Barley, or Hordeum, L. one of the most useful culmifernus plants, producing mealy and saccharine grains, which are principally used for malting and brewing beer. As the different species and varieties of barley are but imper-lY described in English botanical books, we shall here, attempt to give a more satisfactory account, and also state, in a summary manner, the native places and qualities of the various sorts.
1. The Hordeum distichum (s. aestivwm), L. or Summer Barley. It bears flat ears, divided into two rows, containing large grains, and grows wild in Tartary, on the banks of the Saamara ; in the vicinity of Babylon ; and in Sicily. This species requires a loose rich soil, and must be sown in dry weathers in April: there are two varieties : a. The Hordeum distbhum nudum, or the Large Naked Barley, bearing smooth, heavy grains, that afford excellent flour, which, when mixed with that of rye, makes a very palatable nourishing bread, and may therefore be used for puddings and pastry. The beer brewed of it is of a superior richness and flavour ; it likewise yields, on distillation, a greater proportion of spirituous liquor than rye : hence it deserves to be preferably cultivate'1..
The Hordeum frulescois, or Bushy Barley, one grain of which often produces ten stalks, with broad dark green leaves : it is sown late, and generally about Midsum mer ; soon ripens ; is more prolific, produces smaller grams than the former variety, and easily dege--nerates The Germans sow it very thinly, and In a moist, heavy soil.
2. The Hordeum vulgare (s. po-lystichon), L. or the Common Bar-ley of four rows. It is productive of longer, though thinner ears and grains, than the first species ; and as it thrives well on inferior soils, it is frequently cultivated in preference to the former. In various parts of Germany, and especially in Thuringia, the common barley is very generally sown in autumn, and is not affected by the severest winters
A variety of this species is the Hordeum coeleste, or the Walla-chian Barley, also called Egyptian Corn. It produces ears and fruit in every respect similar to the former, except that it easily sheds its grains; from which excellent bread is made in Germany, as likewise rakes, groats, etc. Its sowing time is the month of April, when it is deposited in a well-manured middle kind of soil.
.3. The Hordeum hexastichon, L. or Six-rowed Barley. This sort is uncommonly fruitful, so that it is said to produce one-third more in quantity than any other species (ex cept the next following); though, in ordinary seasons, the grains of two of the rows do not attain to maturity. It is sown in a well-prepared and tolerably rich soil, either in April or about Michaelmas : in the former case, it may be mowed so early as Midsummer-day. This species, however, is not so proper for malting and brewing beer, as for being reduced either to groats and flour, or converted into ardent spirits.
4. The Hordeum Zeocrhon, L. or Bearded Barley, or Kirn Barley, with short and coarse stalks as likewise short though.
broad ears, divided into two rows. When cultivated on a good soil, and thinly sown, it is the most pro-duciive of all the species of larky, and possesses the additional advantage, that it does not droop its ears nor lodge, even in rainy seasons. Each row contains from twelve to fifteen small grains: these yield an excellent white flour, which, for most culinary purposes, may be substituted for that of wheat. In England, the best home-brewed ale is produced from this grain; for the culture of which, we shall give a few directions in the sequel.
5. The Hordeum murimun, L. or Wall Barley; a native, though uncultivated English plant, which grows generally on the sides of roads, walls, etc. Its blossoms appear in May and June: horses and cows are particularly fond of it.
7. The Hordeum maritimum, L. or Sea Barley; the production of pasture grounds and gravelly shores.
Cultivation. - Barley, in general, requires a dry, light, mellow and rich soil: hence extraordinary care is requisite where it is to be sown in clay. Immediately after the foregoing crop is removed, the land ought to be ploughed ; which lays it open to be mellowed by the frost and air. In order to promote this effect, rilling, or a peculiar method of ploughing, has been introduced, to expose the greatest extent of surface. For the improvement of dry clayey land, Prof. Bradley recommends a manure of. rich dung, ashes, chalk, or lime; and for some particular soils, malt-dust or soot are very useful; but, according to Sir Hugh Plat, soap-boilers' ashes are the most fertilizing substance for the growth of barley, even upon barren grounds.
