Week 14/15 – Wherefore art thou rain-io?


Hops and barley - growing beer

One of the better patches (L) compared to one that’s er, not (R)

Hmm is definitely the word/noise that springs to mind (and not just because of the terrible pun – sorry). The barley seeds are growing, but they aren’t exactly doing it in a uniform, consistent way. I think a combination of me failing to evenly tread in the seeds and a complete absence of anything that resembles rain for weeks has caused many of the seeds that are near or on the surface to either grow much more slowly or just lie there like dormant holiday makers on a sunny beach. Those that are coming up are doing me proud, with nice green blades shooting up above the handful of small weeds that think now is the time to shine, but they aren’t exactly covering the plot.

We finally had a proper downpour last weekend, and I think (hope) that there are more shoots starting to come through. It’s not absolutely critical for the completion of the project as there is some growing, but my dreams of a bumper brew in terms of volume are directly linked to the barley growth and eventual yield – Growing Beer is increasingly about finding out which of my four ingredients is going to be the limiting factor.

On the plus side, some of the hops are shooting up the string. Fuggles is currently in the lead at about 4-5 feet high, with Cascade in second and Goldings in, well, Goldings is still tying it’s laces on the starting line but it has at least shown up. I’ve also got the guttering in to collect the imaginary rain that I’m expecting, and this week I’m meeting with some rather nice chaps from the University of Exeter. With a little luck they’re going to help me get my head around yeast, it’s collection and whether I’m kidding myself in thinking that I can get a usable culture from my allotment…

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