Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Monday, August 23, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
The cascade plant is continuing its growth spurt with the nugget not really doing much at all.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Most of the bines on the Cascade plant have recently gone through a big growth spurt. After a couple of weeks of very little growth, a few of bines have now reach the end of the twine. I've also picked a handful of hop cones that looked and felt like they were ready. I dried them inside and then sealed them in an airtight bag the freezer.
I haven't seen the same growth spurt of the bines on the Nugget, but it is starting to grow more sidearms which is what it did last year. The hop cones developed in cluster off the sidearms unlike the Cascade that just grow along the entire length of the bine. There are a few hop cones that have developed, but nothing really working picking yet.
The temperatures are now regularly getting into the 90's during the day with the heat index climbing over 100 a few times. In other words, I think its time to move the plants around the corner to the East side of the house so that they're in the shade during the hottest time of the day. They'll get the morning sun until about one o'clock when they'll fall into the shade of the house.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
I also adjusted the twine at the top of the trellis to try and give the Cascade bine more room to grow. The bine now goes horizontally across the top cross-bar and then back diagonally to the top. I guess when I reaches the top again, I'll just make it grow back down the other side. I could also just extend the pole a few more feet and add on some more cross bars which is what I may end up having to do.
Friday, April 30, 2010
More hop cones are continuing to develop on the Cascade and the existing ones are getting quite large. Some of the bines on the Nugget are starting to grow side arms now which will lead to hop cones as well.
While doing my daily check of the plants, I found a few of these little pests on some of the leaves. I noticed small holes starting to develop in some of the leaves and this explains why. I must have killed at least a dozen of them today, but they're hard to find since they're on the underside of the leaves. They're voracious eaters and grow quickly. They also turn green as they grow larger making them even harder to spot on the leaves.
Monday, April 26, 2010
The photo to the right was taken from top of the pot looking up the pole of the trellis. From underneath, you can really see how the bines have wrapped around the twine and each other as they've grown.
I've done a lot of reading about growing hops and frequently browse a couple of online hop growing forums. Some of the posts I've read suggest that all growth up to now should be cut down to the ground to make the plant start over again. The reasoning behind this seems to be that hops that develop early in the season will have a "grassy" flavour to them, possibly caused by the heat. Making the plants start over will ensure the hops develop later in the season. However, that seems to be more of an opinion with was just as many that disagreed with it. So, since this is only my second year growing them and I only have two plants, I'm going to just let them grow and harvest the cones as they become available. Eventually, I'd like to have few more hop plants and then I can actually experiment with them and get a better idea of what works and what doesn't for growing hops down here in Texas.
I've continued to monitor the wetness of the soil and adjusted the watering schedule accordingly. I like the soil to get fairly dry between waterings, but not enough to make the plant wilt. I also fertilized both plants with some liquid Miracle Grow fertilizer.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
The temperatures have been in the high 70's during the day with plenty of sunshine which the plants obviously like. They're currently getting watered every second day to allow the soil to dry out which will get adjusted as the daytime temperatures increase.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Quite the tangled mess. I had a feeling that's what it would look like when I got back with no one around to train the bines onto the twine. One of the bines from the Cascade plant had crossed over and started growing up the twine on the Nugget pot. Bines are braided together as they climbed each other and others are wrapped around the support pole. Quite a lot of growth for only five days. I'll have a bit of work to do this afternoon to untangle the mess and figure out which bines to keep and get them wrapped around the twine. The rest of the bines will be cut off so the plant can concentrate on growing the main bines. I'll probably keep four to six bines per plant (two to three per twine) and cut back the rest.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Last year was my first attempt and I would consider it to be pretty succesfull. Although I didn't get enough hop cones for a full batch of beer, both plants did very well and both produced a pretty good amount for a first year. I need to start think about the trellis design that I'm using and if there are any changes that I'd like to make to it. I like the overall concept that I'm using now as it allows for the entire plant (pot and trellis) to be moved and relocated as the summer heat and sun increases and in case of hurricanes. I'm also considering planting one or two more rhizomes this year.
The Brew Your Own Magazine website has a list of shops that sell hop rhizomes and some are already taking orders. Check out the list here.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The ground soil is terrible here and our yard does not have very good drainage. I knew hop plants need a lot of direct sunlight, but I had a feeling they would need some shade during the hottest parts of the summer. That was true more then ever this past summer as it was the hottest and driest summer ever for the first half and then almost constant rain for the second half. Growing hops in pots seemed like the best option as it allowed me to provide good soil with adequate drainage and the ability to move the plants to different areas of the yard to adjust for sunlight.
Monitoring the soil conditions turned out to be a lot more crucial then I had anticipated. Although I thought I had drilled enough drain holes in the pots, it apparently wasn't as the soil started to remain too wet in the lower half of the pots which started to affect the plants. I was able to remedy that by simply drilling more holes and purchasing an inexpensive soil moisture meter allowed me to check the moisture at different levels in the pots and adjust the drip irrigation system.
The types, amounts and frequency of fertilizer and nutrients to provide is almost impossible to determine. Most of the information I found online was very vague and often contradicted information that I found elsewhere. Arguments would almost break out over it on one of the hop growing forums that I would check often. Basically, the growing conditions for everyone will be different, so there's not going to be any blanket advice that covers all options. I just watched the plants and tried to adequately adjust the water, light and nutrients as the plants grew.
Once the hops starting to grow, they really took off fast. A lot faster and longer then I anticipated. I ended up modifying the original hop trellis design by Chris Colby as I didn't like the idea of the loose bines hanging on the ground and flapping around in the wind. I'll definitely give some thought to the trellis design this winter and see how I can improve on it.
Overall I'd have to say that the first year of my first attempt to grow hops was quite successful as I did get hops from both plants (although not enough for a batch of beer). The fact that I got any was a great sign that I did something right. Most hop plants don't produce very many hop cones (if at all) the first year and given the weather conditions that I had to contend with, I consider myself lucky that I got what I did.
The bines are almost completely dead now and I'll probably cut them off at the surface level this weekend. This will probably be the last post for this season. I'll start posting again as I begin preparations for next season.
I've received a few email messages from readers asking questions and I'm happy to continue to reply to any email messages that I receive.