Archive for 6th Year Hops
The hop sprouts have sprung. We have a later start this year. Six days ago we had 8 inches of snow, thankfully it didn’t stick around long. This has been a winter from hell for us – Minnesota. It has been colder and snowier than normal. I was starting to wonder if it would ever warm up. We had our first 70 degree day in six months yesterday. Starting this Sunday, it looks like another week of high 40’s to low 50 degree temps. There is still hope for a summer here.
This is hops growing season number 6. I have had a few challenges over the years from “abnormal” weather to a boron deficiency that almost killed my Magnum hop plant (2 years in a row). Luckily, the second occurrence, I knew what it was and treated it before it damaged the bines too bad. I had found a spray with boron in it to treat the condition. I couldn’t find any 20 Mule Team Borax – I have been told that is a good source of boron also.
These sprouts are few and small. Shortly there will be several dozen per hop crown and I will have to thin them out to 3 to 5 per rope. You can eat the sprouts, they are kind of like asparagus – try it, I have. You can eat the sprouts, make a calming tea from the cones or a relaxing hop pillow, a hop wreath and of course – make beer and ale! What a wonderful plant! Hops make a great cover for gazebos, arbors, privacy fence over 20 feet tall if you let them.
Eighteen to 20 feet is optimal for most varieties, but they will take what you give them. It is best to harvest them from the ground so have a plan as to how you will do that. Harvesting on a ladder is dangerous and near impossible. Either cut them down and harvest or use a pulley system like I do. I have also used hooks and eyelet screws to thread ropes from the ground to a high point on my house or garage and back towards the ground to tie off (tie cleats work good). Here is how I rig hop bines. If you are already growing hops, let me know how they are doing. Hop on!