Archive for Third Year Hops
Hops harvest 2011 was delayed a little due to our strange growing season this year. A cold wet spring, a wet hot summer and dry September made for some challenges. I believe all the rain led to leaching the soil which caused a boron deficiency for my Magnum hops. Luckily I diagnosed the boron deficiency just in time – sprayed the sickly hop bines just in time to save them. They did not reach the top of the rope as the bines were stunted to 10 feet. Some laterals managed to climb an additional 4 feet almost reaching the top (the center hop bines).
We harvested a total of 4.25 lbs between all 3 varieties. This year I trained 5 bines per rope. I think I will fall back to 3 bines per rope next year. I think they do better with 3 bines – not too crowded. I gave all my hops to my friend that has far surpassed my brewing abilities. This spring he took 2nd place for an American IPA using my magnum hops (see Award Winning Hops ). In return for the hops, I get to try many styles of beers and ales (he has over 100 batches under his belt).
Due to the issues I had this year, I am going to fortify the soil next spring with more compost(top dress), composted manure and
kelp. This should address any deficiencies. Notice the gigantic leaves mixed in the bines – especially the Nugget (closest)? Those huge leaves are a result of the Bonide Liquid Iron + micro-nutrients – containing: magnesium, boron, copper, iron, manganese, zinc. It seems they may have been deficient all along? Some of these leaves were 10 inches across! I will also give them another spraying of the Bonide product as I have some left. I try and stay as organic as possible – these are just minerals so I consider them still organic.
I get one or two of these conjoined hop cones each year. They are pretty cool looking and I look forward to finding them each year. It was pretty dark by the time we finnished harvesting as you can tell by this picture (with flash). Of course the friggen mosquitoes were eating us alive once it got dark. Luckily it didn’t take us much longer after dark to finish harvesting this years hops.
That’s it for this year. If I come up with any news or advice, I will post it. Otherwise we will see you next year. I hope everyone had a good year for hops. Feel free to update us with your comments on this post.
September 2011 hops update – approximately 2 weeks before harvest. The hop cones are getting big and plentiful. They are still wet and cool feeling when they are squeezed and do not compress much when squeezed – in other words they are still wet and not ready to harvest.
Hops should be fairly dried out on the bine before harvest. When they are dry (relatively speaking – they still require additional drying once harvested), you should be able to almost squeeze them flat without much resistance. They should feel “papery” and light and spring back to the size they were before you squeezed them.
This has been a weird growing season in the Minneapolis, Mn area where I am located. A cold, wet spring and hot, humid and wet summer. By the looks of the hop bines and cones compared to last year’s pictures, it will be a comparable hop cone harvest. Probably light on the Magnum hops due to the boron deficiency experienced earlier in the year (see previous posts).
3rd year hops mid-August update. This has been a challenging year for growing hops here in Minnesota (and probably most places). It started out with a cold spring, followed by a hot and humid summer and my brush with a boron deficiency.
As you can see, the Magnum hops shown to the left have recovered nicely. While the hop bines were stunted at 10 feet, some laterals decided to climb 4 feet higher. If you haven’t seen how bad off the Magnum hops were, go back a few posts or just click here –> Hops Boron Deficiency. They were just about dead. I am damn lucky I was able to revive them with a boron solution (after I finally determined thats what the problem was).
The Cascade and Magnum have a few small hop cones and are loaded with hop burrs. Same as the last 2 years, the Nugget are about 2 weeks behind the other 2 with burrs just starting. Unfortunately, it is hard to get a decent detailed picture posted without slowing down my blog. I will make it a point to get some close ups closer to harvest (and look into a beefier hosting solution – what do you expect for $8 a month – I host many other sites too).
No problems with deer. Rabbits munched a couple of hop sprouts when they were just starting out, but I had dozens of sprouts per plant so not an issue. I noticed quite a few Japanese beetles this year in my tomato garden. I have not seen any on my hops. Something has muched on some of the leaves but I haven’t seen who the culprit is yet. I am not worried as 90% of the leaves are untouched. I have learned to share a little in my organic gardening ways.
I tried something new and trained 5 or 6 bines per rope (I usually do 3 hop bines per rope). We will see what kind of harvest I get this year. Too many variables to really compare harvest amounts. Being third year hops, they should be near peak output. 3rd year hops, weather, deficiency issue, 5 -6 bines per rope – it will be hard to compare to last year’s harvest. We’ll see what happens.
With all the rain (above average) and humidity, I am surprised powdery
mildew hasn’t hit. I see it or a similar disease on the leaves of my Lilac bushes, affecting my cucumbers and tomatoes. I have slime mold oozing from the ground around my tomatoes. I guess I have been lucky as far as my hops go. Let’s hope I don’t have any more challenges with the hops between now and harvest time.
I hope you all are having a good hop year. I would like to hear from you how things are going with your hops. Any “challenges” or “opportunities” to deal with this year? Any tips or tricks that would help this audience out? Make a comment – link is right below the post title “3rd Year Hops Mid-August” (don’t use the “Contact Us” form as only I see those).