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Planting ornamental millet: good tips and advice

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Ornamental millet is a fast growing grass , spectacular in many ways. Its foliage, which resembles that of corn , ranges from lime green to deep purple depending on the variety and the chosen exposure. Millet can reach a height of five feet in a short time if the conditions are right. The stems iridescent in the sun are adorned with very decorative dark ears, which, if not cut, will be a delicacy for birds in winter.

Difficulty of planting ornamental millet


When to plant ornamental millet?


Preparing to plant ornamental millet

Choose a plant that has not yet flowered so that it can develop perfectly. A plant that already has spikes will not grow when planted. The same goes for the root system, which should not be too developed: avoid plants whose roots come out of the pot.

Ground preparation :

  • Clean the ground of its weeds.
  • Dig deep and add chippings or coarse sand to drain the soil.
  • Add potting soil and compost in poor soil.


Sun or partial shade


Fresh, acidic, fertile.

Distance between 2 plants of ornamental millets

From 30 cm to 1 m depending on the variety.

How to plant ornamental millet?

Ornamental millet will take on more intense and deeper colors in full sun. Exposure to partial shade is also tolerated.
Choose a well sheltered location because the Millet needs heat to grow: below 16 °, it stops growing.

  • Gently deposit the plant.
  • Dig a planting hole in the previously prepared soil, deep and wide enough to contain the entire root ball.
  • Install the plant there.
  • Fill vacant spaces with soil.
  • The collar must be flush with the ground.
  • Firm lightly around the foot.
  • Spread out a bed of compost and make a bowl to retain the irrigation water.

Obtaining seed will not be an easy task since the commercial grain is mostly from southern species and there are no registered trademarks. You will have to look for organic farmers in Europe or North America or contact Universities to access seed banks.

Although its cultivation in Spain is mostly rainfed, irrigation increases its yield. Is very important for the food industry the seeds cleaning toxic as of amaranth ( A.blitoides and A retroflexus ) or stramonium , tomatoes etc solanáceaas which can be problematic if the rotation predominates corn.

To intercrop is to have rows of a crop in a different one to complement it, protect it from the environment and pests, nourish it or diversify risks, there are different proportions 1: 2, 1: 3, 1: 4, 2: 3 etc. and sometimes it is triple like the American cornfield. (corn-squash-bean). The generality is that combined, each participant yields somewhat less than in monoculture, but the group exceeds it. It is measured by the LER (Land Ratio Equivalent or Equivalent Ratio of the Soil) the decimal above 1 means the% that increases the yield or simulates how the extension of our plot would increase. It takes practice because sometimes it is less than one if mistakes are made. It is convenient to test on documented proportions in experiments. It costs little to do it over a few furrows to experiment says rotavator gear parts manufacturers.

A section on intercropping deserves special attention because it is widely used in developing countries. Millet row yields can double when the associated legume hardly varies. This is because it has a very good response to nitrogen In millet / beans (vicia radiata, mung or green “soy”) there is not only an increase in the LER up to 1.46, but the residue is evaluated for the next 60 UN of high availability (equivalent to about € 70 / he has).

There are few species authorized for the cultivation of millet (2,4D and little else) but cases of spontaneous crosses with other herbs of the family with resistance to narrow-leaf herbicides and especially atrazine have been reported, which generates problems in corn. In ecological terms, this should not be a problem as the care of rotation and aricate prevail. But it has to be taken into account in the crop succession. Similar occurs with other small grains such as amaranths. In dry land it would not cause a major problem, on the other hand in irrigation it is important to be very careful.

Millet… a cereal that hits the mark!

Millet is a cereal little known in Western countries, but whose virtues and usefulness have been understood by Africa and Asia. Little allergenic and gluten-free, it is an ingredient of choice for meals, replacing rice or semolina!

The nutritional benefits of millet

Nowadays, millet is coming back mainly for nutritional reasons. And then, it allows us to diversify our dishes. At a time when allergies and intolerances flourish, millet is timely. It is gluten free , easy to digest , and contains proteins, vitamins and minerals. Depending on the species, the nutritional composition varies.

How to cook millet?

The millet occurs in grains, flakes or flour. But how to use it?

It’s very simple, it can replace most of the known cereals. It is often found in muesli recipes but it can also be cooked in porridge, tortilla or even risotto. Many African dishes are made with millet, and look like couscous, paired with lots of vegetables.

In stores, millet is sold in several forms: grains, flakes, flour, cakes etc. We are therefore spoiled for choice!

A recipe to taste millet

In conclusion, a recipe to test to discover new flavors thanks to millet.

The ingredients of the recipe

  • 4 large mushrooms (paris or other)
  • 1 cup of millet
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • a few leaves of sliced ​​black or green kale
  • 2 teaspoons of minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • a few fresh basil leaves
  • pepper

Preparing the recipe

Cook the onions, garlic, ginger and kale in olive oil until onions are tender. Add the spices and mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes.


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