Sunday, May 5, 2013

Suns out, Hops are out!

With cold weather and frequent snow this past month the hops have started a bit late, but no worries, they are back in full form! About 3 weeks ago I preemptively replenished the soil with 11 bags of fresh manure to rejuvenate any lost nutrients since last summers harvest. I timed it well just before we received 10" of snow. My hope was the extra layer of soil would help insulate the plants a bit until the low temperatures finally rose above freeze levels and when the snow did finally melt, the melt water would pull some of the fresh nutrients down towards the roots to give them a good start to the summer.

One of the first Cascade's to break through the soil about a week ago. So many shoots!

As of today 7 of the 10 plants have shoots breaking through the topsoil. Some of them are going crazy with 10+ shoots. These are now 2nd year plants so provided they get ample sun and water they should produce some impressive vines. Similar to last year the Cascades are off to an early start compared with the Centennials but a few of the stronger Centens from last summer have broken through with strong looking vines.

Strong Centennial breaking through the soil
About a week ago I restrung 7 of 10 lines with new twine. I also swapped out the bent wire stakes with some 12" tent stakes that should hold the lines down better when the wind picks up. I also had to make some minor repairs to some of the PVC lines that were leaking after cracking this past fall/winter.

Now that the hops are up and growing again I figured I needed to get the water system back in place before the soil dries out. I replaced all the adjustable drip fittings that had become clogged with sediment from last summer. It will be another test this season to get the watering schedule dialed in with these second year plants. Last year they seemed to be happy with 90 minutes of water every 6 hours. I am going to start this year off at 90 minutes every 4 hours and adjust as needed.

Hopefully we see a lot of sun and warmer temps this month to help get these hops reaching for the sky again. Check back throughout the summer for updates on the 2nd year of homegrown hops!



Cascade plant
Watering system back in place and running well
Lines strung, water hooked up, ready for summer!