• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Small Barley Batch, Barely enough to talk about

 
Willy Walker
Posts: 89
Location: Foot of the Mountain, Front Royal VA
2
chicken fungi hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As I move into my new growing area i found myself wondering what I would plant in the only flat area that I have setup at the moment. It is about 12 x 18 feet maybe. The rest of my growing area is hugel in process or raised beds made from logs. I started this area about oct 2014, including land clearing as it was hard wood forest. The land clearing was not typical removal but rather tree felling and clean up. All stumps and some small trees are in place. ANyway,,, back to the story. I left myself a single flat spot as described. I raked a few larger rocks out of the way but for the most part I did no ground work. So that means fantastic forest soil. I then proceeded to not walk on the area and use it as a dump site for mass coffee grounds, compost, very old leaves, old fallen trees that were almost dirt, wood chips, a wheel barrow or two of clay and some rock powder from a 600 ft well drill.

This upcoming week i am going to rake it all up and smooth it out for the first time. Then I will plant an ounce of barley, 6 row.

Again, this barley makes enough to post about. but I am excited and wanted to talk to someone about it. I seem to find a lot of large scale barley grows online and some small scale for beer stuff. I am thinking i will use this to add to my chicken feed if it works out. I have grown a good bit of veggies and plants and flowers but never grain. I am thinking the ounce will give me about 10x10 area.

Question, how to plant? I am thinking running my rake over the soil then adding the seed in the furrows from the rake and covering up. Sound good?



If it isn't raining to bad tomorrow i will grab a picture or two and add to the post.


any and all comments welcome. thanks for reading.
 
Willy Walker
Posts: 89
Location: Foot of the Mountain, Front Royal VA
2
chicken fungi hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is a very early pic. this was shortly after I set up the spot. Nothing much to see here folks, move along..

IMG_2081.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_2081.JPG]
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1261
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I planted winter barley last fall and it's coming up now. It's very spotty. I'd say if you have any grade to your area you need to cover the top with straw to keep the seed in place. It just ran into the low areas.
 
Willy Walker
Posts: 89
Location: Foot of the Mountain, Front Royal VA
2
chicken fungi hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is actually on a slight hill. So that is very helpful. Thinking about it, i should walk on the planting to tuck it in ever so slightly as it will be very fluffy with the amendments and all.

I am thinking I may be a tad behind but the worse that can happen is I raked it up and now I am ready to plant something else. Even better but not best would be biomass for chop and drop.



 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1261
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I had just composted the top of my garden area as well so I probably should have stomped it in. It may work for you. Hope it does. I was hoping to use mine as a cover crop. Now all I have is a living weed barrier around the edges. lol
 
Nick Kitchener
Posts: 464
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Last season I broadcast seeded my barley and it was almost a total disaster. I seeded too densely, and in most cases, I ended up with less than I started with.

The one exception was a plot of about 20 square feet, that I planted using home made seed tape. This consisted of toilet paper with the barley glued on at 3 inch spacings. This resulted in a very precise seed bed with a density of around 20 seeds per square foot (in my case, 20 grams of seed for 20 square feet). I ended up harvesting 450 grams from that small space.

This year I am growing out on a larger plot out of the city. Since critters love to eat grains (bears will totally wipe out a barley crop around here), I have kept back 20 grams of each type of seed, and have made seed tape from this which will be planted in my city garden.

In the absence of a precision seeder, I think the seed tape route is the way to go on small scale. Yeah it's time consuming to construct, but you are inside during the cold winter months, and when it comes to planting time (out in the freezing cold, wind, and rain), all you do is rake back the surface, roll out the tape, and cover it - done.

BTW, the glue I use is made from corn starch. I dissolve 1 heaped teaspoon in a small amount of cold water (so it doesn't clump), and then pour roughly 250 ml of boiling water into this mixture and stir. the corn starch thickens into a syrupy consistency, which I leave to cool.

I then skim the top "skin" off the top with a spoon, and pour the glue into a little squeeze bottle with which I use to apply blobs of glue to the paper at regular intervals. Then I placed a seed into each blob and let it dry. I also found that placing a strip of cling film under the paper before I start, prevents the tape from sticking to the work surface once the glue is dry.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Pie
Posts: 1819
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
121
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Willy Walker wrote:Question, how to plant? I am thinking running my rake over the soil then adding the seed in the furrows from the rake and covering up. Sound good?

If it isn't raining to bad tomorrow i will grab a picture or two and add to the post.

any and all comments welcome. thanks for reading.


Barley should be planted 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch deep, any less and you will not get great germination.

I plant barley for our hogs and for making malt, I plant seed close together (my spacing is a 2 inch grid)

If you just use a rake, you need to make sure your grooves are deep enough, then press after seeding and covering.
For small plots a "Hoss" type seeder would be perfect for planting barley, wheat, rye, and all other grains.
 
Nick Kitchener
Posts: 464
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is something I am experimenting with this summer that I thought I'd share with the permies:

I am at the stage where I'm ready to plant out a few thousand square feet of spring barley but I have a challenge...
I don't have a tractor and the heavy equipment typically used for propagating annual cereal crops is overkill anyway. I have access to pasture land, but this will need tilling.

The only option available for me is a rototiller, but that is a lot of rototilling, and I'm recovering from a back injury which means that it would be too much for me anyways. So I am forced to find an alternative method of planting my seed.

I've been reading up on direct seeding into pasture. The good news is that it works well for beans and corn. The bad news is that barley doesn't do so well. The trials also involved specialised heavy equipment.

