Hop Garden Update

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The last time I wrote about my hop growing was in late May. At the time I believe I said I was going to be done trimming them and was ready to let them grow. That didn’t prove to be completely true.

I stopped trimming them off at the base but continued trimming the tops and extra off shoots for a few more weeks in an attempt to keep them from climbing too quickly and overtaking the small area I have for them. That did not prove to work, but I can’t imagine how big they’d be now had I not done it.

To catch you up, I planted one rhizome each of Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, Mount Hood, Nugget and Willamette hops last year. The Columbus never came up, so I put Goldings in its place this year. The Goldings never came up either, but everything else is back and much bigger than last year. The Centennial and Nugget are the two wildest growers, Centennial being the winner.

Since the Centennial is next to the vacant line meant for the Goldings, I am trying to train it down. That isn’t taking very well and it is instead trying to keep going and may meet up with Mount Hood. By that point, Nugget will probably be there waiting for the party.

Yes, there is a tone of bine growth, but to this point, there are not cones. I would expect to see them in the next few weeks. I’m hoping to get enough to brew a five gallon batch of beer between the five plants. That will require at least a pound of wet hops, keeping in mind that they weigh about five times as much as the dried hops usually used in brewing. I could use store bought hops for bittering and just load all the wet hops in at the end, if that is necessary. We’ll see how it goes.

Other than the constant trimming and training of new growth, the only issue I’ve had was broken twine. When I got back from spending the holiday at the cabin, the top line running between all the hops was broken in the middle and the plants were sagging. I tied on some new twine and re-stapled it to the post. I guess I need to find something heavier duty next year. I was very nervous when I saw this, but after re-stringing it, nothing seems to be damaged.

20140711-104638-38798513.jpgSpeaking of the cabin, you may remember that I started a second hop yard this year. I planted two Cascade rhizomes at my family cabin in Sullivan County in mid-May. That is pretty late to be planting hops and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Last weekend over the holiday was the first time I’ve been back to check on them. Both rhizomes had sprouted, but the plants were very small. I was hoping to be able to start training them, one on a trellis that has been installed but unused for years and the other on a fence under which it was planted. They were not big enough to really do this, but I’m happy to see that they’ve sprouted at all. I’m not expecting to get any hops from them this year, but if they just grow some bines and establish themselves a bit, maybe next year they can produce a few cones.20140711-104639-38799459.jpg

The plant under the trellis in front of the cabin looked like something was chewing it. I didn’t think this was an issue, but some quick internet searching tells me that rabbits are likely the culprits. Whatever attacked it didn’t seem to like what it found. There was a piece of bine chewed off and dropped and a second bine that was untouched.20140711-104638-38798916.jpg

I will update again once I get some cones and have a better idea of what kind of harvest to expect so I can plan a brew. Or whenever I get back to the cabin for those Cascade plants.

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