Archive for Forth Year Hops
Hop burrs are taking over the hop bines again. The Hot weather had produced some early hop cones (far too early in the season), but the bines are now showing a normal hop burr explosion for this time of year. I was worried about this years hop harvest as I have not experienced such early hop cone production before.
Nature has a way of correcting or adapting itself for survival and has done it again. It is looking like another banner year for hops production. This is year 4 and other than another touch of a boron deficiency, the hops are healthy and trying to take over the side of my garage.
I have had to trim the hop rhizomes as hop sprouts were popping up 2 to 4 feet away from the crown. I have been constantly cutting new hop shoots and bines as I have all my 3 ropes can support (I over spected the ropes with nylon – they ropes can handle the weight, just not support healthy growth as 5 bines per rope is already pushing it – normally 3 bines per rope is optimal).
The weather here has cooled down and the hops seem to like it. Let’s see how this hot summer affects the hop harvest this year.
Still ahead of schedule with small hop cones on the Magnum hops and hop burrs on the Cascades. The Nugget bines are fuller with quite a bit more foliage but no burrs yet. The Nugget hops have traditionally trailed the other 2 varieties by at least 2 weeks so all is normal there.
We have had a lot of rain lately (not so much sun), but the hops are doing fine. We have had record rainfalls and I worry the soil will be leached of nutrients again (potential deficiencies again). I have a batch of compost about ready to top dress the soil again. All the rain washed most of the previous top dressed compost away.
I always get concerned about Downey mildew when it is wet for extended periods of time due to the rain and/or humidity. The 27th, it is supposed to be tropical here at 95 degrees and high humidity (heat index of 104). I have had issues with my tomatoes and cucumbers coming down with downey mildew – usually after most of the harvest so it isn’t as traumatic as losing a season of vegetables. Not sure what else I could rotate in to try and “fix” the soil of mildew. I do have a copper fungicide if it comes down to it.
I shot a video and will have it here in a day or two. I am new to making videos and will probably host it on Youtube. Give me a couple of days to do it right. Once I figure it out, I will be doing more videos and starting next year I can show all stages of growth from sprout to harvest. Maybe even get fancy with the editing and splice together and entire season in a fast moving video. I can show soil preparation, rhizome cutting, harvesting and other details. I’ll be back soon with the hop bine update video.
The hops are already starting to produce hop burrs. This is the earliest that has happened in the last 4 years of growing hops. Mild winter and early spring have advanced their progress this year. The first couple of years, the Cascade hops were the biggest, bulkiest hop bines. The last 2 years, the Nugget hops have become the biggest hop bines – at least earlier in the season.
Here is something to watch out for – hop bine intermingling. It is a real pain trying to separate different varieties of hop cones when the laterals have intermingled. That is why you keep a minimum of 5 feet between dissimilar hop varieties (doesn’t matter if they intermingle if they are the same variety). See the Cascade hops on the right and the Magnum hops on the left have wrapped around each other at the tops. I took a pole to separate them – I will have to keep an eye on these bines and stay on top of keeping them separated.
Here is a video I stumbled upon about growing hops. It’s pretty basic but gives you an idea on how to grow your own.