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Old 04-23-2009, 02:21 PM   #11
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No problem, I do it for a living. All you can do is plant the seeds and mother nature will give you what you get. The biggest things that keep barley from going malt is disease (can't speak much about that for your area) and frost, which really kills the germination. An early frost will not hurt the barley, a light frost often helps a little, the barley plant seems to get tougher. A frost after the head is set is no good at all, but you also have to wait until the plant is fully mature and the seeds are in the 14% moisture range before havesting.
Farming is like gambling in this part. If you leave it in the field, quality usually will improve, but that one bad night of rain or frost will damage everything.

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Old 04-23-2009, 02:27 PM   #12
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Another thing to keep in mind is the seeding rate. Kind of hard if you are just scattering seeds by hand, but you are looking for a rate of 20-25 plants per sq foot. Shoot for the upper end of that, but don't go over, as this will cause a competition problem and you will get a lot more of nothing. Too much can be a bad thing here.

Also, the numbers used are for commercial farming with fertilizer and pesticides/herbicides. Your choice if you want/need these, but that may affect yeilds.

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Old 04-23-2009, 03:12 PM   #13
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Come theshing time a flail is easily made, but a short piece of rubber hose works as well.

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Old 11-30-2009, 07:01 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jumbo82 View Post
Thanks, Lurker18! Scaling down a couple orders of magnitude, it appears that a 20' by 20' plot would yield about 17 lbs of grain. I doubt it would meet the quality requirements, but I don't mind having some unique flavors. I think I'll give it a try. Thanks!
Did you ever give it a try?

I have considered using a small corner of our land for growing the conlon 2-row variety. From what I understand it is a spring barley and that it should grow well-enough in the Northeast. If I fail at growing I suppose I can always continue to purpose it year after year and stick to improving my malting process.

It is far more realistic to only grow 2-row malting barley for the purpose of the production of specialty malts, and simply purchase the brewers' base malts.
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:38 PM   #15
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I did plant a decent sized plot this year and it grew alright. Some areas were thick with grass, but other sections were mostly wheat. I realized after the fact that I should have rolled over the whole area to cover the grains immediately after planting (my footprints were the first places to grow...). I did harvest a bit and was able to separate the grains from the husk, but it was too labor intensive to yield much. I didn't bother trying to malt it. It was a good learning experience, but I won't be growing grains again any time soon.

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Old 11-30-2009, 10:12 PM   #16
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I did plant a decent sized plot this year and it grew alright. Some areas were thick with grass, but other sections were mostly wheat. I realized after the fact that I should have rolled over the whole area to cover the grains immediately after planting (my footprints were the first places to grow...). I did harvest a bit and was able to separate the grains from the husk, but it was too labor intensive to yield much. I didn't bother trying to malt it. It was a good learning experience, but I won't be growing grains again any time soon.
Where did you end up purchasing the raw barley corn? And, which variety/strain?
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:34 PM   #17
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Where did you end up purchasing the raw barley corn? And, which variety/strain?
I purchased wheat seeds from an online vendor (can't remember which one). I think I planted spring wheat or red wheat? I know it wasn't winter wheat. Sorry I'm not much help.
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:39 PM   #18
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It sounds like this is much too labor intensive for small plots. However, to satisfy my curiosity, how much does soil quality, weather, etc. effect the product? I'm mentally comparing the barley field to a vineyard and wondering if "terroir" plays a similarly important role. If not, is it simply a matter of beginning with a suitable variant, praying for good weather, and having a bit of mechanical harvesting help?

Thanks.

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Old 05-19-2010, 03:09 AM   #19
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For those of you needing basic "how-to" information on almost anything agricultural (and more), I found a link a while back that has quite a bit of detail. I believe it came about from the Peace Corps and VITA people: http://www.cd3wd.com/cd3wd_40/cd3wd/index.htm
The text is a little cumbersome and it may have some images out of place, but it's 13 gigs of info, I believe if you go to the home page link it will allow you to download it. Also use the search, it helps alot.

Here is the specific link to the grain harvesting/storage sections: http://www.cd3wd.com/cd3wd_40/vita/g...n/grainprp.htm


For those others of you wanting to make banana beer: http://www.cd3wd.com/cd3wd_40/ITDG/BANBEER/EN/index.htm

Keep on brewing my friends

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Old 06-11-2010, 01:15 AM   #20
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Go for it! I started growing two-row winter malting barley at home in October 2008 and, although I am still perfecting the process, it is absolutely doable on a garden scale. I currently have two plots, one that is 20'x25' and a second that is 18'x45'. If all goes well you should be able to harvest about 5 pounds per 10'x10' section, so you can grow appreciable amounts on a small scale.

The most important thing, in my opinion, is that you have to know how to garden to grow barley successfully. You have to know how to prepare the soil, control weeds and pests, water adequately, plant and harvest at the right times and with the right techniques. If you have no experience gardening, then prepare to learn before you expect to have great success. I have been gardening for 20 years and I am 18 months into what I assume is a 5 year process of learning how to grow barley and malt it successfully.

The other issues that you will have to address are 1) reaping, threshing and winnowing and 2) malting. Many folks online are all too happy to point out the insurmountable obstacles that these steps entail. Of course, most have never tried them. I keep thinking that folks around the world have been growing barley and making malt for thousands of years. You can do both at home at least as successfully as 11th century Icelandic housewives did (I say that with great respect as they were rather incredible women if the sagas are to be believed) if you understand the principles involved. I harvest by snapping the heads off the barley, thresh by rubbing the heads against a 1/4 inch piece of hardware cloth on a wooden frame and then winnow by throwing the grain and chaff up in a moderate wind from a large steel bowl -- works fine for the relatively small quantities I grow.

I am slowly populating a blog on home barley growing and malting: www.thebrownbookblog.blogspot.com. The photos are from the spring. As soon as my wife gets back from a trip I will put up ones of the now-nearly-amber waves of barley in the backyard and at our vacation home. I have photos and text that I need to post on malting. I am practicing malting 12 pound batches of store-bought barley until I have enough grain of my own. I seem to have the process down pretty well, but have plans to make a much larger kiln out of plywood, a space heater, and a box fan so I can ramp up the volume

Your main problem at this point is that you need to wait until early spring 2011 to plant way up in NH. If you want details on any aspects of home barley growing and malting (I have also made crystal malt) check back with the blog occassionally or let me know and I am happy to share.

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