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Gardening Hops

Hop Yard

Hop Yard April 27, 2009
Hop Yard April 27, 2009

Last year I was listening to a pod cast called Home Brewing Perspectives.  The pod cast is hosted by Douglas and his friend “Mike The Hop Guy”.  They were talking about growing hops.  I figured that I should grow some hops as well.  We had installed a trellis on the south side of the house so we could grow some type of climbing plant to shade the house.  Hops fit this bill pretty well.  I remembered that my friend, Ron, in Idaho had some hops at his place.  I called Ron and asked if I could get some rhizome cuttings from him.  He told me that I was welcome to come to his place and see what we could find.  When I got there we were able to find some Chinnook rhizome clumps that the pigs hadn’t completely rooted out.  He gave me the clump and I headed home to get my hop yard tilled and prepped for the hops.  This was already pretty late for starting hops.  I think that it was about mid May.  As luck would have it, the weather took a turn for the worse and it began to rain before I had finished clearing my hop yard.  For nearly two weeks it rained enough to keep the ground too wet to work.  By the time I finally got my hops into the ground it was June.  Only four of the seven rhizome cuttings I planted survived.  I’m not sure how much help I had from the chickens.  They may have damaged some of the more tender rhizomes.

This year I dug some wild hop rhizomes from the south end of the valley.  I planted five new hop mounds to my existing four.  I almost can’t believe how much growth I have on my hops from last year.  A week ago, several of the plants were about three feet high.  So as I planted the new rhizomes I strung twine for the other plants and started the bines on their way up.

I am pretty excited to see how things work this year.

Dirk

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