Archive for 9th Year Hops

    A lot has happened since the last post.  We finally got some warm temps and sunshine (my tomatoes are

    Nugget, Magnum and Cascade hop bines branching out.

    June 10th Hops & Sunshine = Good

    happy too!).  The hops are bushing out, sending out laterals (branches).  Some of the leaves are a foot across.  I have hit them twice with Miracle Gro foliar fertilizer, twice with Azomite mineral complex and once with fish emulsion.  The hops are healthy!

    Pulling Hop Rhizomes

    Also had to cut and pull up the hop rhizomes that were spreading.  I have 3 varieties of hops in a relative close proximity to each other.  You want to keep the bines, one variety per rope.  Trimming rhizomes is easy, just cut a circle around the hop crown (say 12 inch radius from the center of the root stock / crown).  Then just pull up the rhizomes that grow outwards from the circle you cut.  I use a spade shovel and a knife to cut the rhizomes.  then just pull them up, they are shallow, a couple inches deep at most, sometimes on top of the soil.  You can plant these rhizomes or give them to friends to plant if you want.

    On top of the potential rhizome mixing of hop varieties,  The branches reach across and if left alone, will intermingle bines (mixed hop cones).  You want to keep varieties separated so you have a known product to work with.  Especially don’t want aroma hops and bittering hops to mingle – they have different purposes.  You might end up with a fantastic beer or ale, but you will never be able to replicate it because of the unknown quantities of each variety.

    Strip bottom Leaves for Airflow and Health

    I finally got around to stripping the bottom 2 & 1/2 to 3 feet of leaves (see pic).  I should have done this earlier.  This prevents soil borne viruses, bacteria, funguses, mold and mildew from splashing up on the leaves and sometimes spreading disease.  It is much better to prevent disease than try and deal with it once it has affected your bines.  On top of preventing soil splash, it also helps with airflow.  Airflow is necessary to prevent mold and mildews from growing on your bines.  Those are my wife’s Peonies between bines.  They were there before the hops (hops are 9 years old now).

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    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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