Buckwheat is frequently cultivated for its edible seed and leaves, it can produce a seed crop in 100 days from sowing and a crop of leaves in 8 weeks.
Plants have poor frost resistance but they are disease and insect resistant.
A very good green manure plant, it can be used to reclaim badly degraded soils and subsoils.
The flowers have a pleasant sweet honey scent and are extremely attractive to bees and hoverflies.
Buckwheat is a bitter but pleasant tasting herb that is frequently used medicinally because the leaves are a good source of rutin. Rutin is useful in the treatment of a wide range of circulatory problems, it dilates the blood vessels, reduces capillary permeability and lowers blood pressure.
A blue dye is obtained from the stems. A brown dye is obtained from the flowers.
A very easily grown plant, it prefers dry sandy soils but succeeds in most conditions including poor, heavy or acid soils and even sub-soils. Prefers a cool moist climate, but it also succeeds in dry and arid regions.
Sow from the middle of spring to early summer in situ. The seed usually germinates in 5 days. The earlier sowings are for a seed or leaf crop whilst the later sowings are used mainly for leaf crops or green manure.
Leaves - raw or cooked like spinach. Not that wonderful raw, they improve somewhat with cooking. The leaves are rich in rutin and so are a very healthy addition to the diet.
Seed - raw or cooked. A nutty flavour, though it has a somewhat gritty texture. The seed can be soaked overnight in warm water then sprouted for a few days and added to salads. It can also be ground into a powder and used as a cereal when it can be made into pancakes, noodles, breads etc or be used as a thickening agent in soups etc. Rich in vitamin B6.
Note: This plant has caused photosensitivity in some people, only the dehusked grain is considered to be safe.
An excellent beer can be brewed from the grain.