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drummstikk

drummstikk

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Yes, all barley varieties will malt, but the ones designed for malting will give much superior end results.
Malting varieties of barley are usually optimized for synchronous germination and steady, synchronous growth of the acrospire. These traits matter quite a bit in commercial malt houses, but they're not very important when you malt grains at home.

Who cares if you lose 5% of your total sugar due to asynchronous growth? I would much rather encourage people to be adventurous and bold in what they chose to play with. Every cereal grain will malt, and if somebody wants to plant a strange variety of rye and try to malt it, then I say go for it!

Even if you're playing with a high protein variety of a cereal grain (usually malting varieties are low protein), the worst that can happen is that you'll get a hazy beer. That's part of the adventure of brewing!

If somebody had told Medieval Germans not to both malting wheat because it wasn't an optimal grain, we wouldn't have Hefeweizen or Weizenbock.

I've malted purple barley and white wheat, brown rice, kamut, and millet, all from the grocery store. None were optimized for malting, but they all germinated roughly synchronously and produced a sugary wort.
 

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Never have I said don't experiment. What I am leaning to is if you are going to spend the time to grow your own, why wouldn't you start with something that has been designed for what you are using it for. Sure you could move your house with a VW Bug, but wouldn't it be better with a truck? There is a whole lot more put into specific malt barley varieties than just the malt. They are designed with specific enzyme packages, have the most available extract, low proteins, and so on. If you have all the space in the world and nothing better to do with it, go ahead and plant anything you want. Sure it will make some sort of malt, but can it convert itself? Will there be any extract at all come from it? If it is a six row feed, will there be a dormancy and it may not germinate when you go to malt it and a whole years production is trashed because nothing germed? All of these things need to be looked at when you are going to grow your own, and like I said, why wouldn't you start with a proven thing.
 
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Woo hoo! I finally have a back yard. It's not big, only 50 square feet, but it'll do. Oh it'll do.



Removed landscaping stones (who would ever cover up arable land when there's thirsty throats to quench?) and mixed a cubic foot of steer manure into the top layer of soil.

Planted Copeland at 12 seeds / foot, 7.5" rows. There's not much light due to buildings, but the soil is good. A little too much clay, but that seems to be the problem all over the SF Bay Area.

Also planted cascade in a half barrel and golding in the ground.


Long live 100% homegrown!
 
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drummstikk

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5 leaves with 2 tillers on the Conlon.



Leaves of main plant are labeled 1-5
Tillers are T1, T2
Tiller leaves are T1-1, T1-2, etc.
 

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Hey, I forgot about this thread. I'm getting ready to plant my Conlon 2-row this weekend. Here are pics of the seed tape I've made:




I have enough to cover a 50 foot long row with three strips running parallel. Last year was a major learning year with tons of stuff not working out well, and I got a total of 2.5 lbs. from the 1 lb. that I sowed (yeah, it was that bad). Anyway, with the seed tape, I'm anticipating a huge bump in production and evenness of quality.

Also, I have some Spartan 2-row growing already in a container in the backyard. Got a small packet of that from the USDA seed bank and I'm just growing it up to do a larger plot next year. Squirrels or birds dug up and stole at least half of what I planted, but the rest seems to be doing alright. Here's a pic from about a week and a half ago (it's grown quite a bit since then):



And, I still need to prep my Norwind 6-row that I grew up from another small USDA packet last year. I'm going to plant this near my new hops that I planted this year. Here's a pic of my trellis, even though I've posted it on other threads already. This pic is old and you can't see the hops growing yet, so I should take new pics soon. But I think it looks cool and I'm super proud of it, so here it is:

 

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And my Conlon 2-row is sprouting up as well! There are bush beans on the left side of the row because the row was a lot wider than I had thought it was when I was making the barley seed tape.

Oh yeah, and that's my hop trellis in the background.

View attachment 1464209178614.jpg
 

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Interesting observation:

Both barley on the left and right of this picture were planted at the same time, same density, and same watering regimen.

The one on the right is typical of the other barley varieties I planted around the same time, but the variety on the left is at least twice the size of the others and growing very fast.

compare.jpg
 

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This year I am running an experiment. Instead of converting pasture to a plowed field (I don't have a plow, and a rototiller is hard work), I am attempting to grow barley directly into pasture.

