West African Pearl Millet
(Pennisetum glaucum); Minimum 4 grams of seed per packet (~300 seeds)
Pearl millet is a nutritious food staple in western Africa that we trialed to assess it's performance in our climate. Adaptable, pearl millet grows well in areas characterized by drought, low soil fertility, and high temperatures. It is reported to perform well in soils with high salinity or low pH. Because of its tolerance of difficult growing conditions, it is grown in areas where crops such as wheat or corn would not thrive; it's also why we are interested in its performance in Michigan.
In our gardens, our plants made seed heads at 4 to 5 feet and were primarily a single big head. Slightly blue-gray seeds filled heads that resemble a cattail head or a huskless corn cob.
We used it as a barrier crop to help separate plots. Although it's called millet, it is not the same botanical group as our other millets such as Limelight Millet so we do not have to worry about cross-pollination.
Heads thresh by hand and seeds easily winnow clean by pouring from container to container in front of a house fan.
Direct seed after the last frost.