seems like oat seeds tainted with gluten is a HUGE problem in this country so they must be easy to get.
    will i be able to make good bread with my gluten oats?

  65. Amy  Says:

    Just when you thought gardening was peaceful… enter internets… Thank you for making my brain scream for 15 minutes lol.
    Oh and thanks for teaching the how to on oats!

  66. Jennifer  Says:

    Is it just me, or is it really that difficult to figure out that if you have issues with what could possibly be in your seed (i.e. wheat) then you should bring the issue up with your seed supplier?? What does a garden blogger have to do with your seed supply?

  67. Jordan  Says:

    I have some “cat grass” growing in my garden, which has oats in it and I think the rest is barley, I’m gonna save all the seed from it to seed next year. How many plants/sq foot should oats be seeded at?

  68. Dan  Says:

    My favorite part was when one person suggested going to your doctor with your concerns about growing gluten free oats.. Priceless.

    20 minutes later.. I forget why I even came to this website. Oh right, to see the seed to harvest time to see if it was viable to grow a small patch (50×50 foot plot) for my family in Montana.. According to other sources this is more than enough to feed a family for a year. I will search further for processing to make it last said year.

  69. Captain Obvious  Says:

    I am quite annoyed as well with our politically correct society where everyone walks on eggshells. I also strongly dislike when people answer questions condescendingly. However, at the risk of sounding condescending myself, since people obviously are having a hard time seeing the truth right in front of them, I just wanted to point out that the reason the admin is getting flack for being condescending is because of a very small part of his first response where he wrote, “Uhh…” before stating what was obvious to him. Had he omitted that part of his response, all would probably be fine. Or if people had just ignored his condescending attitude instead of calling him out on it. I myself, find the information very….informative so I appreciate the post, but would probably feel anxiety about posing a question here for fear of sounding stupid with my ignorance. I know I would want to know if people were afraid to ask me questions, so that I could be a bit more approachable, so I thought I would share my opinion. Thank you for sharing your knowledge in your blog post.

  70. DJ  Says:

    I think there was confusion in the way the Celiac question was interpreted. The admin is talking about one seed not containing gluten, but someone concerned about gluten is not buying one seed. They are buying a pack/bag that could be contaminated with seed containing gluten. Certainly they could attempt to pick it/weed it from their garden, but why risk it? Why not buy from a source that ensures the seed pack is entirely free from gluten from the start? Seems a simple and legitimate concern and question not to be ridiculed.

  71. Tyrone  Says:

    Good information.

    By the way, I don’t think the administrator was being snarky or condescending. The seeds do not resemble each other greatly and the plants are also very dissimilar.

    Gardening and a little small scale farming is more than just more than just throwing some suff on the ground and expecting to be able to eat it a few months latter. To be honest my garden probably costs me more each year in time, effort, tools, and materials that what it produces but I do it because I enjoy it.

    Also, the

  72. Tyrone  Says:

    People who host and spend time moderating this site do it to share the joy if gardening…. Don’t kick a gift horse in the mouth… If you do not like what you see you can always go buy a book, with real money. The fees you pay your ISP have nothing to do with information you receive on these volunteer sites, that just give information away for the sake if sharing.

  73. Betmo  Says:

    Seriously people use google…this post is about growing and harvesting….the google is fantastic to locate seed growers of all kinds

  74. julie  Says:

    Thanks for this informative post. Admin: keep doing what you do.

  75. Wild Oats  Says:

    I came upon this website looking for information about buying bulk oat seeds to grow for my cat. Cat Grass. I had a good laugh reading about how the condesending Administrator was using wizardry and force feeding wheat seeds down the throats of celiacs with a funnel. I don’t care about growing oat seeds anymore. My cat needs gluten free fairy dust

  76. Brittmarie  Says:

    Wow, seriously, why has admin not just thrown these tards off this site? He answered your question and you obviously didn’t understand what he said. You can’t contaminate your own supply unless you’re a moron and do it yourself, duh!! Get off the site if you don’t like what he says, stop posting meaningless comments.

    Real question: What is a reasonable size for growing oats for a backyard plot? Basically what is a minimum? Like a quarter acre?

  77. Katie Murphy  Says:

    Hi, I wanted to add some constructive suggestions for the storage and longevity of oat seed. As with any other seed I can think of, the biggest enemies to seed are light, oxygen, and temperature changes. I’ve found some interesting ways to combat some of these elements in oats.

    First, if you are saving the seeds to grow next season (or to eat much later in the year), do not open the hulls. Opening the hulls exposes the inner components to oxygen, which interacts with enzymes to cause the grain to go rancid. Get yourself an air-tight, opaque container that is larger than the amount of seed you plan to store. Also, invest in a set of handwarmers. Tape a handwarmer to the inner lid of the container and add the seeds. Seal the container. The handwarmer will activate and eat the oxygen in the container, and then cease to cause heat when all the oxygen is consumed. Now, store the container in a cool place with as few fluctuations in temperature as possible. If your refrigerator is above 40 degrees, it can be stored in there. My garage refrigerator is half seed! You can plant the oat groat (unprocessed seed) and it should be very fruitful.

