Buckweat, while not a grain or even related to wheat, does produced edible seeds that make a gluten-free, and quite tasty, flour. It is well known as a cover crop that builds organic matter, but it also suppresses weeds, mines phosphorus and calcium from deep in the soil, prevents erosion, and attracts many beneficial insects especially bees; Buckwheat flowers yield a highly sought-after honey!
Edible Seeds – sprouted seeds can be eaten raw. The seed can be cooked and used as a cereal grain (i.e. dried and ground into a powder). Used in breads, pancakes, noodles, etc. Can be mixed with true cereal grains for making yeast breads. Can be used as a thickening agent in soups and sauces. Note that Perennial Buckwheat may not produce nearly as many seeds as the annual species.
Edible Leaves – used like spinach – can be eaten raw or cooked, but is usually significantly more bitter when raw.
Cover Crop / Green Manure – used as a fast – growing cover crop that breaks down (rots) quickly providing lots of organic matter to the soil as well as soil coverage/protection and fertilization/composting in place. Sow at 60-135 Ibs/acre (65-150kg/ha) when using across large areas.
Annual Buckwheats produce edible leaves by 6-8 weeks and ripened seed at 10-14 weeks. The seeds do not all ripen at the same time, so harvesting is a bit time consuming. It is easiest to harvest when about three-quarters of the seeds become dark Brown (ripe).