Urban wheat crop grown on Narrabri footpath provides bumper harvest

Urban wheat crop grown on Narrabri footpath provides bumper harvest

Radio Australia By Kristy Reading

Author: Kate Schwager/Tuesday, January 03, 2017/Categories: Boggabri, Narrabri, Wee Waa

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Guy Roth was sick of weeds growing on the footpath out the front of his Narrabri, New South Wales home, so he decided to do something about it.

"I had nothing but khaki weed, pig weed and bindi-eye," Dr Roth said.

The cotton researcher opted for another well-suited regional crop to choke out the weeds and gathered his sons Christian, Leo and Viktor and neighbours Archer and Baxter Dalton to plant seed wheat.

"We got out the pick and put straight lines in the ground, then the boys came along and planted it all by hand," he explained.

 

That was back in May. It was then just a case of sitting back and watching it grow.

There is a serious side to Dr Roth's plan — to improve the soil.

"Wheat puts a lot of organic matter back in the soil, all the roots grow well. Wheat is a good crop to grow and it's helped start that process," he said.

 

Dr Roth said the interest from local birdlife — mainly parrots and cockatoos — also grew exponentially as the crop matured.

As the season progressed, the green heads turned golden and the family's kerbside crop began to reach harvest potential day by day, despite the thieving wildlife.

"It was a very good season. The crop looked fantastic and I can only judge that by the amount of passing traffic that used to slow down and look at it," Dr Roth said.

 

He said his boys were so excited they began planning what summer crop to grow in place of the wheat.

But there was still harvest to come.

What had seemed like a good idea initially then threw a curve ball — it was one thing to plant by hand, but to harvest by hand?

Enter Dennis Harvey.

"He brought round his little plot header and we harvested it on the street," Dr Roth said.

 

For a roadside experiment, Dr Roth is pretty happy with the yield.

"I think I've got about 20 kilos from the header and maybe we'll make some bread from it in the new year," he said.

"Narrabri Selina Street bread."

So what will the family plant next?

"There's a wedding in the street next year so we're contemplating whether to grow sunflowers or sorghum or maybe cotton," he said.

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