Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Trellis Finished and Cascade Already Climbing

I finally got around to finishing up the trellis this weekend, but I didn't end up modify the overall design from what I used last year. I decided that I still wanted to be able to move the plants (pot and trellis) to adjust for sunlight and in case of any hurricanes and any more elaborate trellis designs would need to be a permanent structure.

I added two more cross bars to each main trellis support and then criss-crossed the hop twine to the top. This provides about 14 feet of twine for the bines to grow on until they reach the top. At that point, I'll either need to pinch off the top of the bine or come up with some other workaround for extending the twine. The Cascade plant in the photo is already happily growing along the twine and has reach the first bend.

I also installed the drip irrigation system, but I still need to adjust the flow rate before I turn it on. I also need to buy some new and add a fresh layer to the top of the pots.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Neglected But Not Forgotten

I feel bad that I've been neglecting my hop plants and yet they're already doing so well. I really need to get the hop twine up as the Cascade is already in need of something to climb on. We've had enough rain lately that I haven't had to worry about watering, but I do need to get some good fertilizer on them and a new layer of mulch.

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Growth Already in the Second Year

I noticed some weeds starting to sprout in the hop pots at lunch and when I went to pull them out, I saw some hop sprouts already sticking up from the soil. I didn't even plant my rhizomes until March 28th last year and here it is only March 12 and I've already got first growth! Glad to see they made it through our "cold" Houston winter. I'll move the pots around the corner to the south side of the house this weekend so they can start getting more sun. I should probably give them some fertilizer too. It also means I definitely need to starting thinking about my trellis design for this year and weather I really want to plant more hops or not.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Beginning of March, Time to Prepare

It's the beginning of March and now is the time to start planning your hop growing season. If this is your first year at it, you need to begin thinking about what varieties to grow, how many rhizomes you want to plant, where to plant them, what type of trellis system you will use, etc, etc. If this isn't your first year, then its time to reflect on last years growing season and think about what worked and what didn't and if any changes are necessary for this year.

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.