The comparative advantages of drilling and broad-casting, are stated by Mr. Peter Smith, of Hornchurch, Essex, as follows : in the last week of February, 1793, he drilled three acres of turnip-land with barley, at twelve inches intervals with two bushels of seed per acre ; it was scarified and harrowed across the latter end of March, and horse-hoed the second week in April; at the same time he sowed the grass-seeds, which produced fine plants, far superior to the broad-cast. The produce of the drilled barley was eighteen quarters three bushels, from three acres.
On the same day, he sowed three acres of broad-cast in the same field and state of cultivation, with three bushels of seed per acre, and also sowed the grass-seeds at the same time. The produce of these three acres amounted only to fifteen quarters and three bushels.
As it is of great consequence in the production of this grain, that it may ripen equally and uniformly, to prevent that inequality which would render it less valuable, we shall communicate the following method of remedying this defect. It is certain, that barley which comes up speedily in a dusky soil, will gain great advantages over seed-weeds: to forward, therefore, its vegetation, some farmers take out about one-third from every sack of seed-barley or bear, to allow for the sweling of the grain, which they steep thoroughy in clean water, for at least twenty-four or thirty-six hours, according to the more or less dry constitution of the season. Tor our part, we would prefer steeping the grain ; because in this manner all the light ' and unripe grains swimming on the top, may be easily skimmed oft", aud thus perhaps the smut at the same time prevented. Although quick-lime has often been recom-mended to be mixed with the wet barley, before it is sown, yet we agree with those who are of opinion, that it poisons the seeds, absorbs part of its useful moisture, and injures the hands of the .sower. As clean water imparts no tenacity, the seed will scatter properly; but being swelled in the proportion of three to four, or two to three, it is necessary to use a fourth or third part more in bulk; to harrow it in, as quickly as possible, after it is sown; : and, if convenient, to give it the benefit of a fresh furrow. By this method, it appears above ground, at the farthest, in a fortnight, if these particulars be duly at undid to.
A correspondent of the Bath Society states, that in the remarkably dry spring of 1783, he soaked bis 6e.seed-barley in the black water taken from a reservoir which constantly received the draining of stables. As the light corn floated on the surface, he skimmed it off, and suffered it to rest twenty-fbur hours. On taking it from the water, be mixed the seed-grain with a sufficient quantity of woodashes to make it spread more re-gularly, and sowed with it 1 fields, The produce was sixty bushels pan acre, of good clean barley, without any small or green corn, or weeds at harvest He also sowed several other fields with the same seed, dry, and without any preparation, but the crops were; poor, producing only twenty bushels per acre, and much mixed with green corn and weeds.
There is a species of this grain which was introduced into Britain about thirty years since, by Mr. Halliday, and is hence called by his name, or sometimes Siberian Barley ; it is possessed of qualities that entitle it to particular consideration as an object of importance in agriculture. From a quart of it sown in May 1768 he procured nearly a bushel, which he sowed in April 1769, in drills drawn by a plough ; and from this he reaped thirty-six bushels clean corn. Since that period, Mr. Halliday has made many experiments to ascertain the merits of this prolific grain as bread-corn, and as proper for malting.— He accordingly informs us, in the second volume of the Georgical Essays, price 2s. 6d. published in 177l, that its flour makes excellent bread, peculiarly retentive of moisture ; and the ale brewed from its malt has a fine colour, flavour, and body. (See the variety of pur second species, from which it will appear bis rain is the same which Dr Lochster, is Latin Dissertation, On the
Medicinal Pl ants of Norway, feelingly characterizes by calling it the Heavenly Barley, because it is equally gratefull and efficacious.)
