This Year’s Lupines

Last year we grew Altrei Blue Lupines from Richters and had a pretty good yield.  This year based on last year’s yield, we decided to plant only half of what we planted last year. Once again we learned the lesson that Nature has her own plans, in this case drought, and we are not privy to them.  Where 10 seeds last year gave us 216 seeds, 5 seeds this year gave us 45 seeds or only 42% of last year’s harvest.

Germination was about the same although last year’s plants were started 12 days earlier. This may have made a difference when they were planted out if the roots were not as well developed.  With the drought, poorly developed roots would have given poor growth.

2011


2012

2011

2012

2011

2012

Last year we grew Altrei Blue Lupines from Richters and had a pretty good yield.  This year based on last year’s yield, we decided to plant only half of what we planted last year. Once again we learned the lesson that Nature has her own plans, in this case drought, and we are not privy to them.  Where 10 seeds last year gave us 216 seeds, 5 seeds this year gave us 45 seeds or only 42% of last year’s harvest.

We’ll probably grow them again next year although probably as a flower since we’ve found a better, more available coffee substitute that also has a blue flower, spectacular in its own natural way. I’ll tell you about that another time. We’ll concentrate on sweet white lupins which can be used for flour. I’ve found a variety that is cold hardy and can tolerate slight frost. But that too is for another post.

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4 Responses to This Year’s Lupines

  1. darrentcook says:

    Fascinating! I searched your blog for followup posts on the new coffee alternative and white lupine flour you hint at here, and didn’t find it…any updates? Also curious if the altrei coffee has caffeine or not? Thanks for the great articles.

    • MikeH says:

      Hi Darren,

      Yep, I did promise updates. We tried both chicory and dandelion. The chicory worked very well. You cut the root in pieces across the root, not length-wise so that the fibres are shorter. Toasting in the toaster over until it is dark brown with some bits starting to burn a bit followed by grinding or using a mortar and pestle gives you brewing material. Depending on taste, this may or may not be acceptable. It’s not a coffee taste but it worked for us because of the way we have our coffee. We use an Illy coffee maker to make a latte so it was just a matter of substitution. The finished product was excellent – almost indistinguishable from coffee.

      Since we have an unlimited supply of both chicory and dandelion without having to do any seeding, they make more sense to us than lupines. We will continue to grow them though as flowers because the blooms are spectacular and a bumblebee magnet. Lupines have no caffeine.

      I didn’t post on while lupines for flour since there isn’t much of a story there. We tried two years in a row but couldn’t get decent yields so this was a non-starter. We’ve had much better results with Faust barley and Cavena Nuda oats. The yields are a good and both are easy to thresh.

      Mike

      • darrentcook says:

        Thanks for the quick update Mike! It seems there are quite a few varieties of chicory out there, including a “root chicory” (Cichorium intybus sativum) that is mentioned for “coffee” making. Is that the variety you use, or have you found other varieties to work as well?

      • MikeH says:

        The chicory that I’m talking about is the blue-flowered variety that grows along the side of the road –

        Wild Roadside Chicory

        Richters sells a named cultivar Magdeburg which has larger roots. But it would cross with the wild variety which would soon eliminate that feature. Harvesting seed would be interesting because it’s quite small.
        Seed

        Best, I think, to harvest what Nature offers.

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