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.