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Old 05-15-2014, 03:29 PM   #261
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Be sure to post some pics!

I'm thinking about doing some practice maltings with some bought barley soon. It certainly makes sense.

On the growing front, do small berries result in small progeny?

For example, is it worth grading the seed for next season and discarding the small ones, or has it more to do with environmental factors than genetics?

Once I get to production size, these things will start to matter.
(tl;dr) In short, over time, yes, it matters.

(long answer) I was doing a bit of research a few years ago into something unrelated, and uncovered an interesting database of Russian tax records, dating from before the 14th century through the 19th century (earlier was spottier, later records were more complete).

The guy who put the records together noted something about the grain (usu. rye) harvest: The peasants would sort the harvest into three portions, based on berry size. The third with the largest berries would get sold on the market as food. The middle third would be kept for personal consumption. The third with the smallest berries would be re-seeded for the next year.

Over time, there was a definite trend of the harvests getting smaller and smaller, on a per-acre basis. There are lots of factors that can influence it: weather, pre- and post-harvest handling, crop predation, etc. But through the noise caused by those factors, the harvests were getting physically smaller; they were basically selecting for plants that provided smaller seed (berries).

The trend was obvious in as small as 20-year increments; less than that, and the "noise" tended to drown it out.

If you intend to do this as more than a hobby, I recommend arranging your selection differently than how they did theirs... I'd divide in two (or so); save the largest berries for re-planting, and use the smaller ones to malt. That's basically my plan, once I build up enough of a seed-stock to be able to support at least a couple of batches per year with homemade malt.

YMMV,
--Misha


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Old 05-15-2014, 06:57 PM   #262
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Nice progress Misha.

FYI we have snow forecast this weekend up in the North so I think planting will be delayed this year.

The good news is that I've found an alternative growing area for my grains.


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Old 06-07-2014, 04:13 AM   #263
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ID:	204214 here's my Harrington growing nicely. I had to fence it off so my sheep and goats would leave em alone! Planted a bit later than I wanted. I'm expecting 10lbs of grian, next round I'll fill the entire fenced are with barley. Should get me to 30-40lbs per harvest I hope. Cheers
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Old 06-07-2014, 05:26 AM   #264
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Attachment 204214 here's my Harrington growing nicely.
Beautiful!!!
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Old 06-07-2014, 05:53 PM   #265
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I'm as green as your barley. I'm limited to two 3' x 5' plots for cereal. The wife refers to me as "old RickDonald" because I'm trying to "farm" in the back yard, rather than just "garden" some tomatoes, beans & peppers.

My rye from last winter is finally starting to dry out, so I'll put in my barleys in about two weeks. Best of luck w/the critters!
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:40 PM   #266
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Hana and Golden Promise looking good this year.
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:28 PM   #267
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Hana and Golden Promise looking good this year.

Growing 'Conlan' myself this year, looking forward to the harvest!


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Old 08-19-2014, 06:47 PM   #268
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I harvested 3/4 of the Golden Promise over the weekend, nice big fat kernels too. The rest needs a bit more time.

I'm thinking that I'll keep the harvest separated and see if the two sets of seed produce two different times to maturity. Ideally I want all the barley to be ready to harvest at the same time, not as it currently is.

If this variance can be bred out of my genetic line then I'll be a happy camper.
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:34 PM   #269
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I ended up with about 5.5 pounds from just shy of 64 sqft of M.O./Halcyon. My Hana was being grown up from 5g of seed, I got maybe 100g or so. And my Bere tripled in volume, up to about 150g. I'm tilling up a bit of field (probably about 600 sqft) for this year's winter barley, and everything else will be in my "experimental" 64 sqft bed again, and so on, until it outgrows it...

I bought some Conlon seed from Johnny's Select to practice malting; the first batch had a couple of hiccups, but the second batch was identifiably "pale malt." The first batch of beer from home-malted grain is fermenting (brewed Sunday, two days ago). In a year or two, I should be able to do an "estate beer," all grown and processed from my property. Woot!

Cheers!

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Old 08-19-2014, 10:28 PM   #270
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That's awesome! Keep up the good work.


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