Harvest Hops 2012 – Nugget HopsBy
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.