If you take a close look at the green stalks on the right side of this bed you can see that they’re falling over. In this bed and one other one the chicken wire slipped down to about a foot from the ground. Fortunately the wire still kept the barley from touching the ground and I was able to lift the chicken wire up. I propped it up with a few sticks and the barley straightened out. My main concern is keeping the seed heads away from the mice – so far so good. The other beds are fine with no lodging, in fact this one is almost ready to harvest.
Tag Archives: 2-row
Overall this years yield was pretty pathetic, especially given how great everything was doing at the beginning. The mice and birds took at least 50% of the Conlon so I only ended up with 10 lbs. 7.5 oz of this variety. As soon as the seed heads came close to the ground they would take them. Also when I tied them together in an attempt to stop them from falling over I gave the birds a nice place to perch while they stole more grain. There is some good news though, I had great success with the Maris Otter, in fact that small little packet of 130 seeds yielded 1 lb 4 oz of grain, enough to plant all 6 beds next year. The Robust also did really well and yielded 4 lb 12 oz from the one 4×10 ft bed. Even though there were a lot of stalks that fell over the mice and birds didn’t touch any of it. I can only guess as to why they left it alone. I think since it is a six row variety the long hairs at the ends of the grain discouraged the mice. In 2 row barley these hairs and grain only come out the sides of the seed head but in a six row the grains and their hairs surround the seed head and they are kind of prickly so perhaps this gave the Robust some added protection. The total yield for all of the varieties was 16 lbs 7.5 oz. from 240 sq. ft. of garden. If the Conlon had not fallen over I probably would have at least 10 more pounds. Oh well, there’s always next year.
The Golden Promise didn’t do so well in the pot. The stalks were very thin and weak and the seed heads just didn’t develop. You can see in the picture the grains are half the size of the Conlon barley. I didn’t even bother threshing these, there were just too few and too small.
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!