Louisiana Barley Project: 75s.f. 8oz. 6-row…“dream big start small,” Chris Stalder.
Barley comes in two varieties, two-row and six-row. Referring to the number of rows of grain on the barley head. Six-row is smaller grained, less starchy and more enzymatic than two-row. Brew Your Own (BYO) magazine suggest six-row is commonly used in making American style high-adjunct beers because it can easily convert un-malted starches in ingredients as corn and rice.
I was unable to find anyone locally who has grown malting grains for beer production in the southern areas of Louisiana. Farmers use it for cover crops or for cattle grazing but none (I’ve found) grow for production. I visited with several co-ops and seed posts from St. Francisville, Louisiana to Morgan City to New Orleans, La with little luck. So…..Based on internet research, I came to the conclusion that I’d have better luck growing 6-row rather than 2-row. This assumption was made because 6-Row is currently growing more places around the country than 2-row; seemingly a more hearty variety. And the fact it is grown by a few farmers in South Carolina for small scale malting production…gave me a little hope.
I decided to purchase GBA-7220 Regular Barley (6-row) from Bountiful Gardens. http://www.bountifulgardens.org/ Side note: I’ve purchased mushroom plugs and vegetable seeds from them before and always enjoyed their helpfulness and knowledge to organic farming.
I ended up raking in/planting 8 oz of seed in a 75 sq ft raised landscape bed on October 18, 2014 at 76°F.
Currently my garden is being irrigated by a 20’ rotating spray rotor which runs for 40 minutes (@4am) once a day until plants become established. Once established it’ll be cut back to every other day or every three days. After 6-8 weeks the irrigation rotor will be valved off and drip irrigation will commence for the remainder of the growing season. I hope the barley will grow 5-6 inches before the heart of winter hits and establish a root system worthy of survival until February.