Posts Tagged ‘home grown hops’

2013 Home Grown Hops Update

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
Centennial hop plant: RIP

Centennial hop plant: RIP

This year has been a stark contrast from the weather of 2012. Last year it was hot, dry and often. This year has only seen a few hot days and even fewer humidity ridden days. The plants have never been starved for water (rain barrel is always full from the frequent rains, down pours and monsoons) but they have never really hit that growth stride prodded by long days of sunlight and heat.

Each of my three plans (Centennial, Mount Hood and Cascade) have had their bouts of trouble. The Centennial and Mount Hood had all three of the main bines nipped during a wind storm a month ago. The Mount Hood has been recovering nicely while the Centennial just is sputtering. The Cascade doesn’t get the same amount of direct sun as the other two and only shot up two bines. One tip was nipped while the other continues to grow and, overall, is the tallest of any bine between the three plants.

The Centennial has had buds already form with many cones formed, some almost full size. All this in spite of being nine feet tall. The Mount Hood is getting bushy, looks really healthy, preparing me for a what I believe will be a great harvest. The Cascade is in it’s first full year in my yard (rescued from Chuck’s hard pan soil of 2012) and will produce mildly at best.

Now the sad news. While chasing a rabbit away from the garden (destroyed the broccoli), I took a quick glance at the hop plants (a daily ritual). I quickly noticed that the Centennial was limp. Crap! A few days earlier I noticed that the rope I used had been severed from an earlier storm at the base of the plant. The plant was only held to the grown via the bines. Fast forward to yesterday: another windy storm hit, cutting all three bines, cleanly, at the base. RIP 2013 Centennial. I harvested a mere 10 cones and, in frustration, through them in the compost with the bines.

Another year and another year of hop growing woes. Hopefully I will still get enough from the Mount Hood and Cascade to make a wet hop beer this harvest. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: There are 45 miles of nerves in the skin of a human being.

2012 Hop Plants

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

centennial and mt hood hops

Plane and simple: the hop garden has been for shit. I haven’t been ignoring updating on the progress, there just hasn’t been much progress. To say it has been a roller coaster year for the hops means there are up AND downs. There is no such fun to be had in the garden.

I have three plants: one third year, one second year, and one first year. I will talk about each plant separately as each one has a story.

Centennial, which is the hop plants on the left in the picture, has struggled at best. Last year, it was by far my best hop plant. This year it hasn’t made i past eight feet. It never had a good growing spurt, never had a strong week, and seemed to lag behind from the start of the warm weather.

Mount hood, in the same picture is the hop on the right. Much better than last year. The bines were thicker, stronger, and grew better. That makes it sound wonderful, but it wasn’t. It reached a maximum height of 12 feet, give or take, and had a strong spell in late June. Better than the Centennial but nothing to be proud of.

home grown cascade hop

Cascade is the first year midget to the left. The single bine is lucky if it hits two feet in height. This was a rhizome that Chuck gave to me, months after it was promised. 🙂 When I went to his house to pick up, Mr. Green Thumb was ignoring his hop garden (which is in the 18 plant range), the rhizome was dug up, encased in very dry, hot dirt. It didn’t look like it was happy. I knew that I was in for an uphill battle with this plant. I know hops are hardy but I am amazed how well this one has hung on.

There are a ton of factors for the bad year which all center around weather. It started out hot way back in March, which allowed the plants to get a early start. Unfortunately, the frosts in April nipped the tips, creating a period of almost 60 days in which my hops stopped growing and eventually started with new shoots. It took until late May, almost June before the new shoots were back to the level from late March. I thought at that point they would take off but they never did. Even though hot, I watered the plants each days, sometimes in the morning and evening. I did take a vacation in early July which saw each plant have the longest bine snapped by bad weather (at according to the local kid I paid to kill my plants). Mid to late July brought on the Japanese beetles that feasted on the leaves, which, from what I understand, shouldn’t really affect the plant.

home grown centennial hops

The Centennial and Mt. Hood plants will produce hops this year but I will be lucky to get a half pound between them; I thinking closer to four ounces is realistic. The Cascade hasn’t had the strength to even throw up one flower. At least I know they will come back next year, allowing me to try again. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Orchids are grown from seed so small that it would take thirty thousand to weigh as much as one grain of wheat.