So this summer, instead of planting out my 2000 square feet, I decided to try direct seeding some barley into my lawn. I figure if I can successfully direct seed into Kentucky bluegrass, then I can apply my techniques to pasture.

Since I've been successfully growing tomatoes in my lawn for a few years, I've noticed that the lawn root mass is a great living mulch that locks in soil moisture. The challenge is getting the seeds through that protective carpet.

So I got my hands on a lawn edger, which is basically a 4 inch blade that you stomp on, and it cuts through the grass roots that are encroaching onto your pathways. I used this tool to cut some lines into my lawn in an inconspicuous place. I did this into dry ground, in the hope that when rains come, the soil will swell the cut shut. After a bit of tinkering, I managed to make a slit wide enough to fit my next piece of special equipment into.

I hunted around and found a metal tube that was narrow, and yet large enough for a barley seed to travel down. I then attached a few cable ties two inches from one end of the tube, and trimmed the tails to be 3 inches long. I could then insert this tube into the cut exactly two inches deep, and the tail of the cable ties mark where the next insertion is to be.

I then dropped a seed into the other end of the tube and in travelled down into the soil. It is a very primitive seed drill. I found it helped a lot if I blew down the tube with each seed to shoot it out the end along with any soil that may have blocked the exit. So really, it is a very primitive pneumatic seed drill.

Now, 2 inches deep is the maximum depth that the ag department recommends (actually they advise against planting so deep), however, these seeds are not covered, and so my thinking is that they need to be deeper than is standard so that they remain moist. Since some light will get down those cuts, the effective depth of the seed will be somewhat less than the actual 2 inches.

So shortly after planting, it rained and the cuts more or less closed up as expected. But they opened up again about 5 days without further rain.

I know from my planting logs that the barley takes about 14 days from planting to emergence. So a week after planting my seed, I mowed the grass close to the ground in the hope that it will reduce the competition for sunlight as the seedlings emerged.

14 days later I went out and checked the cuts. It's hard to tell quite yet, but I am pretty sure the barley has successfully emerged from my lawn. I should know within two more weeks if germination was successful, because the barley grows to about 5 ft high, and should be obviously identifiable by it's growth habit.

Now, this technique is more time consuming than tilling. But it beats tilling with a spade, or a rototiller due to the far lower physical effort required. The most time consuming part is the seed drilling, and I'm sure that with a bit of engineering that a hand operated precision seed drill could be fabricated.

Right now though, I'm more interested to see if the principle will work. And then worry about scales of efficiency if it's successful.
 
Nick Kitchener
Posts: 464
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OK so here is my experimental update.

Two weeks or so after planting, I could not see any seedlings come up, and after three weeks, the grass had grow long and I figured the experiment was a bust. So I mowed the patch of lawn. Two weeks after that I mowed it again, and then weed whacked the edges.

And then I mowed the lawn every two weeks about three more times until we had some rain and I missed a few cycles. When I went out to mow, I noticed some strange looking grass and on closer inspection, i realized it was my barley in boot stage.

Lesson 1: Don't terminate an experiment early because you think it's a bust.

So I stopped mowing the patch and let it grow, but I did not fertilize or water it at all.

The number of plants that have actually come up is estimated to be around 30%. How much that has to do with me lopping off their tops every other week I don't know.

What is significant however is the height of the plants. This is a heritage barley from the 1850's. In my garden plot, this barley grows to about 5 ft high and this year it suffered from severe wind and rain lodging. The barley in my lawn, the same seed, is only 3 ft high ad as a result, it is much sturdier.
Both plantings have produced the same number of tillers (heads of grain) per plant.

Can mowing heritage wheat and barley prevent lodging? It's something worth investigating considering that the big deal about the green revolution was dwarf cereals. But dwarf cereals have a dwarf root system whereas a heritage cereal after a haircut  might retain a much better root structure. Something else to investigate.

barley.jpg
[Thumbnail for barley.jpg]
Barley growing in my lawn.
 
Nick Kitchener
Posts: 464
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would love to hear from some Southern Hemisphere permies who could continue these investigations during their growing season.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Pie
Posts: 1819
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
121
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hau Nick,

Barley, wheat, rye, and oats are grains that can be cut while in the early stages of growth.
Many cattle can be fed over the winter on a fall planted wheat field for example, once spring comes, you move the cattle off and let the wheat grow to maturity.

If you plant a spring wheat (spring wheat is called such because that is when you plant it, winter wheat is planted to overwinter in the field) then you have a shorter time period that you can cut it like a lawn before having to let it go so it will go into lodging phase.
 
Nick Kitchener
Posts: 464
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
7
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That's excellent info. Thanks!

I was aware of swath grazing where winter cereals are cut at the dough stage and the animals eat it, but it says nothing about regrowth ad I assumed it killed the plant.

I'm planting spring malting barley in mid April, and harvesting in the first week of August. That gives me about 8 weeks before the frosts set in. I'm currently using this time to plant a cover crop.

If I mowed in the middle of June, that is about the same time as I'm planting frost tender plants like beans and tomatoes, as well as beginning to harvest spinach. It's still relatively cool (we get snow until the middle of May), and we get a decent amount of rain at this time.

According to my notes, head emergence for this barley variety was June 16, and I think I would want to mow before this happens. I also noted that this barley grows tall very fast, and I encountered lodging for the first time on June 1 (at the boot stage) as a result.


 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic