So we’re supposed to get five or six inches of snow tonight, and tomorrow night will get down to 28 degrees or so … which means the hop greenhouse is back! It’s sturdier this time so it’ll handle the snow load. There are two logs on each side, both with a long 2×6 board run across. Shorter 2×4’s were laid across the long boards to provide support for the roof. There are additional boards diagonal from the “roof” to the ground. The whole thing is covered with greenhouse plastic, and 4×4’s (and a few large logs) weigh down the edges.
I’ve also got plastic bags over the blueberries, raspberries, elderberries, baby pawpaws, garlic, and baby black walnuts. There’s a tarp over the part of the deer garden that’s actually sprouted. Hopefully everything fairs well. The hazelnuts aren’t protected — they’ve gotten quite large, but they should have plenty of energy in the root system. The kale isn’t protected either, but it survived the winter already … so that should be fine.
We’re in for a drastic temperature drop this week — 70 degrees one day, 27 the next night. We’ve covered our hops before; but, as the plants spread out, they get harder to cover.
This year, we built a quick (temporary) greenhouse over the entire hop bed. Rebar and longer metal poles are pounded into the ground at an angle, and the 1″ PVC that I had for the low tunnel greenhouse is mounted to the poles. A large sheet of greenhouse plastic covers the entire bed, and a lot of bricks are (hopefully) holding it all in place. This should keep our new hops from freezing.
The 2020 hop harvest is in. The centennial produced a handful of hops that I’ll use in a barbecue sauce. We got about 44 ounces of cascade — much of which will be used in the 2020 fresh hop beer. The new baby plants we got this year got to set their roots, and hopefully we’ll see some cones next year. I cannot wait to try some Medusa!
We got our hops on their ropes shortly after they started sprouting, and we’ve got a few vines that are a good 12 feet up the rope already. Hoping to get a big harvest this year! Our new hop plants are big enough to reach their ropes too — I don’t expect to get more than a few cones to taste, but the rooted plants are growing well.
Two days and a massive rainstorm later, our new hops are starting to grow. From North to South, we’ve got Triumph, Medusa, and Sterling. We also got the Cascade and Centennial strung onto their ropes yesterday, so everything’s pretty much set in hop-land.
We got all three hop plants added to a new bed — they’re ready to grow
Not really — but we’ve had a random week of nightly freezes since the hop plants arrived. Instead of planting them outside and keeping them covered, I’ve got them in the pots I use for seed starting and we’ll get them planted in the middle of this coming week. It was also a bit of an experiment — can you keep hop plants in little pots for a week?
Hops + 2 days
Hops + 5 days
They’re not growing anything like the hops out in the ground that we’re covering at night … but they appear to be doing well. And they should be happy enough until Wednesday when it looks like the cold snap ends.
I ordered some hop plants from Great Lakes Hops — these are awesome. They ship actual plants, which are much more robust looking than the rhizomes I ordered years ago when we started growing hops. They came packed in what looks like wheat chaff – I assume it was moistened when they shipped the plants, but it was quite dry by the time I opened the box. The plants were a little wilted, but they perked right up when I got them into temporary pots with some more dirt and watered them. I love that the packing material can all be composted!
The best part? A free plant 🙂
We’ve added Triumph, a multiheaded Neomexicana that I knew as Medusa from a beer kit, and our freebie Sterling.
Our hops are finally strung! I ordered coir rope that is used by most hop growers – hopefully this doesn’t snap like the twine we used last year. Last year, all of the ropes slid together at the top. Which stretched the ropes (and probably didn’t do anything to keep the twine in one piece). This year, used 3/4″ PVC piping (yet another Home Depot purchase not being used as intended) and drilled holes through which the ropes are strung.
It was a lot easier to get the strings up this year – we ran each individual rope through its hole and tied the stakes to each end. Then pulled the wire that runs between the two trees up and secured it onto the tree branches.
Some of our vines were long enough to wrap onto the coir rope — so we’ve got hops climbing their ropes:
Our salad course for Easter was a sauteed hop salad. We have both cascade and centennial hops, and the ones that are in the ground have grown incredibly in the past week or so. Before the snow, we had little sprouts barely nudging through soil. Now some of our vines are two feet long!
So I missed the really tender early sprouts. I sauteed the thicker stems in a little olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Then garnished with fresh hop leaves. It was really good – and I only used about half of the trimmings.