I thought I'd run this experiment in my lawn as it's a good substitute for pasture.

I used a tool like this:


To cut straight lines into my sod. The cuts are about 4 inches deep. I then built a primitive seed drill out of some metal tube and a few cable ties. The zip ties are secured 2 inches from one end of the tube, and are trimmed so that their ends are 3 inches long. The zip ties then act as depth guides, and seed spacing guides.

I then went down the cut line and at 3 inch intervals I placed a seed into the top of the tube, which I had inserted to depth inside the cut.

I found I had to blow down the tube to clear any dirt, and launch the seed from the end effectively (like a pea shooter).

The process was not the fastest, but it was a lot less labor intensive than turning the soil.

That evening it rained for the first time in over a week, and the cuts swelled shut. Over the past two weeks, the cuts have opened up a little, but not like they were originally.

It's been 14 days since I planted. I mowed the grass down close to the soil a week ago and so the lawn is quite long again, but I think I see barley seedings emerging in the lines.

drill.jpg
 

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Has anyone heard of the Hessian fly i have been reading about them now i dont want to plant any wheat or barley till they say it is past the hessian fly date sometime in the fall.
 

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Hey, I forgot about this thread. I'm getting ready to plant my Conlon 2-row this weekend. Here are pics of the seed tape I've made:




...
Nice job on the seed tape.

What spacing did you use though? I fear you might have set the seed too densely.

I've used this graph paper generator in the past to give me a guide, using 3 inch spacing:
https://incompetech.com/graphpaper/triangle/
 

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Yeah, I probably seeded more densely than is recommended. The seeds are about 1-1/2" apart or so. Some closer, some further. I'm confident it'll do much better than how last year's crop was planted, though.

I just realized I didn't get a good pic of how it's progressing when I was out in the garden the last two days. It's progressing nicely, so far.

Other than fighting for nutrients between plants, the other possible problem I remember reading/hearing about with planting too close was that they might get knocked over more easily (can't remember the term for that). Are there other problems that might arise due to this planting?
 

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It's called lodging. Which can be mitigated on a small scale by suspending chicken wire or netting about 3 feet off the ground so the barley grows up through it.

The other issue is water. And watering barley a lot often results in lodging.

From what I gather, when barley is planted close together, it doesn't put out as many tillers, and so it grows less heads of grain, which reduces yield.

This year I'm experimenting with sprinkler hose as an irrigation solution. It is used for watering grass, and emits a fine mist rather than big drops of water. The issue with me is that it comes in 50ft lengths and my beds are 15ft long:


The stuff is flat and has three tubes in one package. I bought a roll, and cut it into sections and now I'm trying to find a way to seal the ends. It's a soft, slippery type plastic and after a lot of trial and error, I think welding it with a warm iron is the way to go.
 
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Which can be mitigated on a small scale by suspending chicken wire or netting about 3 feet off the ground so the barley grows up through it.
Oh good idea!

The other issue is water. And watering barley a lot often results in lodging.
One explanation is that if the top layer of soil never dries out, the plants grow shallow roots, then fall over. Also encouraging vegetative growth during the jointing phase (due to high nitrogen, other factors?) can lead to lodging.

From what I gather, when barley is planted close together, it doesn't put out as many tillers, and so it grows less heads of grain, which reduces yield.
Right, each seed you plant yields fewer grains, so it's less efficient to seed at higher rates. But per square foot, I think, you should get even more yield, the more you seed. (After a certain point, the plants compete with each other for nutrients and sunlight).

Side note: do you guys re-use the grains you grow as seed? I haven't done this so far, because for the me thrill is just to know that I grew it myself. But, re-using seed should allow you to do an evolution experiment, and over the years you'll produce a strain that is adapted to your little neck of the woods. Also kind of fun to not have to buy seed.

Passed by the field where I grew barley in the past, and the lab that uses it in the summer for corn genetics has actually planted flowers in one plot:



What a waste! That land could be used for growing beer! Some people just have their priorities backward.

There's gotta be some way to notify brewers of land that is going unused, and we can just go in and work it for free, giving the owner 10% of the beer or something like that. I know, this used to exist, and it was called sharecropping, but let's bring it back! How many vacant lots and unkempt backyards do you pass every day? This land could be put to work getting us tipsy! What a waste, what a waste...

