Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is one of the so-called pseudocereals, in fact, it belongs to plants of rhubarb family. Buckwheat seed – triangular nuts are differently colored, from light grey to dark brown and black. The seed is covered by husks which weight is about 20% from the total weight of the nut. In recent times buckwheat is again at center of attention due to changed eating habits, and now it is considered as an excellently valuable functional food. Buckwheat products are especially interesting for people suffering from celiac syndrome and gluten intolerance. Buckwheat is one of the most important sources of glute-free raw material, and therefore growing methods are to be planed very carefully in order to prevent getting of gluten-containing grains into harvest. Buckwheat is a popular vegetable fertilizer plant, but buckwheat flower nectar is a popular source of feed for bees.
Buckwheat is not only valuable, but also quite tasty groats. They are considered as one of the best dietetic products. Buckwheat has excellent nutritional properties, because it contains essential amino acids which our organism cannot synthesize. In comparison with other groats, buckwheat contains less carbohydrates, but many amino acids (alanine, arginine, cystine, asparagine acid, glutamine acid, glycine, isoleucine, phenyl alanine, lysine, methionine, valine, threonine, proline and thyrosine), but the main thing – buckwheat is a rich source of iron. Buckwheat and its flour are very suitable for food for people suffering from celiac syndrome because it is gluten-free. From buckwheat flour pasta, bread and other confectionary. Buckwheat is biological stimulator because it contains proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and micro-elements necessary for organism. It strengthens organism and stimulates hematogenesis. Buckwheat have firming effect on capillaries and detoxifies liver; it is especially valuable for intestinal tract, stimulates prevention of bile-stones, it has cholesterol reducing properties, it is helpful in cases of osteoarthritis.
Buckwheat contains a lot of vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 vitamin and J vitamin, P vitamin, rutin and micro-elements, of minerals they are calcium, phosphorus, iodine, salt and iron. In buckwheat seeds are identified the following flavonoids: rutin, orientin, vitexin, quercetin, isovitexin, isoorientin, kaempferol-3-rutinosid un catechin.
Buckwheat may be used as garnishing for dishes, as a component of stews, pies, desserts, etc. Buckwheat works well with milk, vegetables. Before cooking, it can be roasted on a pan, stirring regularly in order to get a richer taste. Buckwheat has to be rinsed before cooking. It is desirable to rinse them several times in cold water until water is clear. After drying they should be roasted for a couple of minutes, and then cooked in salted water at least for 20 minutes.
Light, sandy, moderately humid soils. Suitable also are places with low pH level. Heavy clay soils, as well as soils with high lime content are not suitable for buckwheat growing.
Optimal predecessors may be cereals, arable crops. Less desirable predecessors are grain legumes, clover which leave in soil a high amount of bound nitrogen. This will promote formation of bigger mass of leaves, more lengthy flowering what would delay harvesting. With excellent weed shading and improvement of soil buckwheat is a good predecessor. As buckwheat is self-sufficient, it can be sowed also in repeated sowings, causing no decrease of yield.
They are very sensitive to frost; first damages appear already at zero temperature. As the growing season is about only 100 to 130 days (depending on sowing time), it is recommended to sow only after the frost period – from mid-May till mid-June. The optimal soil temperature is above 8 degrees. Seeding amount is 60 to 80 kg/ha, that is 150-200 sprouting seeds per m2 , seeding depth is from 3 to 4 centimeters with grain seeder.
Very rapid development of plants, heart-shaped leaves rapidly cover soil so reducing weed competition risks. Mechanic weed control mostly is not necessary.
Under favorable conditions buckwheat seeds start to germinate in 5-6 days, approximately in 30-40 days the flowering starts. Length of flowering of buckwheat is 30-50 days. Forming of seeds like flowering is typically extended. Flowering like forming of seeds starts from the bottom of plants upwards, and this process lasts till harvesting. Thus, bigger seeds are forming at the bottom level of plants.
At the moment diseases and pests are infrequent. Nevertheless, one should not underestimate damages caused by forest animals.
Uneven ripening makes harvesting difficult. When sowing in mid-May the crop can be gathered approximately in the last part of September. Should be gathered when 70–80 percent of seeds are ripe. Delay of harvesting means substantial decrease of yield.
Buckwheat seeds mostly are gathered with high moisture content, because that gentle drying is required at 30- 40 degrees until moisture content in seeds reaches from 12 to 14 percent.
Very variable, about from 0.5-2.5 t/ha. Yield can be increased mainly by intensive pollination (up to 30 %). Thus, it is recommended to cooperate with bee-keepers. It is recommended to bring 3-4 bee families to each ha of buckwheat field.