First Year HopsBy
First year hops update. It has been 2 months since I planted the hop rhizomes. I figured it is time for an update (and a reason to visit the hop growing blog). When they were first growing, the Nugget and Magnum hops were significantly ahead of the Cascade hops (by about 50% in height). At the 2 month marker, the Nugget hops are 7 feet tall, the Magnum hops are 5 feet tall and the cascade hops passed the Magnum and is at 6 feet tall.
The Nugget hops are the tallest hop bines at this point in time (2 months). The Nugget bines do receive just a little bit more direct sunlight so I don’t consider this a fair race to the top. I have 2 bines sharing this rope and they are perfectly spaced and growing as a double helix (as are the other 2 hop plants).
My neighbor says he thinks the hops are cool. I was a bit worried about using the white rope as it sticks out like a sore thumb against my brown garage. White was not my first choice in color, I was actually looking for green but white was all they had. I did not have time to shop around so white it is.
The only fertilizer I have used is a little bone meal and blood meal. I am staying organic all the way with these hops. I will soon use some compost tea (as soon as my compost nears completion).
So far I have not had an issue with deer or rabbits eating my hops bines. I believe a rabbit got one of my nugget bines but that was before I had selected the 2 best bines to grow and I clipped the rest of the hop shoots. Since then the bines have been left alone.
I am looking at buying / using a soil inoculant as the soil on the side of my garage has been neglected forever. My wife’s peonies, surrounded by rock mulch has not seen much organic matter. I had to dig up rock and plastic to make holes for the hop plants. Last fall I dug down a foot and 2 feet in diameter. I mixed in grass, leaves and wood ashes to supplement the soil. There wasn’t much black dirt or topsoil so I added some with the organic materials. The hop bines seem to be doing ok for first year hops. I am looking at some beneficial ground bacteria and mycelium (mushroom type fungus) which helps the roots – root stalk / crown absorb nutrients from the soil.