My little slice of heaven, June 15 (updated pics soon):

 

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Side note: do you guys re-use the grains you grow as seed? I haven't done this so far, because for the me thrill is just to know that I grew it myself. But, re-using seed should allow you to do an evolution experiment, and over the years you'll produce a strain that is adapted to your little neck of the woods. Also kind of fun to not have to buy seed.
The full ~45- ft. row I planted this year is from seed I grew last year. It's growing really well. I ended up with about 2.5 lbs. from last year's harvest (kinda puny, I know). But I only ended up using a fraction of that in my planting this year. And using the seed tape has lead to super even growth that will definitely net me a whole lot more in this year's harvest.

Also, as far as seed spacing. I know I went with much closer spacing than is recommended, but I'm not noticing any major drawbacks so far. No lodging (and I had a good amount of it last year). They are producing what looks like a whole lot of grain heads. Maybe each individual plant would have produced more if they had more space, but I'm happy with the results I'm seeing.

We have had really dry conditions though, so that might be part of it. Last year, we had a good amount of really heavy storms that knocked the barley over. None of that this year. I've been lucky to keep it watered fairly well, but the lack of storms means it hasn't been put to the test with wind or heavy rain beating on it.

I'll have to get some updated pictures posted. The row I planted in has a pretty wide range of soil quality. At one end it was beautifully loamy and easy to work in the spring. The other end is made up of super dense chunks of clay and was a pain to work with. The barley growing at the good end is probably 30% to 40% taller than the rest. Although, they seem to be producing approximately the same amount of grain heads. Who knows?
 
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Landlord replaced the fence in my backyard over the weekend while I was out of town. The crew ransacked my yard.



And they killed my crop and even covered it up with dirt.



The plants that were left standing had many of their filling grains knocked out.

Why would they go out of their way to mess up my stuff? I know this is all just a hobby, just for fun, but it really stings to see something you put time into destroyed.

That's the second time I've lost a crop due to someone else's negligence. Two years ago my plot of bere was plowed under and nobody alerted me. Sad times when you don't own your own land.

Now I know the heartache of the sharecropper! [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2ejRg-nRZU[/ame]

Only thing to do is start over. I live in coastal California, after all, hardiness zone 10a. I can plant any time I want. Did my best to clear out the plot and turn under the crop residue.



A little pile of straw was my only harvest, still better than nothing.



I used the opportunity to redo the backyard, opening up more sunny area for growing.



Will try to grow up my bere seed stock. Planting seeds grown way back in 2012, again 12 seeds / foot, 7.5" rows.



I'm planting it AWAY from the fence, near the house. It's sunnier here anyway.



And here it is after covering the seeds and stepping on them to increase soil contact.



See the sun rising in those last two pics. There's hope for 100% homegrown!
 

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Wow, that sucks.

My full row of Conlon has been doing really well, except some mice have been getting into it a little bit. They chewed through the stalks, knocking them over, then ate the grain heads. Luckily, they only damaged a small portion of the crop. And mouse traps are helping put an end to that.

And my Spartan 2-row was progressing nicely in the container in the back yard. But something has been plucking the grains right off the heads without even knocking it over. No idea what's going on there, but I'm hoping to salvage at least enough to try growing it up in the container again next year.
 

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This year I am running an experiment. Instead of converting pasture to a plowed field (I don't have a plow, and a rototiller is hard work), I am attempting to grow barley directly into pasture.

I thought I'd run this experiment in my lawn as it's a good substitute for pasture.

I used a tool like this:


To cut straight lines into my sod. The cuts are about 4 inches deep. I then built a primitive seed drill out of some metal tube and a few cable ties. The zip ties are secured 2 inches from one end of the tube, and are trimmed so that their ends are 3 inches long. The zip ties then act as depth guides, and seed spacing guides.

I then went down the cut line and at 3 inch intervals I placed a seed into the top of the tube, which I had inserted to depth inside the cut.

I found I had to blow down the tube to clear any dirt, and launch the seed from the end effectively (like a pea shooter).

The process was not the fastest, but it was a lot less labor intensive than turning the soil.

