This is the second post of the Grow-A-Along with Barley and Wheat! The month of January saw a cool-down in temperatures that was also accompanied with little precipitation. In our region we went from a severe drought to an extreme drought over the month. For farmers who are planting wheat and other spring grains it is a really bad time due to the lack of rain or snow. As we are doing this small-scale we are able to water the barley and wheat plots, but the cooler weather does mean growth was slow and uneven.
The first upcoming challenge for February is to see how well the plots will do with the expected winter weather. The temperature here is forecasted to get into the 10sF as lows, but for only a few days. Wheat and barley can handle cold, but those who are further along in growth will have a reduced ability to do so.
For the barley the growth displayed correlated with whether or not the armadillo damage, as noted in Part 1, harmed the barley plant or not. For those that did not suffer damage, they continued to grow and put out tillers as seen below. This was a good number of plants, but only a few were as large as photographed.
Since the barley plot suffered wide damage, a lot of the barley was more modest such as seen below.
In the new plot, the barley sprouted and has put on a couple inches of growth (see below). Relatively expected and decent. Watering in the cooler weather means less is loss to heat evaporation, but high winds can still drain the moisture out of soils. The armadillo has not caused damage this month, enabling the barley to continue to grow, even slowly, unhindered. The application of first cayenne pepper-water mix, then followed by castor oil has seemed to push it away.
The new plot made for the wheat showed the first sprouts in the third week of January. Wheat has a better cold tolerance than barley generally, and for new sprouts the growing point is located just below or at the surface level. If the wheat plant suffers damage, which we expect with the rain-ice-snow combination expected in Feb., then it should be able to grow back.
The leaves may die back or become stunted, and in a worse case scenario, we can plant again. But we won’t make that decision until at least the second week of February. That will give the wheat time to grow and see how much suffered fatal damage. If most does well, then we will leave the plot as-is. The precipitation itself will be good for the soil regardless. Hopefully warmer temperatures start up in late February along with some more precipitation!