    As for food oats (and I am a GF girl myself), the container method (above) is good for processed oats as well, especially those you want to last more than a few months. But another good way to minimize oxidization of your oats is to steam them in the hulls before you open them. The process is to harvest, cure, steam, dry, de-hull. You CAN freeze food oats, since they do not need to produce future crops and you are not worried about damaging the life-giving structure of the seed. If you have a lot of humidity, you can add a dessicant pack to your container to keep the humidity low (tape it to the lid). The keys are low light, low oxygen, cool and dry location.

    Store your food oats in batches – short-term, use first; intermediate; next year. Then you aren’t exposing the long-term stuff to all the temperature, humidity and oxygen until you need to use it.

    That should keep you well-supplied!

    Also, if you are a back yard gardener looking for good seed that is 100% oat, you will pay a premium. For smaller pots of oat, you can successfully sort through your oat seeds. Do a search for images of white and red oat so you know what they look like and take out everything else before you even plant it. The seeds should stand out. Also, look up sanitizing your soil (essentially baking it in the sun) to get rid of soil contaminants and weeds, and you should be good to go.

  78. Niles Walter  Says:

    Just had a quick mention for this page.

    At the bottom, it says that whole oats will keep “for up to 3 months.” This site ( http://wholegrainscouncil.org/recipes/storing-whole-grains ) says that oats stored properly will last for up to 4 months normally, and up to 8 months frozen. Just thought that it might be important to note that it will last longer when frozen, and that freezing IS a viable storage solution, depending on your quantities.

  79. Ben  Says:

    I came here to see if there was information about harvesting and stumbled across this funny interaction about wheat vs. oats. I feel like I must add to the conversation that I have grown both in my garden(usually simultaneously in the same bed)and the plants do not resemble each other. Wheat has a narrow stem with the grain pointing up. Oats have a thick stem with the grain flopping over. If you have celiac disease and you plant oats, if you happen to have wheat growing in your garden, it will be really easy to spot. I sincerely believe you will easily notice if this happens and be able to remove the wheat plants; they will look so much different than the wheat plants.

  80. Ben  Says:

    oh, typo, I should have said: “I sincerely believe you will easily notice the wheat plans because they look so much different than the oat plans.”

  81. Sandee  Says:

    This was a good article. But right there in the article, it states that “Because oats are grown in a dense patch, you can’t really get in to weed them,” so it’s NOT so easy to pick out the odd wheat plant, is it? Especially in, like, a quarter-acre.

    I’ve bought small amounts of hulless oats for sprouting, for home-baked GF-bread, and let me tell you lots of times I’ve been picking out barley seeds and other things I didn’t recognize, and that is a real pain even for a single pound, I would NOT want to be doing that for a big batch of seed.

    I’ve found a great source of absolutely pure hulless oats is Montana Gluten Free Processors, I’m sure you can find them online. (Just saying’)

    – & it really was a good article, & I agree with the poster who said it was all in the “uhh..” & yeah, people with celiac can be overly sensitive because the looney-left has hijacked their disease and made it a joke, like when Seth Rogan in the beginning of The End claims “all carbs are gluten…. Everything that’s bad for you is gluten.” And then he goes and pigs out on fast-food hamburgers anyway. Makes celiacs a little nuts.

  82. Sandee  Says:

    Oh, sorry, my bad. I was in contact with the Montana GF people and it may be that they don’t release their seed to growers, except under contract. It’s trademarked.

    For the record, for safety THEY go into the fields and hand-rogue the grain TWICE, and still have all kinds of filters and tests after harvest to ensure the seeds are pure.

  83. blueclaudu  Says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I planted oat seed tonight. In the dark so the smart crows couldn’t see me do it. (that’s not really why I was planting at night, but the thought did cross my mind that it could help keep the crows from the seed).
    I have a question about raking in the seed. I raked, but still some of the seed showing on top. How do you cover all the seed?
    Because I didn’t want to leave the plot with seed showing, I put a very thin layer of straw over it. Did I destroy any chance of oats growing in my garden?
    Thanks for your thoughts!

  84. Michael B.  Says:

    Seems to me that Oats, if grown and collected as described here and then eaten raw, are paleo. Thoughts?

  85. edd  Says:

    Now then

    I’m not going to get involved in the GF debate just wondering how to store oat seeds for next year.

    Thanks

  86. Administrator  Says:

    I don’t think oats are paleo, my wife is into that and grains in general are no-nos, oats are a grain.

  87. 1st time growing oats  Says:

    This year was my first attempt at growing any kind of grain. I bought what was supposed to be hull-less oats. They got about 2 ft. tall. The plants got pretty dry before I had a chance to cut the grain off the stalks so it was definitely past the milky stage. There doesn’t seem to be anything inside those grains. Did I wait too long to cut them? Any idea what I did wrong?

    I love trying new things. Thank you for your time.

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