That evening it rained for the first time in over a week, and the cuts swelled shut. Over the past two weeks, the cuts have opened up a little, but not like they were originally.

It's been 14 days since I planted. I mowed the grass down close to the soil a week ago and so the lawn is quite long again, but I think I see barley seedlings emerging in the lines.
So my experiment was a total bust. I didn't identify one plant emerging from the lawn. That in itself is good to know. The next question is why?

I think it may be that by the time the seeds have germinated and the seedlings have emerged, the grass has grown to the point where the young plants can't get enough light.

Another possibility is that the seeds are not staying moist enough / there is insufficient soil contact with the seed, or that 2 inches deep is too deep even when planted into an open cut.

At this point I'm just glad I didn't plant out a quarter acre using this method.
 

Farside

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Landlord replaced the fence in my backyard over the weekend while I was out of town. The crew ransacked my yard.


And they killed my crop and even covered it up with dirt.


Will try to grow up my bere seed stock. Planting seeds grown way back in 2012, again 12 seeds / foot, 7.5" rows.
Oh man that really sucks. I'm sorry to see the loss of your crop.

FWIW, you can double that seed density if you water it. Optimum planting density is 20 - 25 plants per square foot depending on if you are irrigating or not.
 

Farside

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So this season has been challenging. I'm growing heritage barleys which are tall and so they are relatively susceptible to lodging.

We have had a lot of strong wind, and heavy downpours / thunder storms. This has flattened my Chevalier barley even though it's in a sheltered position. It will be interesting to see how the harvest turns out.

I also have an infestation of wild buckwheat in my Golden Promise. Time to rotate the crop into another area so I can deal with these little [email protected]#ds. I'm eyeing up the place where I'm growing peas and beans this season.
 
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So my experiment was a total bust. I didn't identify one plant emerging from the lawn. That in itself is good to know. The next question is why?

I think it may be that by the time the seeds have germinated and the seedlings have emerged, the grass has grown to the point where the young plants can't get enough light.
Yes, and competition between roots for nutrients and space might affect your seedlings too. Most of these crops we grow are not selected to compete in an ecosystem. People deride "monoculture," but it's been this way since the beginning of farming.
 

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So my experiment was a total bust. I didn't identify one plant emerging from the lawn. That in itself is good to know. The next question is why?

I think it may be that by the time the seeds have germinated and the seedlings have emerged, the grass has grown to the point where the young plants can't get enough light.

Another possibility is that the seeds are not staying moist enough / there is insufficient soil contact with the seed, or that 2 inches deep is too deep even when planted into an open cut.

At this point I'm just glad I didn't plant out a quarter acre using this method.
How old is your house? I have been told (I forget where) not to plant food crops up against the house because of lead paint contamination.
 
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So this season has been challenging. I'm growing heritage barleys which are tall and so they are relatively susceptible to lodging.

I also have an infestation of wild buckwheat in my Golden Promise. Time to rotate the crop into another area so I can deal with these little [email protected]#ds. I'm eyeing up the place where I'm growing peas and beans this season.
I'm sorry to hear it! Lodging is so deflating -- you watch with pride all season as your little plants grow big and tall, then they just get knocked down. In the past, I still got a great harvest from my lodged areas. There's not much you can do about it, so don't worry!

The buckwheat infestation sounds annoying. You may already know, but there's a few things you could try:


  1. Next time you prepare to plant, do everything except the seeding, then water the fallow field for a week. This will allow all the buckwheat seeds on the surface to germinate. Spray with glyphosate to kill everything, then plant your crop 24 hours later. If you do this for several seasons, it will eventually reduce the weed seed load in the soil.
  2. If the buckwheat seeds make it to harvest, you can perhaps remove them with an appropriately-sized screen.
 

Farside

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Yes, I have some screens made using various sized mesh.

FWIW an alternative and very effective tool for knocking back annual weed seedlings is a Flame Weeder:
http://flameweeders.com/

I think I'll prep the beds early this fall, germinate some weeds and let the frost kill them off, and then flame weed again in the spring.
 

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So my experiment was a total bust. I didn't identify one plant emerging from the lawn. That in itself is good to know. The next question is why?

