Hybrid Pearl millet (85-98 days from seed to harvest)
1 ounce ~4,500 seeds
Pearl millet was domesticated as a food crop in the tropical region of West Africa at least 4000 years ago. It's a warm season annual grass crop that is best known here in the U.S. for forage and grain crop. It is one of the most drought resistant grains in grain production today. It is well suited for double cropping behind small grains and vegetables.
Most pearl millet is used in chicken and wildbird feed, but a recent trend has seen it in many health food stores. Pearl millet is also being used to feed poultry, ducks, cows, hogs and even catfish. The reason is it has 8 to 60% higher protein levels and 40% higher lysine than feed corn.
Pearl millet grown for grain has a similar growth habit to sorghum. The typical height is 5-10'. It yields best on fertile well drained soil. Best planted in late spring or early summer when temperatures rise. Soil tempreture MUST be above 65 degrees, but germinates best at 75 degrees and higher. Root devolopment is quick. Being from Africa it has the abilty to survive on less water than corn and still produce a viable crop. Tolerant of sandy acidic soils.
Seeding rate is recommended at 4 pounds per acre. An exact seeding rate is not critical, because pearl millet can partially compensate for a poor stand by increasing the number of tillers. Seeding depth should be 1/2 to I inch deep. 30" row widths are typically used. A plant every 3 to 4 inches can give excellent yield results with good management practices. Good weed control is necessary for a successful crop, and it is particularly important to control early emerging weeds.
"Organic production. Pearl millet is a crop that should need little in the way of pesticide use, and can be grown effectively with organic methods for the organic livestock feed market, which pays a premium for feed materials in many areas. Using cover crops or manure to boost fertility, employing cultural and mechanical weed control, and incorporating crop rotation can allow successful organic production of this crop." Purdue Univ.
An all-crop or small grain combine header is appropriate for harvesting pearl millet.
I purchased the Fall Seed Collection for some container gardening this autumn and have been very pleased with the results. Germination rate was fantastic and I had to do much more thinning than I usually do from store-bought seeds. The little growing guide helped with varieties I haven't grown before (hello, kohlrabi). All of my plants are hardy and healthy and I'm already enjoying the early harvests. Looking forward to maturity on the longer growers. Will be buying the Granny's kitchen garden pack for spring. Thanks so much!
I planted several varieties over the past couple years. These have been the most reliable producers so far. Averaged 10-15 lbs. one larger one about 20. Nothing remotely close to 40 lbs. that’s ok. Huge ones are a pain to break down.
I planted a whole bunch of this to attract bees and butterflies. It grows like crazy. However I protected the seed with hay because my first round died because of the hot Florida sun and lack of rain lately.
We started these indoors in January. We transplanted them twice and finally out to our raised bed (full coastal sun). The plant is massive and the tomatoes are TASTY! The best little tomatoes we have ever had. We will likely plant them in a separate bed next year since they grow to such a large size and can crowd out other plants.