Buckwheat has been used for centuries to improve soil health and smother common weeds. It grows better than most cover crops in poor soils and is better at retrieving phosphorus, a macro-nutrient that contributes to later crops' root, flower, and fruit growth. Buckwheat not only grows quickly, it also breaks down quickly in the soil, allowing for planting in the same area just 3 to 4 weeks after incorporating it into the soil. It can also be used as mulch on the soil surface. If allowed, white flowers will form about 35 days after sowing and are loved by beneficial insects and even make pretty filler in bouquets! Turn buckwheat into soil before seeds begin forming. Because buckwheat is cold sensitive, it is grown spring to fall frost, except in mild climates that may be warm enough to grow into fall and possibly winter.
• Botanical Name: Fagopyrum esculentum
• Days to Maturity: 30–40 days
• Family: Polygonaceae
• Native: China
• Hardiness: Frost-sensitive annual
• Plant Dimensions: 24"–48" tall, 6"–12" wide
• Variety Information: Upright plant with succulent stems, broad leaves, and fibrous root system. Abundant white flowers appear 4 to 5 weeks after sowing.
• Exposure: Full sun
• When to Sow Outside: 2 to 4 weeks after your average last frost date when soil temperature is at least 55°F, or any time up to 4 weeks before your average first fall frost date.
• When to Start Inside: Not applicable.
• Days to Emerge: 3–5 days
• Seed Depth: ½"–1"
• Seed Spacing: Scatter at the rate of about 1 seed every 4"
• Thinning: Not required.