Monday, April 19, 2010
The Hop-in (Part 2)
With some help from the family, the weekend was spent making sure the rest of the hops got in the ground. It was a little easier to get excited about doing this because, as can be seen in the photo, the hops in the first few rows have started growing. However, I now feel like the race is on to get the trellis system in place. These vines are going to need something to climb pretty soon. Some of them have grown 4-5" just in the week since I planted them!
By Sunday afternoon I had successfully put 100 cascade and 20 chinook rhizomes in the ground. By the end I had a pretty good system that was at least twice as fast as the first row. I guess it is a learning experience. It is funny, after all the planning with plant density and row spacing, I ended up with 4 unused rows. I think I was thinking of commercial spacing when I calculated my density, but I ended up with doubled density on the plant-plant spacing (no need to machine cultivate between plants) and a 6' instead of 7' spacing between rows due to the smaller size of my compact tractor. I think this will be good. From what have read I will not be limited in terms of growth and light, but will clearly max out what I will get from my 1/5 acres test plot. We have 5 rows of cascade and 1 row of chinook. It worked out perfectly with the number of rhizomes we ordered.
One of us also came up with the cool idea of a hops adoption program. We are working on the details, but it would allow a remote interested party to adopt a plant. We could call it the remote Hop Ownership Program (rHOP). This also got me thinking about pre-orders for home-brewers that would like to adopt a hop and receive the hop cones from their plant at harvest time for that special batch (or two of beer. This could be a cool value added product. If anyone is interested in this opportunity please let us know.