As a proof of the extraordinary fepundit) of barley, and how much the fertility of the soil contributes to the increease of vegetable productions, we shall mention an instance which occurred in the. summer of 1797, at Reichenbach, Upper Saxony, Two grains of cur third species being planted close to each other, in a common garden soil, grew briskly, and spread with no less than one hundred and thirteen s.talks, which almost uniformly produced long ears : these contained the surprizing number of two thousand live hundred and thirty-four grains, of which two thousand two hundred and five were perfectly ripe and sound, but the remaining three hundred and twenty-nine were of inferior size and weight. According to this computation, one bushel of barley, in a rich and mellow soil, might occupy in planting, at least, twenty acres! We presume that the following additional observations on the culture of this valuable grain, made by a Norfolk farmer, will not be unacceptable to the practical reader. The best soil, in general, is that which is dry and healthy, rather light than stiff, and yet of sufficient tenacity to retain the moisture. On such land, the grain acquires the best colour and body, is the most nimble in the hand, and has the thinnest rind ; qualities which eminently recommend it to the maltster. But, if the land be poor, it should be kept dry and warm ; in which case it will often bear better corn than richer land in a cold and wet situation.
The best seed is of a pale colour and brightish cast, without any deep redness or black tinge at the tail. A slight shrivelling of the rind proves it to have a thin skin, and that it has sweated in the mow; both being favourable circumstances. As this grain will grow coarser every succeeding year, it should never be sown for two suc-cessive seasons on the same soil.
Sprinkling a little soot over the Water in which seed-barley is to be steeped, has been of great service, by securing it from the depredations of insects. In very dry seasons, barley that has been wetted for malting, and begins to sprout, will come up sooner, and produce as good a crop as any other. If sown after a fallow, three times ploughing is necessary. On lands well manured, clover may be sown with barley; the former of which, after harvest, affords good fodder during the following winter, as well as from the next spring to July ; when the land should be fallowed till the succeeding spring, and again sown with barley and clover : this method does not exhaust, but promotes, the fertility of the ground, while it produces large crops. The lightest lands are lit for receiving the seed in April; those of a moist nature, in May; because all soils liable to be infested by weeds, bear the best crops when sown late, with a view to stifle their growth by the ascendancy of the barley.
Although the broad-cast, at two sowings, is the common method, and the usual allowance from three to four bushels per acre, yet much grain is thus unnecessarily wasted. Half the quantity, and even less, if sown equally, would not only afford a better crop, but the corn also would be less liable to lodge ; for weak stalks, standing close together, are less capable of resisting the force of winds, or supporting themselves under heavy showers.
Unless the land be very light and rich, the method of setting; and drilling w ill not answer. Although one root will produce eighty stalks, all having good and long ears rilled with superior grain, yet it is to be apprehended, that this process of planting is too expensive in a country where manual labour is performed formed by free-born subjects.— it would be preferable to sow thin on poor lands, in order to allow sufficient room for the nourishment of each plant; as ii is proved by experience, that this simple method is the most beneficial.
It has farther been suggested, when the barley is sown and harrowed in, that, after the first shower of rain, the land should be rolled, to break the clods; which, by closing the earth about the roots, will be of great advantage to it in dry weather. After the barley has been above ground three weeks or a month, it should again be rolled with a heavy roller, to prevent the sun and air from penetrating the ground, to the injury of the roots. This rolling, before the barley branches out, is said to be attended with another advantage, namely, that it will cause the plant to spread into a greater number of stalks, so that if they be thin, the ground will thus be filled, and the stalks strengthened, Whether this expedient be proper for all soils, indiscriminately, we are inclined to doubt, though we do not hesitate to approve of it for very light lands, which are neither loamy nor other-wisq too stiff.
Lastly, if the blade grow too luxuriantly, as is the case in warm and wet springs, mowing is said to be preferable to feeding it down by sheep ; because the scythe removes only the rank tops, but those ani-mals, being fond of the sweet end of the stalk next the root, will often bite so close as to injure its future tation.
With respect to the time when barley is fit to be mowed, farmers frequently fall into the error of cut-ting it berore it is perfectly ripe; thinking it will attain its perfect maturity, if they allow it to lie in the swarth. This, however, is a very common error, as it will shrivel m the field, and afterwards make but an indifferent malt; it also threshes with more difficulty, and is apt to be bruised under the flail.The only certain test of judging when it is lit to mow, must be from the drooping and falling of the cars, so as to double against the straw. In that state, and not before, it may be cut with all expedition, and carried in without danger of heating in the mow. To obviate such accidents, and secure it from being mow-burnt, it is advisable to prepare a large sheaf, or two sheaves, of straw, closely tied together, which should be placed in the centre, when the stack is commenced; and as the layers of corn rise, other sheaves must be put on the first; so that when the whole stack is completed, and the sheaves are removed, a funnel, or vent-hole, may be continued from the bottom to the top. After withdrawing the sheaves, the stack should be covered with a bottle of straw, before it is thatched.
