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My first sheave of barley for Homemade Beer!

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DoubleMerlin's picture
DoubleMerlin

My first sheave of barley for Homemade Beer!

 

I have just harvested my first sheave of barley. I went through my smaller patch yesterday to pluck out what seemed like the healthiest, tallest, most tillered, most plump stalks. All of these grains will be saved, not used for beer. The rest of my 50 sq ft, I am planning to use for beer. I'm shooting for more than two pounds of grain, and am planning on saving at least 8 ounces for planting next year. I doubt this lone sheave will be enough, so I'll take whatever is necessary to ensure I have a healthy amount of seed to plant next year. I planted 4 ounces over 50 sq ft.

This is a little moist still, with only about 85% of the the heads ripe. Leaving it to dry in the corner of my living room. Need a good pot or vase to make a centerpiece of sorts.

I am planning on planting cow-peas over the stubble, and then, after my tomatoes, beans, and cukes are out, planting some heirloom rye.

SweetMK's picture
SweetMK

of the barley,,,, I worked on a 1,000 acre farm in Virginia in the 1970's, we always grew about 200 acres of barley,,

The barley was planted in the fall, and it was the first crop harvested.. 150 bushels per acre was the norm, or 1 pound per 5 square feet, if my calculator is correct.

50 square feet should produce 10 pounds, the trick is to apply nitrogen monthly, until the head starts to form. 

With enough sun, a little irrigation, and luck, you could even produce double that, my nephew has done it on thirty acres, they have contests annually, the farmers get carried away, and have produced close to 500 bushels per acre. That is 5/8 of a pound per square foot, but, we will not go into what those farmers spend trying to win the contest!!

Is your barley the "itchy" variety? I remember having to go jump into the river after unloading each truck full into the storage bin. The dust caused a crazy amount of itch. We were kids, the adults just suffered all day, but, the river was sure fun!!

DoubleMerlin's picture
DoubleMerlin

I'm have an 1/8th acre test plot where I'm growing 2500 sq ft of barley and 1000 sq ft of buckwheat. I planted it a month and a half after what I've pictured here.

I am hoping for a low yield based on my only other experience growing grains, last year, where I only harvested 14 ounces for planting 16 oz. Anything above 2 lbs will make me ecstatic.

I did not fertilize this barley at all, relying on the fertility of whatever the previous gardener had. Since I'm aiming for a malting barley, I intended this to be as low nitrogen/low protein as I could manage. I (under)fertilized my large plot with 2.5 lbs of urea (45/0/0) and 40 lbs baked chicken manure (5/3/2) (~3.6 lbs N, or 60 lbs/acre) on soil that was essentially sand topped with compost. According to a soil test, the ground had enough of every other nutrient. I'm seeing how that does for yield and kernal plumpness. Will experiment more next year. Planning on putting a legume rotation in place to build nitrogen and soil quality.

If my 2500 sq ft can get me 100 lbs, I'll be more than happy. At 10 lbs per 50 sq ft, you say I should get 500 lbs. That sounds like far too much, and I've never heard of 150 bu/acre. I thought 70 bu/acre was more reasonable, and 100 was good. I thought corn at 200 bu/acre made it the reason its so widely grown.

SweetMK's picture
SweetMK

A lot has to do with variety, and the varieties come and go, they become susceptible to disease.

The highest yield was in the early 1950's, crazy high numbers,,, That variety is long gone.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

it will make its own vase.  Has to be tied in one spot half way up, then just hold them like water skiing and twist like wringing, slowly and not too tight.   You may have to trim the bottom or tap on an inverted small bowl, but better than an enclosed container for drying.  :)