Archive for 7th Year Hops
to not allow the hops to be pollinated and form seeds in their cones. That is why female plants are grown for hops and if further propagation is desired, hop rhizomes are cut from the females to replicate as female hops. The rhizomes grow out from the crown just under the soil surface and hop sprouts will pop up and spread like crazy unless you keep them trimmed.
You might notice the haze in the picture (above the roof line). it is from 100+ Canadian wildfires currently burning. I suppose we should ban trees and lightning as they contribute to global warming – ok, enough venting on the eco-nazi’s.
The Cascade and Magnum Hops are forming burrs or the beginning of hop cones. They always precede the Nugget hops by 2 or so weeks (late bloomer). All 3 bines should be loaded with hop cones over the next 2 months.
We are finally getting some sunshine (though hazy the last couple of days). If this keeps up, I will have a “normal” harvest – the last couple have been weak. Late and cold springs have limited my hop harvests lately. I have been feeding these hops: top dressed compost I make myself, Azomite minerals and foliar feeding of fish emulsion with kelp and soil
“activators” (beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizae). It seems to have made up for less sunshine and cooler temperatures. The soil where these hops are planted was just fill/sand. I added homemade compost and composted manure to give it some nutrition and structure. I continually top dress the ground with new compost and kelp (and recently Azomite to provide even more minerals and trace minerals that supply every mineral need.
So far this growing season we are behind the norm on temperatures and sunshine. I can’t replace or
supplement the sunshine so I have been focusing on nutrients. I try to stay as organic as possible – my only intentional “non-organic” nutrient is a couple of Miracle-Gro foliar feedings (sprayed on the leaves rather than the soil). Foliar feeding gets the nutrient into the plant much faster than through the soil.
If you have read my posts from 2 – 3 years back, you know I did have a boron deficiency that almost killed my Magnum hops, 2 years in a row. There are different ways to treat or prevent this. Miracle-Gro has macro and micro nutrients including boron, iron, magnesium and zinc. There are some other foliar treatments that contain Boron. Plants require many micro-nutrients and it is best to them available for the entire season, not just when you notice the deficiency symptoms.
I top dress the soil with compost I make from leaves and grass. I have also been top dressing and foliar feeding with Azomite, kelp and fish emulsion. That pretty much covers any and every mineral required for health and growth be it macro-nutrient, micronutrient or required trace element. I also will treat the soil with compost tea and soil inoculants (beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizal mushroom mycelium).
Anyway, despite the less than optimum growing conditions so far this year, the supplementation seems to be working. Let me know how your hops are doing this year.
Due to lack of sunshine, my original prediction of May 15th as the day the hops would top out was actually May 19th. The Nugget hops topped out (13 ft) by the 15th, the Magnum (15 ft) and Cascade bines (13ft) came later. It has been colder than average (AGAIN), sure could use some of that global warming they keep blabbing about. Just hoping for a “normal” or a warmer than normal summer for a change (it has been many years).
Last night I painted the boards that form the peak that you see. As usual, I had to knock down a wasp honeycomb and wasps that was the start of a bee hive. I did it up on the ladder with the paint scraper, my head about 2 feet away. Maybe not the smartest thing to do, but I knock these down probably a dozen times a year before they become full fledged hives. They complicate harvesting when you have the thought you could be stung at any time.
The hops all look healthy. I have supplemented the soil with a top dressing of compost I make, Azomite (mineral supplement), fish emulsion/kelp fertilizer and 2 foliar feedings of Miracle Gro. They should be good for the rest of the growing season unless we get some massive rainfalls that leach out the soil nutrients (so far we are below normal rainfalls). I have watered the hops 3 times so far this year – they are well established and don’t require the almost daily watering when you first plant them.