Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Barley harvest 2014


Our grain experiment in Iceland, in its second year, proved a few conclusions.

First it is much better to go for already established Icelandic varieties, which seem to produce significantly earlier. I noticed this in a nearby barley farmer, which had its grain ready one month earlier than me. I also had two varieties of oats, and the icelandic one was the only harvested.

This week, I had a harvest of Himalayan BarleyIn a small 0.5m2 bed, I harvested 50g of grain. It's about 1 ton/ha yield, or one fifth of the 5ton/ha yield of commercial barley. This grain was harvested mid September, so right on time, before the start of the Icelandic winter.

Some of the harvested barley, before threshing and winnowing.

I grew only 1 square meter bed of it. So at most it's only enough for a loaf of bread, with 10 slices.

I also have another variety of barley, which was harvested by early October, called Schrene Barley. I harvested 150g of grain per 0.5 m2 (3 ton/ha yield) which is near the organic yield for barley.

We also had a small harvest of rye (a grain which never produces well in Iceland), a small harvest of Triticale ´Shade´, a small harvest of Tim Peters Wheat (all by early October) and Maris Widgeon Wheat and Durum Wheat by mid October. It remains to be see whether these grain seeds are viable. 

I failed to harvest other several varieties of wheat (April Awned Wheat, Spelt Wheat, Kamut Wheat) and Perennial Wheat, but I will bring those plants indoors, to see if I can get seed from them. I had harvested a few seeds of Perennial Rye, from Tim Peters. That's a rare perennial type of rye, which multitillers and comes back again, every year, after harvest.

At least I found out that barley is the easiest grain to grow in Iceland. And that growing wheat is possible in Iceland, provived the right variety!

However it is rather challenging to get a nice ripe harvest of grain in Iceland. Except perhaps for some selected varieties of oats, barley or wheat. Better to invest the space with starchy roots like potatoes, swedes and parsnips. Unless you have a nice size of land, and luck with the summer.

Growing grain in Iceland. I tried many types, but the only harvested was barley, a local variety of oats, and a bit of wheat.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Potato harvest 2014

Today I harvest potatoes. In a part-shade bed of 3m2, I harvested 5.3 Kg. This is about 17 ton/ha.

I got less number of potato tubers than I expected (maybe because they were in part-shade) but also much larger potatoes than usual.  Overall, it is just as fine. We still get a yield on par with the average organic producer!
About 6 kg of potatoes, our homegrown, for the next few months...

Compared to last year, we got slightly more potatoes for the same area. Last year we harvested 4.5 Kg from 3m2 (yield 15 ton/ha). The increase was because this summer was considerably better than last year, nevertheless this year I was growing the potatoes in a bed with much less sunshine.

If last year we had potatoes lasting for 3 months, between mid September until December. This year they might last probably until January.

Yes, we don't eat that many potatoes. Just around 1.5 kg of potatoes per month, about 3 meals for a couple; less than once per week.