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Barley

Barley is versatile and easy to grow.

How to Grow Barley Straw

Barley is most often used to produce flour, vinegar and as a key ingredient in beer and certain liquors. It can be grown nearly anywhere that gets cold winters and requires very little care or maintenance once planted. This grain grows best in late fall and early spring, so if timed just right, you can plant and harvest two successful crops in a year and still have time to grow vegetables in the summer months.

Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil to plant the seeds. Loosen up the top 2 inches of soil and remove any weeds with a hoe.

Drag a hoe across the surface of the soil in a straight line to mark the planting spots for the seeds. Your finger should make very shallow trenches in the surface of the soil, no more than 1/8 inch deep. Space each row 12 inches apart.

Plant 25 evenly spaced seeds for each linear foot of space. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.

Water the soil lightly so it is barely moist.

Let the soil dry out between each watering session. Barley is susceptible to root rot when exposed to excessive moisture. Follow this watering regimen for the entire growth cycle of the barley.

Thin the plants to 10 inches apart once they reach 3 inches in height.

How to Repel Weevils

Repel weevils using things such as black pepper and bay leaves.

Step 1

Dispose of food that you know is infested with weevils. Eliminating the insect's food supply helps to repel them.

Step 2

Store all grain and beans, such as boxed cereal and bags of oats and flour, in airtight plastic bags or containers.

Step 3

Maintain a clean house by regularly cleaning your floors, cabinets and pantries, and surfaces. Weevils are attracted to any crumbs that are left lying out on surfaces.

Step 4

Fill small cloth sacks with black pepper, and hang them in areas where you store food. The smell repels weevils.

Step 5

Place bay leaves or cloves into your storage containers of grains and beans, directly on top of the food. Just like black pepper, these repel weevils naturally.

The Life Cycle of Barley

Seedlings

Barley seedlings are very hardy; they fare better than most other cereal grains. They do very well against weeds.

Geographic Range

Barley grows in more regions than any other cereal plant. The most common places to grow barley in the United States are North Dakota, Washington, Montana and Idaho.

Climate

Barley prefers mild winter climates that are cool and dry. It adapts easily to higher altitudes with short, cold winters.

Soil Condition

This grain does well in semi-arid conditions. It can tolerate alkaline soils but does not thrive nearly as well in acidic soils.

Maturation

Barley matures at a quicker rate than most other cereal plants. The amount of days to maturation depends on the variety you choose. The grain is mature when the kernel moisture dips to about 40 percent. Barley will grow to 30 inches in height depending on the variety.

How to Plant Barley Seeds

Choose a spot to plant the barley. Barley needs an open area with plenty of ventilation and soil that is moderately low in nutrients.

Remove weeds and stones from the chosen planting site.

Sprinkle about 25 seeds for every square-foot of space. If you are planting multiple rows of barley, space them about two feet apart from each other. Also, each row should be no more than a foot wide.

Sprinkle soil over the seeds to cover them. Like most type of grain, it is best if the seeds are just below the surface of the soil.

Add just enough water so the soil is slightly damp to the touch. Let the soil get completely dry before you water it again as too much moisture will cause decomposition.

Barley & Flax Seed Recipes

Healthy Breakfast Mix

Add ground flax and barley seeds to your morning oats.

A hot, filling, nutritious breakfast containing both barley and flax seed provides ample carbs and antioxidants to get through the day. Simply grind 1/2 cup of flax and barley seed in a coffee grinder or similar device until it forms a fine powder. Boil the ground flax and barley seed to a soft consistency. Add the mixture to a bowl of hot oatmeal for a boost of nutrients.

Cracker-Free Meatloaf

Flax and barley seeds replace bread crumbs in meat recipes.

Ground barley and flax seeds offer binding capabilities that replace bread crumbs or crackers in a meatloaf recipe. Grind the seeds up in a food processor or coffee been grinder and add them directly to the meat mixture with egg, chopped onion and chopped garlic.

Soups and Sides

Flax and barley seeds puff up and soften when they are steamed like rice or added to soups, making them pleasing alternatives to rice dishes. Make a healthy, flavorful soup from 1 lb. of barley seeds, 1 lb. of chopped beef, 1 cup of mushrooms and 2 cups of assorted vegetables. Simmer the mixture in 1 gallon of water for five hours. Flax seeds and barley seeds mixed with zucchini, onion and mushroom makes a tasty and healthy meal when steamed until tender.