I think it may be that by the time the seeds have germinated and the seedlings have emerged, the grass has grown to the point where the young plants can't get enough light.

Another possibility is that the seeds are not staying moist enough / there is insufficient soil contact with the seed, or that 2 inches deep is too deep even when planted into an open cut.

At this point I'm just glad I didn't plant out a quarter acre using this method.
Hmmm. It appears I spoke too soon. Despite weed whacking, and mowing this strip every 2 weeks, I go to mow the lawn this weekend and see barley at head emergence stage. I think next year I will repeat the experiment, and avoid trying to kill the plants so I can see what the germination rate actually is under normal conditions.

If anyone in the Southern hemisphere wants to try and replicate this with 100 seeds then I would be very interested in their progress.

barley.jpg
 
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My efforts are beginning to pay off in recovering after the fencing company destroyed my previous crop.



Two-leaf bere seedlings are coming up nicely. I added some seeds to areas that didn't receive enough, either through my own error when planting or through failure to germinate or predation.

Speaking of predation, I consistently find this type of damage to seedlings:



I see earwigs in the garden from time to time, so I think they're causing it. I surrounded the garden with diatomaceous earth and sprayed the seedlings with a dish detergent solution. Let's hope that does something.

The bere seeds I planted in my other patch failed to come up! I saw a few seedlings but they were eaten almost immediately. There's also a chance that the soil in this patch was bad -- too much clay and not enough organic matter. I amended with steer manure and replanted bere seeds:



Hoping for the best!
 

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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.
 

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An update on my experiment...

The barley is almost ready to harvest, and I have noticed something significant. The plants that did survive my lawn care efforts have produced the standard 3 tillers per plant. now this variety is a heritage one that grows to around 5ft tall. This year my planting suffered from severe wind and rain lodging.

But my lawn planted ones are only 3 ft tall and there is no way they will lodge. have I stumbled upon a technique for preventing lodging in heritage grains? I wonder what the root system looks like? Is it comparable to the modern dwarf varieties, or is is like the heritage? If it's like the heritage then it is potentially a more drought hardy, erosion resistant crop than the modern ones.

Next year I am going to have to investigate this further.
 
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An update on my experiment...

But my lawn planted ones are only 3 ft tall and there is no way they will lodge. have I stumbled upon a technique for preventing lodging in heritage grains? I wonder what the root system looks like? Is it comparable to the modern dwarf varieties, or is is like the heritage? If it's like the heritage then it is potentially a more drought hardy, erosion resistant crop than the modern ones.

Next year I am going to have to investigate this further.
Pretty cool! Anything that limits growth should limit lodging. I bet the lawn planting limited growth through increased competition, or perhaps limited root development.

It's a great result. Will be excited to see how the yield compares with commercial (plowed) yields.
 

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So I picked up one of these things at a second hand store for $15:


The challenge however is that the seed plates it comes with aren't quite suitable for barley seeds due to the size and shape of the seed.

I checked online and the manufacturer recommends using tape to partially cover the holes, but I found that was not a very good solution so I have been experimenting with an alternative.
 

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A while ago, I was working on another project and I discovered that if you use standard construction glue (PVA) to fill a void, it tends to shrink. When it has dried, it leaves a hole in the middle of what you're trying to fill.

So I taped the back side of the seed plate, and filled the holes with wood glue. Sure enough, when it was dry, there was a nice seed sized hole. All I had to do was clean them up, and shape them a little with a file.

The first plate I tried was the #22, which is used for Swiss chard. It gave the results of the bottom seed test.

It was quite patchy, and I noticed that this was because a lot of seed was picked up sideways, and never made it into the hole.

The next plate is used for beans. It has more of a scoop and a much larger hole. I found that this plate caught the sideways seeds much more effectively, and sort of funneled them into the hole.

Hopefully you can see the improvement in seed deposition below.

20170306_175258.jpg


20170306_174627.jpg


20170306_174916.jpg
 

Farside

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The nice thing about the wood glue solution is that it sticks quite well to the plastic, but you can actually pop them out the back side of the plate to file and shape them. When you're done, you can simple replace them and tape the back up again.

I numbered mine so that I can remove them when I'm finished and use the plate for another application. Then next season, I can put them back in the correct hole and use them again.
 
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