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Apimyces

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That damage is more likely an animal than an insect. Birds, squirrels, even domestic cats are known to munch on tender grasses.

As far as the failure to come up, apparently the germinating seeds need to stay moist. If you planted too shallow, and the soil dried out, then they might have died. You should be looking at 1.5 to 2 inches deep. If you pack the soil on planting then 0.5 inches is sufficient.
I'll second that. Insect damage is usually at the sides of the leaves or the base. Top cropping looks like something an animal, leaning over, would do.
 

Farside

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Phase 2 of the growing barley in the lawn experiment is under way, with 90 sq ft of barley planted directly into the lawn now that the snow has finally melted and the soil has thawed.

I'm looking to observe the effects on the lawn by a decent amount of barley, and also the effects of an early season mow on how the barley grows and matures.

Phase 2.jpg
 

Apimyces

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I wouldn't expect really good yields from direct seeding barley into lawn. Lots of competition, and all grass-affecting pests and diseases are already confortably installed (grubs, fusarium, etc.).
 

Farside

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11 days after I planted the seed, and around the time I was expecting to see some emergence, we got a freezing rain storm that deposited an inch of ice. It shut down the city, and there were people ice skating in the streets.

The freezing rain then turned to snow, and so we got about 2 to 3 inches on top of the ice.

It took 10 days for the snow and ice to melt completely. It has certainly stalled all growing for a good 2 weeks in these parts, but I am now seeing a good solid emergence of the barley through the lawn. Enough to be able to clearly tell the lawn growth from the barley growth.

I am using a very rapidly growing heritage barley, and now that the seedlings are getting some sun, I doubt the lawn stands a chance in smothering it. So far, so good.
 

Farside

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Well, today I mowed half the planting down to 3 inches tall.
Let's see if that causes sorter, bushier growth with more seed heads...

half_mowed.jpg
 

Apimyces

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How much barley are you hoping for? I'm not familiar with all grain brewing, but a quick search seems to suggest that 5 gallons takes 5-10kg of barley (malted and not)?

Under normal growing conditions, ie the average farm yield, that would give you 2.84kg of barley. Normal growing conditions is not by fences, not in a lawn, and is definitely not with mowing. The lawn isn't only competing for sunlight, which it is, but also but water and nutrients. It also helps create a humid environment favorable to harmful (for the plant, but also for you) fungal diseases. I don't mean to be a party pooper, and with most growing projects the worst that can happen is typically "oh well, no yield, I'll have to buy some instead", but cereals like barley have an uncommon danger: DONs, also known as vomitoxins, which are mycotoxins caused by fusarium wilt that can be a serious health hazard. It's part of why one should not take cattle feed barley to make beer, because the DON limit is higher for cattle feed than it is for human consumption. And growing barley in a lawn, by fences, seems like the ideal conditions for fusarium to boom.
 

Farside

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This is an experimental crop. The variety is a full sized, pre-green revolution genetic line which happens to be very resistant to fusarium. Being a non-dwarf variety, its root zone does not compete with lawn grasses and the theory is that this plant will access nutrients that the lawn can't reach.

This variety is also a very fast growing one. It was originally taken straight from the landrace around 1850 which means that it is well adapted to competitive growing conditions. It has not been bred or modified since then.

My hypothesis is that the lawn will act as a living mulch that locks in moisture and actually aid the plant's growth since the root zone only goes down an inch or so, while the barley root system goes down feet.

Mowing half the crop is an experiment in modifying the growth habit to prevent lodging, and encourage multiple head formation. Reading some very old texts, I've learned that wheat and barley crops were once upon a time mowed and used as animal feed. In this way, one crop would produce three valuable products (the animal feed, the grain, and the straw).

During the industrial revolution, this practice was done away with as the focus shifted to a one crop, one harvest paradigm. Today, thanks to the green revolution, modern varieties have little to no value in their straw other than as an absorbent material for livestock effluent. It is still used as a construction material (in cob building where the straw is chopped up) but it's far inferior to the heritage product, and its uses are limited.

Update: So three days after mowing, the barley is clearly distinguishable from the other grasses in the lawn. It's probably put on an inch in height over the past 72 hours. I was not expecting such an aggressive growth response.
 

B-Hoppy

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My hypothesis is that the lawn will act as a living mulch that locks in moisture and actually aid the plant's growth since the root zone only goes down an inch or so, while the barley root system goes down feet.
If you're talking about the roots on a putting green cut at 3/16 of an inch, maybe, but in general, the blues, rye's and fescues tend to go much deeper, up to a foot or two. Pasture type grasses are deeper yet.
 

lowtones84

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Slightly old thread, I know. I've read through and have seen some suggestions, but anyone else have suggestions for mid-Atlantic malting barley? Thinking about planting some winter barley in the fall here in NJ.
 

