|Kiswahili - English|
Millet (Panicum miliaceum) is a grain and is a small seed. It is highly nutritious, being a good source of B vitamins and iron. It is related to sorghum. It is richer in protein and fibre than corn.
In the United States and other affluent countries, millet is most often used for chicken feed and bird seed. In Africa, Asia, northern China and other parts of the world, millet is a daily staple.
Millet can seem bland to the unfamiliar diner but once it is added to other dishes, its value increases greatly. If you're sick of rice all the time, millet can make an excellent substitute.
Millet is great with stews, casseroles, soups and other dishes with liquid. Also, millet can be used in place of rice for dishes such as paella, risotto and rice pudding. It can also be made into a porridge.
Millet flour is commonplace in some African countries for making baked goods. It is usually made into unleavened breads and pancakes.
Millet flakes can be used as breakfast cereal.
Millet is relatively easy to grow. However, there are different types of millet used for different purposes, so you need to know your end need before growing a particular millet variety. It can be grown for food, hay, bird seed or as temporary pasture.
- Decide where to plant it. Make sure it has plenty of space, and use a paddock if it is been grown as pasture.
- Obtain quality seeds. You might need to send away for them if you don't have a local source.
- Add organic compost to the soil. Work this through well. Since millet draws a lot of nitrogen from the soil, consider using a nitrogen-rich fertiliser.
- Plant the seeds to a depth of about 2.5cm or 1 inch. Keep each seed approximately 5cm or 2 inches apart from each other.
- Water well. Keep moist but don't overdo it. Add mulch to help retain moisture in the soil. As the seedlings pop up, if you have average rainfall, that should be sufficient for growth.
- Harvest. The millet is ready for harvesting when the seeds turn a golden brown. It can be harvested by hand or with a mechanical thresher.