How to grow grain
Children are curious, so when they ask “How is my cereal made… how does it grow?” you could tell them cereal comes from grains and show them how to grow their own. Okay, it may take a little time, but it will be a lot of fun. You don’t even need a big garden - just some soil in a large pot will do. Follow our step by step guide and they’ll be little farmers in no time!
Seeds made simple
Wheat seeds are often available at gardening and DIY stores or online. Check that the seeds are the right ones for the time of year you’re planting:
- Winter wheat is planted in the autumn and harvested from mid-May.
- Spring wheat is planted in the spring and harvested in autumn.
Both spring and winter wheat are divided into:
- Soft wheat, which has a low gluten content and is used for pastries and crackers,
- Hard wheat which is high in gluten and used for bread, and durum wheat which is used for pasta.
The type that’s best for you will depend on where you live. It’s worth asking for advice in the gardening store you buy your seeds from.
A whole lot of grains
One bushel of wheat contains around a million individual whole grain kernels.
War On Whole Grain
Amaranth is a whole grain that was incredibly important to the Aztecs. So when the Spanish invaded, their leader, Cortez, tried to destroy the Aztecs by not allowing them to grow it - anyone caught was put to death!
1. It’s all about timing
Wheat should be planted in the spring or the autumn – timing is important, so it’s a good idea to make a note on your calendar of when you need to start planting your seeds.
2. Prepare the soil
You’ll need some good rich soil, so it’s best to dig in some compost. (You can buy bags of compost at garden centres and DIY stores. Or you could make your own by throwing all your food waste into a compost bin. It takes a few months for it to be ready to use, but it’s worth the wait.) Make sure the ground is fairly even - you can use a shovel and rake to do this. Most children love digging and raking – so sit back and let them play!
3. Get planting
Sprinkle the seeds over the soil - you need 3 oz for every 100 square feet (85 g for every 10 square meters). It’s best to help your child do this – just in case you get wheat in your flower beds!
4. Rake it out
Rake over the soil to cover the seeds. Help your child out with this job as it needs a gentle touch.
5. Scare the crows!
You probably won’t need a scarecrow – but if you’re planting outside you’ll need to cover the seeds to protect them from birds.
6. Just add water
Make sure the seeds get enough water - if it doesn’t rain, water them once a day. (Why not get your child their own little watering can?) If you go away, instead of asking a neighbour to water your crop, you could use an automatic watering system. You can pick up an inexpensive and easy to use kit from your local DIY stores or garden centre.
7. See how they grow!
Be patient, and before long you’ll see the first green shoots. By midsummer (or a bit later for spring wheat) the colour of the stalks will turn from green to yellow or brown. And the heads will become heavy with grain and start to bend forward. So now you have your own crop of golden wheat, what are you going to do with it? Well, you could harvest it and make your own wheat flour. Alternatively, you could sit back and admire your beautiful golden wheat – it really does look fantastic and is an unusual addition to your garden or outside area.
We've tried to answer as many of your questions as possible. You can search them all here:
Do Nestlé products in emerging countries have more salt than products in developed/developing countries?
For the last 15 years we’ve been working to reduce the sodium (which is the major component of salt) in our breakfast cereals across the world, because we want to keep on making them more nutritious. Achieving consistency on all products, in all countries, takes time - so some may have more sodium than others. Our aim is for all our cereals – globally – to have the same reduced levels of sodium, with a target of less than 135mg per serving in all our children’s products.
What are the health and nutritional benefits of Nestlé Gluten Free Corn Flakes?
As well as being a healthy choice for people who want to reduce the amount of gluten in their diet, or have coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance, Gluten Free Corn Flakes are fortified with B-vitamins, folic acid and iron
How can I find foods made with whole grain?
Two things to remember: • Look for food labels where the word 'whole' appears in front of the name of the grain, like “whole wheat” or “wholemeal bread”. • For foods with more than one ingredient, make sure whole grain is listed towards the top of the ingredients list. The further up the list it is, the more whole grain has been used in the recipe. And look out for the percentage of whole grain. You should find this in the ingredients list too. It’s easy to know if a Nestlé breakfast cereal is made with whole grain: just look out for the Green Banner and whole grain tick on top of the box.
I’ve heard a low GI diet can help me lose weight. Is this true?
It’s too early to say. The science in this area is still emerging. There is evidence that low GI foods take longer to digest and help you feel satisfied for longer, but none that you’ll eat fewer calories at the next meal.