Bubbles2

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The winnowing is the beast. I grew Saurgum and that was the rub. Then there is the Malting..
 

lowtones84

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Yeah I looked into them. I could do spring but I'm starting from scratch. Have to pull out a couple of small pointless bushes and a bit of my lawn. Been composting since November but feel like I should probably start with a cover crop or something and till under, than plant a winter barley in the fall.
 

bracconiere

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The winnowing is the beast. I grew Saurgum and that was the rub. Then there is the Malting..
the only pain i have with malting is the deculming/winnowing......lifting 20lb's above your head a dozen, twenty times is a PITA....i want to automate the process but, nobody else malts....and i'm a simpleton.....:(
 

Northern_Brewer

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If you've not come across the Growing Beer series of podcasts, this may be of interest - the background was that he was trying to get everything he needed for beer from his allotment (including the yeast, and gathering rainwater...)

https://beerwithben.co.uk/episode-3-barley/
 

lowtones84

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If you've not come across the Growing Beer series of podcasts, this may be of interest - the background was that he was trying to get everything he needed for beer from his allotment (including the yeast, and gathering rainwater...)

https://beerwithben.co.uk/episode-3-barley/
May listen while I'm brewing today, thanks! I'm going grow my own hops as well. I may try capturing wild yeast sometime but for now I save my own and feel that's good enough.
 

Apimyces

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the only pain i have with malting is the deculming/winnowing......lifting 20lb's above your head a dozen, twenty times is a PITA....i want to automate the process but, nobody else malts....and i'm a simpleton.....:(
Why lift 20lb? (20lb is heavy?) Pour in buckets, lift the weight you are comfortable with.

And why above your head? With strong enough fans, and repetition, you can do it with much less physical effort. You can also just make a fanning mill.
 

bracconiere

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You can also just make a fanning mill.
what's that? i put the entire batch for 10 gallons in two storage totes....and i find if i pass it in front of two stacked box fans, i get cleaner malt.....


(and yes, i'm lanky, so 20lb's is heavy!)

edit: $4k is out of my budget....

https://www.ebay.com/i/153433500128...NbCJ6jJoIRT2rKEDER39F6JsNsnsGHbMaAqDmEALw_wcB

if you have a plan for something a simpleton can build for cheap i'm all ears though...

edit #2: smallest i can find, i like the part about needing a forklift, lol...and it's the micro version!

https://atferrell.com/equipment/clipper/debearder-micro-series
 
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Apimyces

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what's that? i put the entire batch for 10 gallons in two storage totes....and i find if i pass it in front of two stacked box fans, i get cleaner malt.....


(and yes, i'm lanky, so 20lb's is heavy!)

edit: $4k is out of my budget....

https://www.ebay.com/i/153433500128...NbCJ6jJoIRT2rKEDER39F6JsNsnsGHbMaAqDmEALw_wcB

if you have a plan for something a simpleton can build for cheap i'm all ears though...

edit #2: smallest i can find, i like the part about needing a forklift, lol...and it's the micro version!

https://atferrell.com/equipment/clipper/debearder-micro-series
I mean, to be fair, I don't do malting, so I'm relying on quick definitions of these terms I'm not overly familiar with.

But winnowing sounds like just cleaning the malt from debris with wind? Because I'm familiar with cleaning seeds from debris with wind, and malt is essentially still a (dried germinated) seed.

At which point, it can be as simple or expensive as you like, depending on how skilled you are at crafts, what you've got lying around, and how much volume you want your contraption to process.

So here's one example:

The plans for it are available online, and I've made one pretty similar to that one. Maybe about 200$ to make, all parts included (except for the vacuum cleaner, which is assumed you already have), though that could almost certainly be cut with different choice of materials and technique. After having used it a few years in a row to clean my hop seeds, I believe I could make myself something that could process more seeds, better, at lower cost, but that's just an idea for the time being. One seed company I visited basically just dumped the seeds over a fan that's laid out on a very large plastic blanket, again and again. Pretty low tech and low budget. Density of the seed (for wind-based systems) and size of the seed (for mesh-based systems) are the main means of cleaning seeds.

strangely, i didn't have that thought....so just do half at a time...? i like that, i'll have to get another storage tote.....
Yea. I mean, there's really no reason to lift a specific weight each time. You'll save time by lifting as much as possible, as high as possible. But you'll save effort by cutting one or both of these variables.
 

bracconiere

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You'll save time by lifting as much as possible
not sure that's true, might get better chaff,or whatever, removal by blowing more over less dump rate.....i do plan on trying it to find out....i'm thinking if the flow from tote to tote is less then the air flow won't be as restricted to blow the rootlets away.....AND it'll be lighter! ;)
 
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drummstikk

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Hi all -- It's been a while. I never did achieve 100% homegrown but many of you have! :) Thanks for keeping this thread alive and passionately pursuing homegrown grains. We are a small subset of a relatively large hobby -- I wonder how many beer farmers there are out there?

I've since graduated from the school where I had access to a field and bought a house in the California hills with a small garden. Time to grow some barley!

1593299238434.png


This is Coast barley, an old landrace introduced to California by the Spanish. It once covered millions of acres in the state and was exported to Britain for malting. In the 1800s it coexisted with Chevalier in the SF Bay area and Central Valley and was distinguished by the rows. Chevalier has 2, Coast has 6. Coast was also called Bay Brewing when it was grown in the counties bordering the SF Bay and the crop was high enough quality for making beer.

As far as I know, this is one of the few varietals of barley adapted for growing in the SF Bay area. Others are Butta12 and UC Tahoe, bred recently by Lynn Gallagher at UC Davis, and California Chevalier (I haven't ordered it yet, but probably worth growing!) I got excited about Coast because it's the oldest barley in California and has been grown here the longest. If you browse around on iNaturalist, people are still sighting it growing wild in regional parks!

Happy growing everyone!
 
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