Category Archives: Garden videos
This creepy creation is a last-minute improvisation made with clothes from a giveaway bag that was in my trunk. The head was made from a pillow-case stuffed with remay. Looks kinda stupid but it worked. The crows left these little seedlings alone. This is two weeks after planting.
Actually had some frost damage in April, that’s why it looks a little sparse on the bottom right.
Weeding has been much easier this year thanks to the rows. I still planted by broadcasting the seeds but before I did this I made 5 furrows per bed, so when I broadcast the seeds they more or less fell into the furrows. I then dragged my hoe in between to bury them.
Here’s what it’s looking like today, the Chevalier (front three beds) is racing ahead of the Maris Otter. I’ve installed the anti-lodging chicken wire for these and left the Maris Otter since it’s easier to weed without the chicken wire in the way.
It’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been super busy with a new job but I still have plenty of malting projects on the go and many more ideas I want to try. I’m currently brewing an ale made from a malt that germinated for 14 days. I also made malt with an accelerated schedule that took only 5 days start to finish as well as brewing a small beer with 100% unmalted barley, but more on these later.
Firstly, I want to thank all the people that have purchased one of my books. I’m quite happy with how the Malting Log book turned out and I’ve been using it for the last few batches of malt that I’ve made. I have to say it’s pretty darn handy.
I did have some problems formatting the Malting At Home book as a reviewer on Amazon has pointed out (the rest of the review is very positive so thank-you Jeremiah!). For some reason, Amazon direct publishing does not, at this time, recognize Google documents. So I had to turn my google documents into Word documents and when I did this the formatting gets really screwy. I’ve corrected the spacing issues as best as I can but it’s not perfect. I’m sure there are better ways to do this but if you’re planning on self-publishing I would highly recommend starting with Word right from the start. I also wanted more pictures but knowing I wouldn’t have the time available for at least four months I decided to get it out sooner than later. I am however very happy with all of the recipes I’ve managed to compile and I was pretty excited when I realized I could use Google translate to read some German and French texts that included some very useful information. I think having all these recipes in one book is handy because surprisingly most of the big expensive modern text books are kind of lacking in actual recipes or kilning schedules.
I managed to get to the garden yesterday to plant this years barley. I actually had more Chevalier seed than expected and managed to plant 3 beds with Chevalier. I planted another 3 beds with Maris Otter and there’s a narrow bed that I had planted with the small amount of Bere seed I had.
As you can see I’m not taking any chances here and covered everything to prevent the birds and squirrels from digging out the seeds. I’ll remove the covers in about two weeks.
As I was prepping the soil and removing some weeds I pulled out some beets that were perfectly preserved from last year. They had been covered up with a pile of weeds and straw. We ate them that night and they were like new. We also had some kale shoots which are very mild and not bitter at all. Here’s a shot of the kale “tree” I left in the garden over winter. I also planted a Fuji apple tree on the north side of the garden.
In total I have about 530 square feet of barley planted this year and I’m hoping to get about 40 lbs. of barley from this.
So far given the limited data I’ve gathered from my small plot of Maris Otter and my really small test plot of Chevallier, the Chevallier is seriously outperforming the Maris Otter. Visually there is a huge difference, the Chevallier looks stunning, the heads are huge, bigger than other two row varieties I’ve grown like Conlon and Harrington. As far as weight goes I counted out a random sample of 100 corns of each and the Chevallier weighed 6.2 grams, the Maris Otter weighed 5.3 grams. However, I have not measured the moisture contents yet so these numbers may be a little off but they have been drying indoors for the past 10 days so they’re probably close. I haven’t harvested all the grain yet, I should be able to tomorrow. Unfortunately this year I’ve been hit with racoons, rats and squirrels. I figured they’ve taken about 30-40% of my Maris Otter crop, it’s hard to say. The cayenne pepper seemed to work for the racoons and maybe even the rats but made no difference to the squirrel who seems to like it spicy. I caught him a few times sitting on the chicken wire right out in the open munching away. The good news is I should have enough Chevallier seed to plant a big plot of it next year, I can’t wait to brew with it.
Not too dark,
Not too bright,
As we look for treats.
Out we creep
While people sleep.
Soon we hope to find a heap
Of cheese and bread crumbs,
On codfish bones and beets.
This is from one of my kid’s favorite books when they were little it’s called Racoon Tune. I must have read this to them a thousand times back when I thought raccoons were cute. I’ve since changed my mind. The barley was looking fantastic last week and I thought I may even be harvesting the Bere barley this week but they beat me to it, the masked bastards. Look at the Bere now.
They also destroyed about three beds of the Maris Otter. I’m thinking it’s raccoons and not rats because the stems have just been knocked over whereas rats tend to chew the stalk at the base and then take the seed head. Some of the seed heads have just been chewed off and the only other animal that could do that would be a skunk but they’re quite a bit smaller than the raccoons around here. I also found some of their crap which was rather neatly deposited into one corner of the garden, at least they have manners.
Fortunately, there is quite a bit of barley left in the garden, the Chevallier looks good so I’m not giving up.
I couldn’t leave the garden today without doing something to deter these little buggers. Fencing is out of the question, they would just climb over it. So I figured I’d try to make it a little unappetizing for them. I bought three packs of cayenne pepper and sprinkled it all over the barley and I tried to get some on the ground as well so they’d get it on their paws. I know, it sounds kinda cruel, but I’m hoping they’ll just smell it and move on. Fingers crossed.
I’ve got a new plot! (again). Last year’s new plot turned out to be a bit of a disaster. It was big and had been neglected so it was full of weeds and rhizomes. I had a heck of a time trying to pull out the grass that kept coming up. It was also in a poorly drained part of the field so it wasn’t a good choice for spring planting. The new plot although smaller 20×30 ‘ is close to my old plot, which I’ve kept, so I’ll be alternating the barley between the plots each year. I planted on March 11 before we went away for a spring break vacation and when we came back everything had come up beautifully, especially the barley under the remay. You can see the difference in this picture, the beds in the front had the remay. The other beds will catch up after a few weeks.
The Bere is coming up well but the Chevalier seems a little sparse.
Check out John’s mower in action! pretty cool. The crop looks great. You can read more about his operation in the Home Growers and Maltsters section. Meanwhile up here in Canada mine is nowhere near harvesting but take a look at the Einkorn. It’s way taller than I though it would be. Sorry about the big ugly mug in the shot but it gives you an idea of the height of it.