Ancient Biblical, Egyptian, and Tibetan crop. Barley likes cool weather, but is forgiving of extreme weather and poor soil. In fact, barley grew in our parking lot from discarded seeds with no care and still developed dozens of fat seedheads. It is easily threshed and very nutritious. It has a shorter growing season than most other grains. Makes a fine, mild-flavored flour, porridge, soup or pilaf. Barley likes a neutral soil and will tolerate alkaline conditions, but gardeners with acid soil should lime well.
Hulless "Naked" Barley
This is the grain for gardeners, since threshing is so easy. There is no problem getting the grain separated from the hull, which wraps the grain tightly in most other cereal grains. These hulls are loose and come off easily with hand threshing.
Not the best type for growing to eat, because it must be hulled, which essentially requires machinery. However, we get requests for this from home brewers and from people who just want barley straw for killing algae in ponds. One pound bag, plants about 1000 square feet. Emmer (our dear departed office cat) liked to remind cutomers that this makes good cat grass, grown in a little pot indoors.