Barley lying in the mow un-threshed, will keep for one or two years, if the above stated method be adopted. But when this grain is converted into malt, it can with difficulty be preserved longer than one year, without being invested by weevils. One of the best remedies to destroy these vermin, is dry worm-wood laid in the malt. - For farther information on this head, see Malt.
Numerous have been the at-tempts to cure the smut in barley and other kinds of grain ; a disease which by some is attributed to the generation of certain minute in sects that breed in light and corrupted com, sown in a moist and unfavourable season; but by others, and with more probability, to the influence of the atmosphere, wafting perhaps insects from such regions as are infested with them. Mr. John Reynolds, of Adi-fcham, and several other writers since his time, assert that the smut in corn (especially in wheat) may be effectually prevented, by simply steeping the seed in a brine made of lime, salt, and water ; and that he never had any black wheat from seed thus steeped.— Experience, however, has frequently evinced the contrary : and as long as it remains undecided, whether the smut is conveyed by the air, or generated by small insects, we cannot offer an adequate remedy for this troublesome and destructive disease in corn.—See the article Smut.
The best sort of barley is that which is thick in the grain, smooth, weighty, inclining to a whitish co-lour, and neither too old nor new. Mr. John Kerrich, an eminent maltster at Harleston, asserts, that out of a coomb of discoloured bar-ley, more than two bushels will not, in most instances, work on a malting floor; nor can such grain, in his opinion, be relied upon for seed, as it does not vegetate better in the ground than on the floor. He therefore advises farmers to sow bright barley, or at least such as is kiln dried, which he knows from experience will vegetate ; or to dry it in the spring by exposure to the sun ; an expedient that may probably produce an effect similar to that of kiln-drying. We are much inclined to doubt the latter part of this information, though we allow Mr. KERRICH the credit of having stated an useful fact, as far as it relates to the process of malting ; but so long as the corculum, or heart of the seed, is not injured, we are of opinion that it will always germinate, independently of any external discoloration.
Uses. - Beside the almost incredible quantities of barley used in brewing ale and beer of different kinds, the consumption of this grain in broths is very considerable, especially in Scotland and Germany ; in both countries barley-lroth is as common a dish as soup in France. Hence pearI-larley is prepared in peculiar mills, where it is freed of the husk, and reduced to the size of small shot, by grinding away all the exterior parts to the very heart of the grain. The Scots and Germans, however, are more saving in their domestic economy, especially the lower classes of people, who frequently perform that process by hand-mills, or more commonly, in stamping-mortars, where the barley is freed from its husks, and rendered tit for culinary purposes. The latter are of a very simple construction, and may be very easily made, by excavating a heavy and firm block of wood sufficiently deep, from eighteen to twenty-four inches, and then adapting to it a wooden pestle, at the lower end of which a few large iron nails with smooth heads are generally fixed, for more effectually striking the barley and separating its husks. Such an im plement is also useful for blanching wheat, oats, and many other articles for culinary purposes : we therefore seriously recommend its introduction into every family, which is desirous of reducing the consumption of bread-corn, and lessening the dangers of adulter-ation, which (whether well or ill-fonnded), resound from every quarter of the metropolis.
Properties.—Barley has, from the earliest ages, been considered as wholesome and nutritive, food for man and cattle. In diseases of the kidnevs, and the breast, as well as in that state of the body-where it is said to abound in acrimonious humours, decoctions made of this grain, sufficiently strong, and acidulated with vinegar and sugar, are eminently useful.—(See also. Wort.)
As a cooling and diluent beverage, barley-water is of essential service to febrile patients, and in all inflammatory cases, where preternatural heat and thirst prevail ; but to promote its salutary effect, the grosser parts, which remain after decoction, ought not to be swallowed.