How to Grow Sorghum
Sorghum is grown for beer-making, syrup production, and for their edible grains. Some varieties of sorghum, such as broom corn, are used for crafts.
Time of Planting
Sorghum is a heat-loving plant. It grows best in climates with long summers. Many gardeners do not direct sow their sorghum until mid-May or even early June.
Direct-sow sorghum seeds ¼” deep 8-12” apart.
Time to Germination
Common Pests and Diseases
Protect your sorghum crop from predation by birds by covering maturing seed heads with bags or pieces of row cover.
When and How to Harvest
Harvest sorghum grain when the seeds can no longer be dented with a fingernail. Cane sorghum should be harvested before the first frost by cutting down stalks with hedge trimmers or a very sharp knife.
Sorghum has numerous uses in the kitchen. Sorghum seeds can be cooked as a grain and enjoyed in dishes that call for brown rice or barley. The seeds can be popped like popcorn. Sorghum flour is also used in breads and other baked dishes. Some varieties of sorghum were bred for their stalks, or canes, which produce a sugary liquid. This liquid can be pressed and boiled down to produce sorghum syrup.
How to Save Sorghum Seeds
Recommended Isolation Distance
When saving seeds from sorghum, separate varieties by 100-200 feet.
Recommended Population Sizes
You only need to plant one sorghum plant in order to harvest viable seeds. To maintain a variety over many generations, save seeds from between 10-25 plants.
Assessing Seed Maturity
Sorghum seeds are best harvested when they feel dry and resist denting when you press them with a fingernail.
Cleaning and Processing
Seeds are easily threshed by rubbing seed heads by hand or by stripping the seed stalks. The seeds may still be inclosed in their casings, or glumes, after threshing, but this does not impact saving and storing seeds. Seeds can then be screened and winnowed.
Storage and Viability
When stored in cool, dark, and dry conditions, sorghum seeds will remain viable for 10 years.