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Harvest seed heads: Once barley seed spikes have dried and turned brown, remove them from the plant.
Dry: Allow spikes to dry on a plate in a cool, dry location for several days.
Extract Seeds: Use your hands to remove hull and collect the seeds.
Dry once more: Allow separated seeds to dry for a few more days.
Label and Store: Once seeds are completely dry, place in a container and store in a cool, dry place. Properly stored seeds should remain viable for 2 years.
Barley comes in spring-planted and fall-planted varieties. Generally, barely thrives in full sun. Barley does not require a lot of water, and caution should be taken to avoid over-watering.
Barley is self-pollinated, but will cross with other varieties. If you are planning of saving seed, grow blocks of 500 plants to ensure sufficient genetic diversity. Save seed from your best 100 seed spikes. An isolation distance of 80-150 feet is recommended.
Sources: http://www.heirloom-organics.com/guide/va/guidetogrowingbarley.html ; https://goingtoseed.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/plant-populations-and-isolation-distances/ ; http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/grains-growing-guide
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