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Growing barley (or grains in general) in a polyculture

 
Phil Hawkins
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So I was bottling beer last night, and thought I'd love to grow some barley (one day) and make my own beer from scratch.

Do people grow grains in polycultures? How does that look? I'm imagining tufts maybe 24" in diameter in amongst whatever other annuals/perennials/trees. Is this crazy?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Ive been enjoying this blog lately, which discussed grains in polycultures: http://deanom.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/polyculture-progress/
 
Jordan Lowery
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i make grain seeballs and toss them everywhere. they dont grow as dense as a field of pure wheat, and you have to "pick" them like you would a tomato when the wheat is ready. you can still get quite a good crop this way though, specially when you select for varieties that give multiple stalks. the last few years ive tossed them out in fall, in late winter, and in early spring. they mature at different times but i never end up with a field of grass and i grow veggies and fruits in the same spot.

works just as good if not better withy barley as its a stroner grain imo.
 
Phil Hawkins
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Interesting factoid
The North Dakota State University Ag Department wrote:The average American, drinking their 20 gallons of beer per year, consumes about 21 pounds of barley which requires about 0.008 acres (336 square feet) to produce.
 
George Lee
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I grow cereals with hairy vetch, and sometimes clover.. The vetch will skirt up strands of barley, or triticale for instance... I don't think it's crazy. Cereals are known to be able to grow in pretty much any soil profile (within reason). Sandy droughty soils, to loam. I drink a lot of beer and started growing grasses, but haven't brewed at home just yet...
Peace -
 
Wes Sharp
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I'm planning on growing barley for beer as well. My plan is to build a trellis on which to grow hops, and grow different varieties of barley and specialty grain all around it.
 
Aljaz Plankl
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Barley is a grass... so barley is the best companion to barley as grasses like to gorw thogheter. For polyculture i grow rye in patches of few square meter around the veggie garden on north side as they get big and here and there in a forest garden. Oat is doing perfect in a long row, they like rows too as i can see.
 
Brenda Groth
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planted hulless barley and hulless oats this year and neither sprouted
 
Tokunbo Popoola
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could this be pulled off in a no till field? using transplants. a bit closer to the rice processes? mixing transplants and seeds?
 
R Scott
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Brenda Groth wrote:planted hulless barley and hulless oats this year and neither sprouted


I had really poor results with hulless oats, too.
 
Alder Burns
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Of the small grains originating from the Middle East, apparently wheat was domesticated first, and the others (rye, barley, and oats) all started out as weeds in the wheat. In parts of Europe into the medieval era and beyond, a tradition existed of growing wheat and rye together in the same fields, harvesting them and milling them and baking them together. This was common enough that the blend had it's own name (which I don't recall). I suppose this would have been built in resiliency in case some circumstance harmed one and not the other, and you would just have more rye in your bread some years than others.....
 
Steve Hoskins
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Location: NW lower Michigan
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I have a somewhat shaded patch of turnips, flax, and barley, under some black locusts.
so far it looks healthy to me. I planted it densely, using pigs to loosen the soil and turn it all in. I don't expect the turnips or flax to be human food, but I am hoping for a barley yield.

First pic:
The barley is the green in the center, rear.
Rye etc on left, beans squash sunflowers etc on right.

The polyculture is no problem... The shade might hurt it, we'll see.
Pic 2: I have a patch of wheat etc on sandy soil, also under locusts looking quite nice, but the timing is so different, the wheat being nearly filled out already.


Pic 3: I put rye in my hugelculture beds to hold things up. They do the job, and yield big grains of rye, but not many, since they are just planted here and there.

Note that the Jerusalem artichokes in all of these polycultures don't seem to be hurting a soul.

Sorry the pics are so low quality.
I would love to see pics of whatever you come up with.

Good luck!
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