Black-seeded Sorghum

Black-seeded Sorghum
Sorghum bicolor
Grown in 2012.
January 2013 germination test: 90%
Packet = around 100 seeds
This relative of corn has the same needs: sun, good soil, lots of water. It looks like corn, too, until it flowers, when it holds a torch of seeds above the strappy leaves.  The seed heads are a powerful beacon for small birds preparing for fall migration. Plant sorghum where you’ll be able to watch the show as the birds arrive. Or harvest before the wild birds do to use as a special treat for chickens (or for people – seeds can be ground into flour).Some sorghums are grown for the sweet juice that can be pressed from their stalks, while other varieties, like this one, have been developed for their nutritious seeds. We like this black-seeded variety because it’s easy to tell when the seeds are ripe. The seeds start out tan and turn shiny black just as they ripen. The birds are paying attention too, and can strip the seed stalks bare if you’re not looking. We’ve settled on growing sorghum mostly for the chickens, with some for the wild birds too.

Culture: Direct sow late spring in full sun, 8-12 inches apart. Sorghum appreciates fertile soil and lots of water.

Saving Seed: Harvest when the seeds have turned black, and leave them in a dry place with good air circulation to complete drying.