How to grow grain
Children are naturally 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 garden centres 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-October.
- In temperate climates, 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 from the garden centre when you buy your seeds.
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. 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 rake and a spade to do this. Most children love digging and raking – so sit back and let them play!
3. Start planting
Sprinkle the seeds over the soil - you need 85 grams 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, why not ask a neighbour to water your crop. You can pick up an inexpensive and easy to use kit from your local DIY store or garden centre.
7. See how they grow!
Be patient, and before long you'll see the first green shoots. After a few months, the colour of the stalks will turn from green to yellow or brown. Then 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.
I'd like to contact Nestlé Cereals because
We've tried to answer as many of your questions as possible. You can search them all here:
What are the health and nutritional benefits of Nestlé Gluten Free Corn Flakes?
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.
Is Nestlé planning to launch gluten-free versions of its other cereals or cereal bars?
Why do some breakfast cereals have different serving sizes labeled on pack?
The serving sizes mentioned on breakfast cereals can slightly differ, mainly due to differences in product density. Beyond its nutrients density, it’s also important for the portion size to suit the average cereal bowl. Some types of breakfast cereals, such as mueslis or granolas, are denser than traditional flakes; so a 30 g serving could look tiny and unrealistic in a bowl – that's why we use 45 g as a reference. These different serving sizes have been defined by the European cereals trade association and consistently applied by all industry members in Europe.
Does the high GI of breakfast cereals negate the whole grain benefits?
No. Even though some foods made with whole grain have a high GI, you can still benefit by including them in a healthy, balanced diet. Eating lots of whole grain can be good for the heart, even if the GI of the food is high. The whole population can benefit from eating more whole grain; the effect of low GI foods is still not clear.
We'd love to hear your comments about Nestlé cereals, so please let us know what you think, we always appreciate hearing from you.