Archive for 9th Year Hops

    May
    21

    Hop Bines all Top Out

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    Nugget, Magnum and Cascade hop bines top out.

    Nugget, Magnum and Cascade Bines Topped out

    My hop bine progress has not been reported timely and I apologize for that.  I am a couple days behind the hops all topping their ropes.  I have been pre-occupied with my mother’s passing and a dental issue (lasted 2 weeks ending with an extremely painful extraction), TV died and an auto breakdown…   Other than that, things are great (mostly, just heard my wife’s grandmother passed today – she is/was a wonderful individual).   These issues have distracted me from my timely reporting of the hop’s progress.  Just giving some perspective to the gaps in posting.

    Anyway, enough excuses, I am posting that all 3 hop varieties have topped their ropes today (Cascade  hop bines being the last to top out).  So far it has been a varied season.  Several days above average temps, several days below average temps and currently cold and cloudy.

    The Magnum and Nugget bines (the first to top out about a week ago) are sending out lateral growth (branches/filling out).  Hopefully we will get back to normal temps and sunshine so the hops can flourish.  It has been raining and way below average temps for a week straight now and the hops and me could use some sunshine.  I will need to fertilize again as the 6+ inches of rain this last week probably leached some nutrients from the ground.

     



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    Magnum hop bines reach 5 feet tall in a month.

    Magnum Hop Bines Reach 5 Feet Tall in 1 Month

    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).

     

    Top dressed the soil with compost and Azomite.

    Top Dressed With Compost + Azomite

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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    Cascade hop sprouts.

    First Showing Cascade Hop Sprouts

    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

    Magnum hop sprouts first day of spring.

    First Magnum Hop Sprouts

    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

    A single Nugget sprout, so far.

    Single Nugget Sprout

    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:

    Where to Buy Hop Rhizomes



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