Chestnut Herbal School

Milky Oats (Avena sativa)

Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor

Milky Oats is the medicine made from the unripe seeds of Oats, the same plant we grow for the edible seeds.

Milky oats (Avena sativa)


Milky oats (Avena sativa)

Milky oats (Avena sativa)

Meet The Green Mastermind Behind Blog Castanea:

Juliet Blankespoor

JULIET BLANKESPOOR founded the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine in 2007 and serves as the school’s primary instructor and Creative Director. She's been a professional plant-human matchmaker for close to three decades. Juliet caught the plant bug when she was nineteen and went on to earn a degree in Botany. She's owned just about every type of herbal business you can imagine: an herbal nursery, a medicinal products business, a clinical practice, and now, an herbal school.

These days, she channels her botanical obsession with her writing and photography in her online programs and here on her personal blog, Castanea. She's writing her first book: Cultivating Medicinal Herbs: Grow, Harvest, and Prepare Handcrafted Remedies from Your Home Garden. Juliet and her houseplants share a home with her family and herb books in Asheville, North Carolina.

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5 thoughts on “Milky Oats (Avena sativa)

  1. This is my first time growing for milky oats. Some advice would be helpful. They budded out yesterday 5/30/16. the nights are still cool with 60 degree temps but daytime are peaking up to 80 now. Do you think I should harvest?

    • Juliet Blankespoor says:

      Hi there!

      Harvest the tops by stripping the flowers/seed pods from the stem. They are ready when you pinch the ripening seeds and they exude “milk.” Some of the seeds will be further along and some will be immature and still flowering. You’re going for the middle ground, where most of the seed heads are milky. If you squeeze the reproductive parts and you see yellow structures, then they are immature because those are the stamens from the flowers –they haven’t gone to seed yet. Hope that is helpful!

      • Heidi Bagley says:

        I’ve noticed when harvesting milky oats that sometimes the tops that look old and gone to seed are still milky and some are not and others that look too young are in fact milky. Is there a way to identify which are ready to be harvested just by looking at them?

        • There’s no way to tell by looking at them, unfortunately! You have to go out to your patch every few days and test a handful by breaking them open. When 3 out of 5 are ripe, it’s time to harvest. Some oats won’t be milky, and some will, and that’s just fine. You can process them altogether in one batch and you’ll have plenty of the milky latex in your medicine.

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