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Burbank Hulless Barley

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Market price: $7.99
Our price: $3.99
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Hordeum vulgare subsp. vulgare
Improved Burbank Hulless Barley (90 days)

50 seeds ~2 grams

Luther Burbank died April 11, 1926.  1927 the last Burbank Seed Catalog States..."Final offering of Burbank Barley.  One of Mr. Burbank's Greatest grain creations.  In the store-house where Burbank kept precious seeds for his own use we found a treasure that will delight farmer and growers of fine grains...a few sacks of his hulless barley." 

This was the last time this barley was offered to the public until now...  Restored back to commercial cultivation by Sustainable Seed Co. in 2010.   We are now releasing and improved variety that has 4+ stalks (original had 2 stalks) and larger heads.

A six rowed barley.  14% protein level.  BetaGlucan 7.5% (very high) (Lodge Scale of 7 )

Spring Planted.  4' stalks carry golden plump grain heads of immense size.  Excellent, rich nutty flavor.  2+ tillers (stools, basal shoots, etc...) which is an improvement of California Hulless.

Luther Burbank states in his catalog that this was a selection from California Hulless Barley.  What that means is he took this already known barley and selected for characteristics he liked.  What those characteristics were we don't know for sure.  I'm still researching and digging through his endless catalogs/papers locally, but a trip to the Library of Congress may be in order for this and a few other varieties I'm researching.  

Improvement of a seed line was typical at the time.  Heck, most seedsmen today still do it.  However, what made Burbank so controversial was instead of keeping the original seed name and then calling it "new, improved or _____(company's name) selection" (but leaving the original seed name), he renamed it and normally after himself. 

For instance this barley was and is clearly California Hulless, but it is also clearly bigger, taller and more robust than its original state.  Another famous example Burbank did this with was Golden Bantam corn.  He took Burpee's 8 rows of grains to an ear variety and bred it up to 12 rows an ear.  He then called it Burbank Bantam.  He at least left the Bantam name attached, but only occasionally mentions what it originally was.  In fact he called it a "new bantam".  This practice brought critics to his work.  However, he spent 18 years improving Golden Bantam!  Should he not be able to rename his work that was now different from the original?  There were also no plant patents in Burbank's day and this was a way of branding his work.  Hopefully recouping some of the cost of 18 years of research.

I was highly impressed in that we planted Burbank Barley in very infertile, sandy soil with no organic amendments added.  Despite this it did amazing!  0% lodging (falling over) noted.  No major disease or pest problems.  Hasn't been offered commercially that we know of since Luther Burbank did in 1926 just before his death. 

1926 Luther Burbank seed catalog states...
"140 bushels per acre.  A tremendously valuable variation from the well know 6-rowed California barley.  The one barley for all purposes.  No other barley of any kind will yield as much as this..."

Decemeber 5, 1924 San Francisco Customer to Burbank states....
"We received five pounds and harvested 600 pounds.  142 bushels per acre..." 

Part of Sustainable Seed Company's Grain Restoration Project.

Sample Sizes Only.   You will receive 50 seeds (that is double the number from 2011).  Please don’t ask for larger quantities because we do not have them. The idea is for as many people as possible to get started and grow your own reestablishing genetic diversity.  This allows many people to get samples instead of just a few and hopefully will preserve this cultivar. 

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Customer Reviews

  • Author: Andrew Moore
    I have grown this Burbank Hulless Barley for three seasons now. Beginning from the initial packet of seed (aprox a 72 cell flat worth), I harvested about 3/4 of a pint jar of seed. That doesn't seem like much until you hold about 72 seeds in your hand for comparison and realize its like 1000% more than you started with.
    The next season almost filled a quart jar. Last year I planted about half of my seed stock, but due the weather and perhaps planting style had very low yield.
    I find that if planted and cared for as a row crop these plants can far exceed the 4+ tiller count stated in the description. When I spaced the plants in a staggered double row 8" to 12" apart, mulched with straw, I had 10-20 tillers on most plants.
    Planting in a 3" grid pattern across an area 2x8 feet gave a decent yield, but the plants grew more as described with 2-4 tillers. They just seemed crowded.
    As a seed saver I noticed there is two harvest times for this barley at roughly 90 and 120 days. The first heads to form begin to dry out a few weeks before the later tiller heads. Its more labor intensive, but I get worried that the seed will begin to drop so I clip them all off at about 90 days. This amounts to about 1/4 of my overall harvest. Closer to 120 days the later tillers dry out and make viable seed.
    Did I mention that the jars of seed smell awesome? Has a wholesome, nutty, barley smell.... good for the soul.
    Overall a good cultivar, but give it some space and all the love you can spare and it will pay you back in kind.

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