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Cultivating the Commons

Sorghum- White Milo

Sorghum bicolor.

Quoted from John Sherck where we received this seed:

White Milo is a type of sorghum grown for its grain. Sorghum grain is considered a staple food source in its native Africa. Here in the U.S., sorghum is primarily grown for livestock feed. This trend is changing as American consumers look for new sources of gluten-free foods. Grain sorghum is not only gluten-free, it is also versatile and nutritious. White Milo grain can be ground into meal or flour and used in baking. I have used it in a tabouleh recipe in place of bulgur wheat and it was quite delicious. White Milo can also be popped like popcorn. The plants grow to about 4′ tall at maturity and do not need staking, as lodging is not a problem. White milo seed is lower in tannins than other brown and black seeded varieties, thus rendering the seed more attractive to birds.  I know of a nearby CSA whose white milo crop was partially destroyed by birds. Bird netting may be required. The plant is very heat and drought tolerant. Plant in the spring after all threat of frost has passed. Sow 1/2″ deep and 6″-12″ apart in rows or beds. Sorghum culture is similar to corn, but requires less water. Harvest in the fall when the seed is hard and you are unable to dent with your fingernail. If frost threatens, you will need to harvest even if plants are not fully mature. Cut seed heads and hang for a couple of weeks before threshing. Seed heads cut early to avoid frost may require another two weeks of drying. The remaining stalks are a good source of bio-mass for the compost pile. To thresh, I rub the seed heads between my hands to dislodge the grains and then winnow in front of a fan.

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