Feed costs for the animals is through the roof. Since my husband always picks up the feed I didn't realize just how far through it was. One bag of layer crumbles for the hens is $25.99!! It's time I got serious about growing barley fodder to feed everyone.
So far it's not been a great adventure. The process is really time consuming and I'm not having very good germination (my fault... I'll get to that).
Day 0: I put 20 cups of barley seed into my bucket and filled with water. Right here is mistake number one that I'm just realizing five days into this. My measuring container is 4 cups... for some reason my head was thinking it was 2 cups when really it was 2 pounds therefore I've had twice as much seed in my flats as I intended which is part of the problem.
The next step it to skim off the hulls, dirt, bugs and bad seed that floats to the top. I put that in another bucket that gets fed to Hamsley.
I drilled drain holes in a third bucket. I put it into the green one above and drained the seed. Then the blue bucket went inside the purple bucket. I filled it two inches over the seed and added one tablespoon of bleach to keep it from fermenting. (The ratio is 1 tbls. per gallon of water).
Then the bucket sits for 24-hours.
Day 1: The seed was spread into 4 trays which should have been 8 if the numbers hadn't been confused in my head.
I put them in the greenhouse. Mistake number two. It's way too hot. The optimal temperature is 60-65* and my greenhouse has been getting in the 80's each day. Today they will all be moved outside.
Day 3: The trays are drying out no matter how much I water. When the seed dries out it will not grow. I was using flats with holes, but the holes were too big. I took some of my solid flats and drilled 5 small holes on one end. There is a small stick under the end so when I filled with water it takes 4 minutes to drain out. This has helped, but it is just too hot so there has been some drying still happening.
Day 5: This is the growth in the first trays. It is sparse and should be a thick mat. Hopefully, as I make adjustments we'll produce enough fodder to feed the chickens, sheep and pig. The plan is continue the process inside all winter long.
I'll make another update at Day 10 and let you know if things are getting better.