Wednesday, 29 June 2016

smashing barley

Harvested garlic today.  Very disappointing.  Every year the bulbs get smaller and smaller, this year only 5 were large enough to bother with.  On the upside, the rest make nice compost.

This fall, I'll invest in some new garlic varieties.  I've heard that Salt Spring Seeds often has good garlic.

Once the garlic was harvested, I applied a generous helping of llama berries and some lime to the soil, cromed it in.  Now, to decide on what to plant there.  Empty soil needs seeds!  What to plant there?  It's next to the cabbages, so I don't want anything of that family.  Garlic was just there, so no onions or leeks.  Carrots are an option.  So are snow peas, beets, and swiss chard.  I could also go with a fast growing green like mustard, but that might be a bit too close to cabbage and the bugs could transfer over.  I've always wanted to try fenugreek.

Another thing to think about is that this part of the garden is just about under the drip line of some conifers. The trees drop their needles on the plants when the wind blows, which makes washing the greens more difficult.  So I don't really want winter greens like chard or kale growing there.

Spent a fair bit of time near Angel (goose) today.  We put a run around her so she didn't have to share her food and water with the other animals.  Angel won't eat, won't come out of her house.  She acts frightened.  She's had something to drink at least, so I put some electrolytes and vitamins in her water.  We don't know if she will make it or not.  I was told once that geese get really depressed when their nest is disturbed that close to hatching, they stop eating and die.  Even if the physical damage isn't much, we could still lose her.  Makes no sense to me, but somehow I think I need to cheer her up.  How does one cheer up a depressed goose?

Barley bashing day today.

This is the second harvest on my landrace barley project.  The goal is to create a barley that will grow well in a Fukuoka style, no-till field.  I'm bulking up on seeds.  The first year I tossed together all different types of barley and saved every seed they grew.  Nature did the selecting for me.  This year, I'm doing some selection myself.  I'm selecting for ease of processing.  A very important quality in any grain I grow.

It looks like I'll have enough seed to try succession planting.  I'll plant a section every couple of weeks starting probably at the end of August.  I want a grain that matures in May, not June, so maybe an unusual planting schedule will do the trick.  Otherwise, I'll start selecting for early ripeness.

My landrace barley goals:
-grows well Fukuoka style - but will take a few years of bulking up seed before I can start experimenting with this in any great amount
-is beautiful.
-matures early (may is best)
-is hardy and can withstand our rainfall (or lack thereof) patterns.

To separate the barley from the straw, I'm bashing it on the inside of a  (clean) garbage can. Later, I'll find some way to thresh it, then winnow away the chaf.  The straw is probably as useful as the grain.  I could make a hat (tempting) or basket, or sandals, or rain coat, or oven, or stove, or lots of other things.  I can also use it as mulch, or bedding for the hens, or... It's a long list, one day I'll take the time to write it all out.

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