First Year Planting Teff in Michigan

Our first year planting teff was one for the books. There's that feeling of you have a vague idea of what you're doing but not really sure of anything? Like you know how much you don't know and yet you go ahead and try to do it anyway.

So that was us. We had a general idea of what we thought teff would like - what kind of soil bed it wanted, what time of year would be best, how to plant. We started planting it using a very small drill (pictured above). Teff was in the steel compartments and would slowly trickle down and fall into the furrow the disc would create. Then a mere hint of soil would cover the seed. 

The first year, my dad, younger brother and I were planting our first 33 acres of teff. My brother, Chauncey, and I were tasked with standing on that wooden plank on the back of the planter to make sure the teff was distributed evenly as my dad drove the tractor across the field. It was very dusty but effective.

As with most old farm equipment, something eventually broke and we were stuck without a way to plant the teff with about 8 acres to go. Farmers are incredibly resourceful and that didn't stall us for long. We ended up pouring teff seed into a giant canvas bag that was used to spread grass seed. A rotating disk was attached to a hand crank so as we turned, the disc turned and teff seed flew out in the direction we pointed it towards.

Chauncey and I had to hold this contraption between us on the back of a pickup truck that dad drove back and forth across the last 8 acres. We were balancing the bag, trying to keep upright and doing our best to spread teff evenly. The sun had just set when we finished and there was a buzz of excitement for what we had just accomplished. A suggestion a few months prior had turned into dedicating 33 acres to a dream we had. 

And we had absolutely no idea where it would take us. 

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