Archive for grow hops
A little information on virus and disease free hops. Generally you do not need to worry about virus and disease free hops. If a hop rhizome or hop plant vendor sold a diseased product, how long do you think it would take in today’s connected world for word to get out? There is an actual disease free / virus free hops product out there, but they only come from the Pacific northwest – Oregon and Washington states – nowhere else at the present time to my knowledge. These VF (virus Free) plants are certified by Washington State University.
Hops, like any other plant are susceptible to viral, bacterial and fungal diseases as well as pests and nutritional (to the plant) deficiencies. Here is a list of hops diseases. If you chose to buy a virus free varietal, make sure it has documentation to back it up. Some unscrupulous vendors have been claiming their hop plants to be disease and virus free because they are created from cuttings as opposed to rhizomes – THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DISEASE FREE PLANTS. Below is an excerpt from an actual hop farmer who knows what he is talking about.
For those of you with questions regarding potted hops. We have noticed some people are selling potted hops as virus and disease free. They have claimed that the plant is virus and disease free because it comes from a cutting and not from a rhizome. That is not true. You see, the diseases that they are talking about are systemic. This means it is and will be all throughtout the plant or as stated in the dictionary: Systemic = “Relating to or affecting the entire body or an entire organism”. Always. So any new growth will have these diseases. Namely hop stunt viroid (HSV), powdery mildew, and vert wilt.
If the claim is that the cutting is virus and disease free then it has had to come from a plant that was certified virus free(VF). The only people in the country offering those, to my knowledge, is the Washington State University Hop clean program. And these have only been offered to individuals in the Pacific Northwest.
The other consideration is the fact that almost all of the propagated varieties come from the northwest. Many of them from the Oregon State, and Washington State Universities hop programs. I know the OSU Hop program has been developing varietals at least since the 1960’s. So i’m wondering. Where did these people get their plants from? Almost certainly from rhizome stock. And guaranteed from the northwest.
Buyer beware. Ask for proof of VF lineage.
In conclusion, don’t be fooled by individuals selling hops as “clean and virus free.” And certainly anything that is “certified” will have paperwork. Don’t be afraid to ask.
The Nugget hops were ready to harvest 15 days after the Cascade and Magnum hops. A hop yield of 1.3 pounds. Thirty percent more than the Magnum hop harvest, less than the 1.8 pounds of Cascade hops. I harvested the Nugget hops September 10th, the other hops August 25th.
Not a bad harvest for first year hop plants. Next year should yield significantly more hop cones as the hop rhizomes planted have become sizable crowns / root stocks from the photosynthesis and organic nutrients from this year.
An essential ingredient for beers and ales, these hop cones will make an excellent IPA (India Pale Ale). Nugget hops are for bittering with a high IBU (International Bittering Unit) measurement. I will use my Cascade hops for aroma to complete the IPA experience.
Shown here is the yellow lupulin of the Nugget hop cone – the active ingredient of the hop. Although known for their bittering effect and not as an aroma hop, the Nugget hop aroma is exquisite.
If you are a homebrewer and live where you can grow hops (between 30th and 50 parallels), you have to do this. Hops are an amazing fast growing plant and fun to watch grow. Hops have been scarce in recent times so be self sufficient and grow your own hops! Growing hops will complete the beer making experience and camaraderie of home brewing.
A hop garden is mesmerizing to watch grow. Each day there is new growth and never a boring watch. You will find yourself checking them every day, it is that addicting. Although these hops bines have topped out their trellises, they are now spreading lateral shoots out from the hop bines and growing wider. I call these guys the 3 amigos – Nugget, Magnum and Cascade.
These hop plants are also starting to flower. It starts with the hop burrs or florets. The burrs or florets are comprised of spiny looking styles. This is when the female hop flowers are receptive to hops pollen. As the hop flower matures the styles will fall off.
The flowers fill in with petals and lupulin glands becoming hop cones. They look like green pine cones. Some hops are round and some hop cones are long depending on the hop variety. Hop Cones are the harvest we are after (unless grown for shade / cover). You can expect from 1/2 to 2 pounds of dried hops per plant (after a couple of years). First year hops expend a lot of energy on establishing the crown or root system.
As you can see here, hops like to go high. The Magnum hop bine is 15 feet tall. The cascade and Nugget bines are over 20 feet tall. You can’t see it in the above photo but there are hop bines looped around hose hangers (an experiment in bine height with limited vertical real estate – see some other posts on this blog and you will see it).
Start planning your hop garden now for next year. Select a site, work the soil – dig at least a foot down and 2 feet in diameter. Amend the soil with compost and other organic material – grass, leaves… make sure it is mostly soil and organic material is well mixed with the soil. Figure how you will rig the hop bines (to a pole, a deck, up the side of a building… you have til next spring to actually worry about it). Start reading up on growing hops and you will be well on your way to a successful hop garden.