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Barley update -Lodging

17 Jun

Here’s what’s happening- I didn’t follow my own advice. I put too much nitrogen in the soil in the spring and I was so concerned that I wouldn’t get a good germination rate that I overseeded. The result of all this overcompensating is lodging. This is when the barley grows so fast and tall that the stem can’t support the grain head and it falls over. Sometimes it can be only temporary and the stalks will straighten out again. Even if they don’t and the stem isn’t broken the heads can still ripen but they may ripen unevenly and they might get moldy. The worst case scenario is that with the heads so close to the ground they are subject to any rat, mouse or bird that happens to find them and surprise, surprise they found them. I couldn’t say how much I’ve lost so far maybe 5-10% but it looks as though any heads that have come close to the ground are gone and all that is left is the stem. I’ve also found lots of evidence of mice tunnels and little piles of stored barley seeds. I’m estimating that I can harvest in 3 weeks if there’s any left!

Notice the stalks without the heads. Without the weight they straightened out again.

Notice the stalks without the heads. Without the weight they straightened out again.

The Maris Otter is a winter variety so it's slower than the others (I planted early spring) but it looks great so far. Maybe it's better suited to our climate since we get a lot of rain in the spring. Too much rain at the wrong  time can also cause lodging.

The Maris Otter is a winter variety so it’s slower than the others (I planted early spring) but it looks great so far. Maybe it’s better suited to our climate since we get a lot of rain in the spring. Too much rain at the wrong time can also cause lodging.                     
 
 
 
 Surprisingly even though the robust fell over the mice haven't  been able reach the heads. This may be because the stalks are taller and the heads haven't touched the ground. They're still ripening even though it looks pretty bad. Surprisingly even though the robust fell over the mice haven’t been able reach the heads. This may be because the stalks are taller and the heads haven’t touched the ground. They’re still ripening even though it looks pretty bad.

Conlon

Conlon

Conlon lodging

Conlon lodging

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2 Comments

Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Garden videos

 

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2 responses to “Barley update -Lodging

  1. Sadeik

    July 31, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Got the same problem with lodging think the soil was to rich it only happened to my Nottingham long eared the Chevallier was fine but the blasted mice went up the stalks and ate the seed heads. They were more partial to the latter and not the former, then dam it I sickled the Chevallier two weeks ago while slightly green and the pigeons then had a go. You can cut once the stem beneath the ear has gone a golden yellow but is green elsewhere. Sheave it and stook it but away from pigeons they go eyes like s h hawks

    Simon

     
    • jfdyment

      August 1, 2013 at 4:39 am

      Sorry to hear this happened to you too. I underestimated how much of the Conlon they got, I think it was more like 50%. Once I had tied them together it gave the birds a nice place to perch and eat the seed heads grrrr. Next year I’m not taking any chances, since I only grow a few hundred square feet I plan to lay chicken wire horizontally about 2 ft. off the ground supported by bamboo stakes. Then as the barley grows through it I’ll move it up to support the stalks. Sounds crazy I know but I like to think I’ll get it right one year. Cheers Francois

       

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