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Barley, Barley everywhere

 
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Hi Permies,

We have a question for you all;

We have a piece of land that was planted with a barley monocrop as recently as last season; the barley was harvested but this year we still have a lot of volunteer barley growing all over the field.


My girlfriend thinks that it’s a good idea to chop and drop them all before the seed matures, mulching the field at the same time. She is scared that if we let it grow without harvesting it, the seed will drop and we would have a lot more barley growing next year, eventually getting out of control.
Since we want to apply permaculture, she would prefer to remove most of the barley crop to let other indigenous pioneer plants grow.
Would that chop and drop technique work?

I, on the other hand, think that we don't have to remove them all but only chop and drop those that are growing where we want to put other plants and trees, aka are in the way. I'd like to keep some growing wildly to draw resources from when needed.

What would you recommend...
Keeping the barley?
Keeping some of the barley? (how much of it?)
Getting rid of it?
Or a different strategy altogether?
 
steward
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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At my place, barley does not naturalize. By that I mean that it dies out after a few years. Every ecosystem is different so it might behave differently for you.

If cut, it might require several cuttings, cause the plants may re-sprout from the roots, and attempt to flower again. A great time to cut is just as the flowers start emerging.  

 
pollinator
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Barley doesn't self replicate well. The seed head has been bread to not shatter and disperse seeds, so they tend to stay in the head, out of contact with the soil. If you let them be, the next year you will get a few, and by the year after that you would be hard pressed to find anything in my experience.

The other thing to note is that between the grasshoppers and field mice, any volunteer seed head doesn't really have a chance. It's hard enough growing the stuff intentionally.
 
Eric Lehmann
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Thanks a lot for your info!

This already helps us to make a decision: we are going to chop and drop them where it's in the way.
All the others that are further down our land can flower and grow out until they eventually perish. The wildlife can have the rest.
 
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I think I read recently that barley had more fiber content per weight than any other grain.  Thusly I was going to try to purchase some to eat as a cereal  either cold or hot.

I dont recall seeing it in stores in the cornmeal or flour isle.....   So what is the best place to buy some ?    
 
gardener
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Scott Perkins wrote:
I dont recall seeing it in stores in the cornmeal or flour isle.....   So what is the best place to buy some ?    


Here in Germany you get it either in the health food section of a supermarket or a wholefood store, alternatively via amazon or directly from a mill.

You could also check internet shops for home brewers. Some brewers like to do the malting themselves.
 
pollinator
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Leave them and then just pick the heads off and eat them, that's what we did last year, the field must have been barley the previous year before we bought the house as plenty of little clumps came up.

Where to buy it depends on where you are, in the UK or Denmark it's easy to get and is with the beans and pulses normally sold as "pearl barley" this is a lightly milled product so all the husk has been removed but the germ remains.
 
pollinator
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Scott Perkins,

You can order some grains to taste test from Bob's Red Mill.  They offer pearl Barley and there is free shipping right now.



Bob's Red Mill
 
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