Root Rot

Healthy Barley Roots
Healthy Barley Roots

We’ve been growing out our own barley now for a few months.  In addition to reducing our food bill by 75% we’ve enjoyed watching the amazing process of transformation that a single grain of barley undergoes in only eight days.  Most mornings I harvest about 30+ pounds of good, healthy barley (I only “planted” about 4 pounds).  However, some days the harvest isn’t so great.  Why?  Root rot.

Root rot can occur if the barley isn’t properly prepared.  I soak the grains overnight in two gallons of water with two tablespoons of bleach.  The water brings the grain to life and the bleach purifies it.  If I soak it too long or forget the bleach then the fermentation process or mold can set it in and kill the roots.  Root rot.

Root rot also takes place when there isn’t enough fresh water coming through, or too much water coming through.  You have to find the right balance.  Not enough water and the roots dry out.  Too much water and the roots become mush.  Root rot.

Root rot can also be caused by a rise in temperature.  If the room gets too hot then the fermentation process begins and instead of barley fodder you get barley beer, and not the drinkable kind.  Root rot.

The one sure sign of root rot is not the look of the fodder, or the length of the barley.  In fact, it often looks lush and green even when the roots are rotten.  I’m sure if we let it continue to grow it would all rot out.  No, the main sign is the pungent odor.  Nothing says root rot like rotting barley-cucumber-beer … that’s what it smells like.

Some of us suffer from root rot.  And we stink to those around us.  Maybe we don’t properly prepare through prayer, time in the word, and other means of grace.  Maybe we still have some impurities that need cleansed, like old habits, addictions, or self-deceptions.  Maybe some of us are rotting because we don’t come to the well of Christian fellowship and draw enough water.  Still, some of us are rotting because that’s all we do, hang out with Christians.  But I think perhaps the biggest reason we are rotting is because the temperature is too hot.  Nothing gets the blood flowing like unresolved conflict, misguided assumptions, judged motives, and unwillingness to forgive.  Root rot.

The good news is that Jesus is a pretty good gardener and can help us out if we’re willing to let him.


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