Thursday, November 6, 2008

End of the hop season

Oh well

I have not been very good about updating this blog, as life (to quote an ad) has come at me fast in last 2 months. Been across the Atlantic 3 times in last month, once to Africa, twice to Europe. Our Club has also had our first sanctioned beer competition last weekend, so a little busy to say the least.

The Hops season has come to an end with the first frost a week back and as expected some plants took a knock. We have learned a bunch from season one.

Hops are gross feeders and need fertilizer and water constantly in beginning of growing season, once cones get there ---- water water water.

Of course the weeds also like the food and water, we will need to do a better job of weed suppression, some have suggested we kill off the grass in the centers of the circles and mulch, and we will probably do this early season, and use some roundup to keep the beds clear of the infringing grass.

The plants delivered surprisingly well for season one, Nugget, Cascades and Centennials all did very very well, Mt Hood, Golding OK, and Chinooks did well too. Willamette and Sterling were poor.

We will need to decide what course of action we follow next year, maybe try a few new ones?? and certainly fill extra plants in the 3 that did so well , to complete the circles of all three.

Chinnoks will also add a few more plants..

As for qty, well I had intended to be very accurate , but we picked a bunch of hops and put them on racs for drying and the storms came, blew the drying containers door off its hinges and drenced the "drying" hops, thus they oxidised and turned brown. I estimate at least 4lbs were picked , with the three already mentioned being the vast majority of that 4lbs.

We entertained quite a few visitors along the way, we had a group of business students from NC State, who were seeing if they could make a business case for Hops in NC, we also recently had a Christmas tree farmer who wants to change over to some hops in Ashe County. I am always happy to talk about what we started.

Disease and pests....... luckily NONE. We had something eat the young plants right at the begining, probably a bunny or Phil the groundhog, and I will take better steps with young new plants next year.

We have started the clean up the hops yard, and will cut off all greenery at the ground and mulch up the rootstock and will water with a weak fertilizer mix once done.

Till the late winter, except for a few pics, this will be the last Hops post, but will update the brewing tasks and talk about the new controller I am playing with.

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