Hop harvest 2010 – mostly second year hops, with the addition of a first year Fuggle container hop plant (from rhizome). We harvested Sunday September 5th (Labor Day weekend). The above picture is half a grocery bag full of Cascade hop cones. We did not weigh them wet (freshly picked) but I will update the post with the dry weight. A friend of mine is drying them and going to use them in his home brews. I donated them to him as he has far surpassed my brewing abilities.
Above are, left to right: second year Nugget, Magnum and Cascade hops. I have not harvested the Nugget hops yet, they were not quite ready. People keep asking when to harvest so here is the general rule: when they feel papery and squeeze easily and bounce back – they are ready. If they feel moist and do not squeeze easily, they are not ready. You will often see some brown edges on the hops when they are ready to pick also. You may find that not all of the hops seem ready even on the same bine. Up to you if you leave them for later or pick them all. I have my bines on pulleys so I hoist them back up and have a second, smaller harvest a week or 2 later.
Above are the three hop cone varieties we picked in a side by side picture. The Magnum is noticeably lighter in color. They are hard to distinguish apart as most of the cones are fairly round. The Cascade pictured above is one of the longer cones, but all 3 varieties are mostly round with some longer than others. When they are in the bags, they are tough to tell apart. Each of the 3 hop varieties has it’s own aroma. Similar, but distinct per variety. The Fuggle and Cascade hops are aroma varieties and the Magnum is a bittering hop.
Here is a pic of a conjoined hop cone. I have only seen 2 of these in a couple of years growing hops.
I will add the Nugget harvest pictures and hopefully all the dried hop weights when I finish harvesting. First year hops are amazing to watch grow, but second year hops are over the top. If you are not growing hops, you should be. Whether for brewing beers and ales, privacy, covering arbors, fences or pergolas, calming teas or sleep pillows – there are many uses for hops (and excuses for growing them).
Until the next update, grow hops – cheers!
August 1st hops update. The Cascade hops are mostly hop cones with a lesser amount of hop burrs. The Magnum are smaller cones and more hop burrs than the Cascade right now. Hop harvest will be in about a month I think.
Last year the Cascade and Magnum hops were ready to harvest at the same time. At this point, the Magnum are trailing the Cascade. I would rather harvest them separately anyway – it’s a lot of work.
The Nugget hops are barely hop burrs at this point. They trailed the other hops by 2 weeks last year so no surprise there. I am anxious to see how much more my hop harvest will be this year. I am hoping for double last year’s.
Pictured below is my 1st year container Fuggle hops and my second year hops. Left to right they are Fuggle, Nugget, Magnum and Cascade. Maybe one more update before harvest if I have time. So far, so good!
Fuggle container hops reached almost 15 feet tall.
This is my first Fuggle variety and my first container hop. (I lost a Mt. Hood container hop plant to 50 MPH winds) I have it in a 20 inch diameter, 16 inch deep pot. It appears to support vertical growth, we will see if it has enough volume to fill out and support abundant hop cones aka strobiles. I wanted to connect the pulley to the underside on my roof (18 feet) but my ladder was only 14 feet and I am afraid of heights. I was on the third rung of the ladder from the top and hanging on for dear life. So the best I could do was 15 feet into the corner trim.
Maybe next year I will get a taller ladder and go to the roof. I really want to see what the best height is for hops production. I am guessing it is at least 18 feet tall as that is what many commercial growers use. I have also read that some varieties produce more hop cones or strobiles if you keep the bines under 15 feet. Unfortunately, they didn’t mention which varieties.
I used a mixture of top soil, compost and composted manure. I am hoping this will supply the nutrition needed for one years growth. I mulched the top of the soil with grass clippings to retain moisture and keep the soil from baking. The soil may get some additional nutrition as the grass clippings break down. These are first year hops and are doing well. The wooden trellis next to the hops is my cucumbers. They are not doing nearly as good as the hops.
Living in Minnesota, I will have to protect the crown / root stock from our down to 30 below temps in the winter. I do not have an insulated garage or root cellar so I will have to insulate the container with leaves or bags of leaves. I will have to do some more research and see if I will be able to keep this plant in the same container or have to move it to a larger container or put it in the ground. I would think that because hop root stocks can grow to fifteen feet, that it would become root bound. I have heard of others that had their container hops roots come out the bottom of the container and into the ground.
Not certain if the spiney hop burrs will show in this pic on the post. They are pretty small and I will post a close up of the burrs when they are more abundant. I also wanted to show the lateral growth since the last post. These 3 are second year hops and should produce quite nicely. What I have read is they peak during the 3rd year so I am looking forward to next year to see how much better they will do.
The Cascades actually wrapped across the 2 ropes between them (used for lowering and raising the bines) and the Magnum hops and are intermingling a little. I will have to be sure to separate them during harvest. They are filling out quite nicely and I am expecting a lot more hop cones than last years 4 pounds.
That’s where things stand today – June 26, 2010. Hop on!