Magnum Hop Bines Top OutBy
Magnum hops top out (15 feet tall) May 12th – six days after the Nugget hops did (at 13 feet). The Cascade hops reached the top (13 feet tall) May 10th. They are,
left to right – Nugget, Magnum and Cascade hop bines. This is year 4 and with a mild winter and early spring, it is the earliest the hops have topped out so far. At this rate, assuming good weather, it should be the earliest hop cone harvest yet. My magnum hops were used in a second place entry for American IPA in the 2011 Upper Mississippi Mash-Out.
I am about to top dress the soil with more compost to slow feed steady (organic) nutrients for this growing season. I have been cutting back the ever appearing hop shoots as I have 5 bines of each type climbing each rope. 3 bines is plenty per rope but I like extra insurance. I already lost one of the Cascade bines – it was bent and hanging down after a thunderstorm with high winds. I had earlier spread bone meal, blood meal and kelp on the soil around the bines for micro and macro-nutrients.
Magnum Hops Comeback
Last year the Magnum hops did not reach the top due to a boron deficiency that almost killed the hop plant. The tips of the bines died and vertical growth was stopped – other than some laterals that climbed almost to the top. Looks like I should have a full harvest this year as they made it to the top and now just have to fill out.
Apparently my soil needs some help as I was experiencing another deficiency this year. The soil where these hops are planted was not much top soil. The fall before I planted the hop rhizomes, I had dug down a foot and about 2 feet in diameter and mixed in some compost, grass clippings and leaves. That worked for 2 years and then apparently was depleted of nutrients (at least boron). Since then, I have been trying to stay on top of it with organically supplementing the soil (top dressing as I don’t want to injure the hop crown).
I found this picture which illustrates the prime hop growing regions of the world – both northern and southern hemispheres. The blue bands are 35 to 55 degrees latitude which is prime. Hops can be grown outside of these bands, depending on micro climates, shading…