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Information for Buckwheat Growers

When to Sow Buckwheat

Sowing to reduce the likelihood of damaging weather is critical to success with buckwheat. Summer sowing should be timed to avoid flower blasting during the hottest part of the summer, and to allow the crop time to mature before frost. There should be no hot weather (> 90° F) after flowering begins and at least 10 weeks of frost-free growing weather. In the Northeast, mid-June though mid-July is the best time to sow. Ideal sowing times are June 15-25 in Maine, June 25-July 5 in cooler parts of New York (e.g. Southern Tier, Catskills), and mid-July near the Great Lakes and the Finger Lakes. Check your local weather records carefully to determine the earliest and latest safe date to sow.

To minimize flower blasting, sowing should be timed for vegetative growth during the warmer part of the summer. Flowering and seed set should be timed for during the cooler, late summer. Although flowering lasts for several weeks, virtually the entire crop is normally set during the first 10 days of flowering (6 weeks after sowing). During this critical flowering period, flowers are sensitive to temperatures over 90° F, with the optimum being 64° F.

To mature, the crop needs 10-12 weeks between sowing and frost, and during this time, it needs about 1300 Growing Degree Days (50-86° F). The shorter days in September also reduce the potential yield of late crops, but helps synchronize seed maturity.

For your location, identify the time when there are at least 10 weeks until frost, but no more than 4 weeks left when temperatures are likely to exceed 90° F. To find the approximate sowing dates, consult the map below. Sow earlier at higher elevation; sow later to reduce excessive growth.


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