Panicum miliaceum

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 2 Professionals
Common Name: proso millet
Type: Annual
Family: Poaceae
Native Range: Europe
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: July
Bloom Description: Not grown for flowers
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Vegetable
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Edible
Tolerate: Drought, Air Pollution

Culture

Sow closely (3 to 6" apart) 1" deep after soil temperature reaches 65 degrees F in a thoroughly tilled, weed-free, well-drained soil in full sun. Firm soil after sowing. Does not do well in water-logged soil. Depending on variety, may be ready for harvest in 40 to 70 days.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Panicum miliaceum, commonly called Proso or common millet, grows to a height of up to 4 feet. It has bright green leaves and stout erect stems, and may spread somewhat at the base. Millet is used as a meal for making baked goods and can also be eaten raw. It is used in porridge and kasha. The hull is hard and indigestible and therefore must be removed before human consumption. Hulling has no adverse affect on nutritional value.

Millet has a mildly sweet, nut-like flavor and contains myriad beneficial nutrients. It contains more essential amino acids than wheat, oats, barley, rye, or rice. With buckwheat as a complement, the two provide the complete protein structures needed by humans. Millet is the sixth-most-important grain in the world and sustains 1/3 of the world’s population.

Various millets, including Proso, were introduced into East Asia from ancient India long ago, passing through the northern mountains of Southeast Asia and eastward, eventually reaching north China and Manchuria. While millet has, to some degree, been replaced with rice as the major grain for much of China, it remains the sole staple of northern Korea. In India, millet is ground and baked as chapati. In north China and Manchuria, it is ground, shaped into balls, and steamed.

A dozen or more Proso millet varieties exist, with primary differences relating to seed color (red or white), plant height (3 to 4 feet), seed size, and speed to maturity.

Genus name comes from an old Latin word for millet.

Specific epithet means millet.

Problems

In the seedling stage, Proso cannot compete successfully with weeds. Generally disease free, seedling blights and root rot can be controlled through crop rotation. Rodents and birds can be serious problems during the head ripening stage.

Garden Uses

As a grain.