Week 16/17 – Stormy weather

Wow, what a difference 3 weeks make.

The good bit…

In mid-May I was still looking down at the slightly bare, dry ground wondering if anything was going to grow at all, yet getting back onto the allotment after a few days off in early June and I’m greeted by a sea of green. Damaged hopsLarge blades of barley wave in the breeze, hopefully building up the energy needed to shortly start putting out their main flag leaf – the one that will eventually produce an ear of barley and the all important grain.

It’s not just barley that’s making it green though. As I’m not spraying there’s a fair amount of natural competition for the light and 2 or 3 different weeds are starting to muscle in. I’m removing them as I can, but it’s not possible to get to all of them and I think I need to accept that some parts of my carefully prepared beds are destined to be homed to plants less useful to the final brew.

The bad bit…

Whilst the recent rain has been great for the barley, the wind has been a nightmare for the hops. As they’ve grown higher and higher, they’ve also got heavier. The intense rain and very strong winds whilst I was away have caused the strings to stretch, which in turn pushed the main stem of my biggest fuggles into the side of it’s protective cloche and to shear it off from of the plant. Barley growing wellIt’s not a total disaster, but it’s definitely bad and very sad to see the strongest part of the healthiest plant wither and die, whilst some of the others have suffered damaged leaves or stems.

With luck they’ll recover and produce as hoped, but it’s a timely reminder that there are elements of the project that I can’t control. I can weed around the barley and squirt aphids off the hops, but there is clearly going to be a fair bit of checking weather reports and crossing fingers over the next 3 months…

2 comments

  1. Christopher Clayton says:

    So will the yeast (in the future) come from the air, or a packet yeast? Will you boil the wort over a wood fire or a thermoststically controlled boiler? Is the plot totally organic?

    1. growingbeer says:

      Yes – that’s the plan! I’ll be trying to get a yeast from the air or off the plants on the plot, it’s definitely the trickiest one to sort out but I’m just waiting on confirmation from somebody who should be able to help with this (watch this space…). I’m not using any chemicals, treatments or pesticides so yes, it’s organic – absolutely nothing is going onto the plot except the seeds, rhizomes and lot of hard work (I’m using an organic variety of barley that should stand the best chance). As for the brew itself, I’ve not decided – once I’ve got the 4 ingredients sorted out I’ll be moving on to this. Thanks for following!

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