Archive for 9th Year Hops
It took about a month to go from hop sprouts breaking ground, to 5 foot tall Magnum hop bines. On a warm sunny day, they easily grow six inches in a day now. Unfortunately, it is supposed to be unseasonably cold for the next 2 weeks, cloudy, raining and snow. Not very conducive to growing hops.
They will survive but growth will be slow during the below average temps (freezing temperatures some of the upcoming nights). These bines will reach the tops of there ropes – 13 to 15 feet tall.
If you notice the 2, foot tall bines against the wall, that is hops spreading via rhizomes. The rhizomes spread away from the crown at or usually just below the surface. They will set their own roots and become new hop crowns if I don’t dig them up.
I will dig them up, otherwise they will take over the yard. I just dig a circle about 18 inches in diameter around the main root stock or crown, then pull up the rhizomes on the outside of the circle. You have to do this every year or two.
The rhizomes and small bines can be planted where you wish. If you don’t need or want them, give them to friends, family, coworkers, local home brew clubs… Someone can use them. Maybe trade for some homebrew. IMPORTANT – make sure to label the variety if you have more than one – it can be difficult to tell them apart.
Just wrap the rhizomes in damp (not wet) paper towels and put them in plastic bags (labeled). If you need to store them for up to a week, place them in the refrigerator.
I top dressed the soil with compost and sprinkled Azomite (mineral fertilizer) to help feed these hops. I watered the area so the Azomite soaked into the compost and soil. I will do this a couple more times this year to feed and mulch out grass and weeds. I also use kelp and emulsified fish for fertilizer (organic).
My hops sprout about the first day of spring. Here in Minnesota, about latitude of 45 degrees, these hops are behind most of the readership’s of this blog. Today the temp peaked at 39 degrees fahrenheit. We have had a few days of 50’s and 60’s (prematurely warm, but now we are below normal temps) – again.
Traditionally I will spot hop sprouts about now. I think the latest I have seen them break ground was about April 15th. They almost always reach the rooftop (13 to 15 feet) by
June 1st. In the next 10 day forecast, only Tuesday 3/28 has any sunshine predicted. Not much growth until we get some sun.
This is the ninth year these hops have been alive. Left to right (look at previous posts), Nugget, Magnum and Cascade hops. Two bittering (high alpha acid) hops and one aroma hop plant (Humulus lupulus).
This is also the ninth year I have used the same ropes and pulley system. It might be the last as the ropes are showing exposure wear. I way over spec’ed the ropes by using 1/4 inch nylon rope with a tensile strength of about 500 pounds – way more than the hop bines they hold. The advantage is I only had to rig the pulley system once and I don’t need a ladder anymore (I don’t like heights). The pulleys are mounted on the underside of my garage roof eves. The ropes are tied to stakes in the ground, go up to the
pulley and back to tie cleats I have mounted on the garage wall. When it is harvest time I just lower the bines and pick the hop cones from the ground.
Sorry, not much to show so far but it’s a start to the 2017 hop growing season. I would love to hear how your hops are doing. If you haven’t started growing hops, order some hop plants or hop rhizomes from one of these vendors on my post: