Sunday, May 15, 2011

Malting Barley Lodging Due to Heavy Rain, May 15, 2011

Last night we experienced prolonged heavy rains in our part of Northern Virginia. This morning the malting barley plot had lodged badly -- the nearly full-sized grass stalks bent over, mainly due to the beating of the rain and added weight of the water clinging to them. By this afternoon some of the stalks had begun to right themselves, but then we experienced another deluge around dinner time. If we don't get some good, dry weather and a little luck then the production from the plot may be impacted pretty badly. Harvest should be just under a month away.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Malting Barley: May 9, 2011

The barley heads are becoming more prominent. The grass is between 2 feet and 2.5 feet tall. Just a month until harvest.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Emerging Barley Grain Heads, May 2, 2011

All is well in the malting barley patch.

In the last couple of days the barley grain has started to emerge from the folds of the barley grass leaves. The awns (the hair-like spikes that form the ends of the husk of each piece of grain) are evident.

The plot is also getting some pressure from a type of climbing vine that encircles individual barley stalks and will bend them over and smother them if not addressed. On the very small scale that I have planted I simply wade into the barley and disentangle the affected stalks and pull the vines out by the roots. This will be ongoing until harvest, if history is a judge. I don't need to kill every one of these vines, but I do need to make sure they do not get so abundant that they pull the barley over and smother it, which would greatly reduce harvest.

My dog also wallowed around in a tiny part of the plot and bent the stalks over (lodged them). That part of the plot will now produce much less barley (photo below). This photo was taken the morning he did it, about 5 days ago. The section has perked up a little since then, as you can see in one of the other pictures.

It has been a very wet spring with twice weekly rain. I think this is good for the barley. It looks great.