Archive for Forth Year Hops
September 15th, 2012 I harvested the Nugget hops. I have been too busy to write about it until now. What appeared to be a decent hop cone harvest turned out to be about half of what I expected. This was a challenging growing season that started early then turned to a cool, wet spring. When summer kicked in we had twice as many 90+ degree days than average and a couple 100 plus degree days, The month of August and September were almost a record for lack of rainfall. All this contributed to a strange season.
The Cascade’s had an ok 2 pound harvest with a dry weight of 12 ounces. The Nugget bines appeared to have plenty of cones (smaller than previous years) but after harvest I ended up with just a pound of hops – 5 ounces dry weight. The Magnum weren’t worth my time to harvest this year. The Magnum had cones about 2 months early, not enough to harvest then a second flush of hop cones but again, not worth harvesting – maybe I would have ended up with 2 ounces dry.
We have had several subfreezing temps, but the bines are still alive (don’t look the best) but still gathering energy from the sun for next year’s growth. I am waiting for the bines to die off, then I will cut them off just above ground, cover with a layer of compost and leaves and grass clippings to insulate them from sub zero temps this winter. Note – never use clippings that have had weed killer or fertilizer applied to the grass – at least for a couple of mowings.
Unfortunately this year’s harvest was about half of what it should have been and the Magnums were a bust. Well that is nature, maybe it had something to do with something I did or didn’t do also. I was away for a week in July and hard to say for sure if they got watered sufficiently(wife) – they looked ok when I returned. My tomatoes produced about half that of previous years also, so I am leaning towards it being the growing season’s fault. Although a friend of mine did ok this year with his hops about 20 miles from here. There you have it, another growing season done. Just like fine wine, not every year is a good one. I hope the rest of you had a great harvest this year – leave a comment and let me know how you did.
September 8th, 2012 I harvested the cascade hops. I ended up with 2 pounds of wet hops – not really wet, just not dried off the bine. I
dried them on a screen under a ceiling fan in an air conditioned house (low humidity). I ended up with 12 ounces dry. Past experience has been about a 75% reduction in weight from just picked wet to dry. These must have been fairly dry on the bine compared to other years. If that ratio held true this year, I would have ended up with 8 ounces of dried hops.
This year had an early start then a cold wet stretch, then a hot dry summer. That probably accounted for the majority of hops being smaller in size. Anyway, not a bad harvest from one plant (5 bines allowed to climb the rope). The hops are very aromatic – smells great! We’ll see how they impart their talents to an IPA or maybe an Imperial something – so many possibilities.
This weekend I should harvest the Magnum followed by the Nugget hops. I do not have as many Magnum this year as they came through in two flushes of cones (unusual). The first flush was smaller and they are past their prime. It wasn’t worth the effort of harvesting them for that amount of cones. Hopefully the remaining ones will be enough for at least one batch of beer or ale. The Nugget look a little lighter in yield from previous years – we’ll see once I pick them.
Next update in about a week. I also shot some video I still have to piece together and post. Hope everyone else is having a great harvest this year. Leave a comment how you’re hops are doing or did this year. Anyway, Not a bad Cascade harvest.
The Cascade hops are full of hop cones. They are still growing in size, most are about an inch long and will vary from one to three inches in length when ready for harvest. The Magnum cones are are not as many as years past. This weird growing season has affected them bigtime. Maybe more cones will form yet, we’ll see. The Nugget are loaded with hop burrs and small spikey cones, they will be full grown in 2 to three weeks.