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    The Cascade and Magnum hops are getting close to harvest time.  My Nugget hops are

    Hop cones getting close to harvest time.

    Hop Cones Galore

    always 2 weeks behind the other two.  This has been a crazy season.  It has been hot, it has been cold, it has rained like crazy.  The lakes and ponds are all at high levels with our abundance of rain.  The mosquitoes and mushrooms are doing well also.

    With all this rain comes a leeching of nutrients from the soil.  I don’t use chemical fertilizers on my hops other than a couple of foliar feedings with Miracle-Gro.  The rest is top dressing the soil with my homemade compost and sprinkling of some Azomite minerals on the ground.  Compost is a slow releaser of nutrients and doesn’t leech out of the soil like chemical fertilizers do (I don’t like chemicals in my food, the soil or the water table for obvious reasons).

    Three varieties of hops bines, Nugget, Magnum and Cascade.

    Nugget Magnum Cascade Hops

    I have yet to have a pest problem in 9 years and I attribute that to an organic upbringing.  Some of the leaves show wear and tear.  There are some signs of insects munching on the leaves, holes from hail, but not enough to damage or hinder the hop bines.  There are some Japanese beetles around but they do not seem to be attracted to my hops.

    Hop Harvest

    I will likely be harvesting the Cascade and Magnum hop bines next weekend, weather permitting.  It is supposed to rain all day Saturday and half of Sunday this weekend (plus they are still wet from rain.  The hop cones are not quite ready anyway – they fail the squeeze test.  The squeeze test is used to determine if they are ready to harvest.  When the majority of cones squeeze almost flat, feel papery and bounce back to almost the orriginal size, they are ready to harvest.  If they are not ready, they will not squeeze flat, they will feel moist and possibly cool from moisture content.

    Drying Hop Cones

    After you harvest the hop cones, you can use immediately as a “fresh hop” also known as “wet hopping”.  Otherwise they must be dried or they will spoil – get moldy…  I place the hop cones on screens, single layer and place under a ceiling fan in my air conditioned (dry air) basement.  If you don’t have a ceiling fan, use a regular fan to ensure airflow to aid drying.

    Categories : 9th Year Hops
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