Hop Yard – Spring Chores

Well, year three is here for the first sixteen hops that we started on our farm. Last year we added an additional sixteen hops to give us a grand total of thirty two plants in the ground. This year we are expecting big things from our first plantings. The varieties in the first batch included Nugget, Sorachi Ace, Chinook, Perle, Saaz and Cascade.

Of that first batch, we had about an 88% success rate with planting just one rhizome in each spot. Typically we’ve read that you want to get two or three for each mound but we were newbies and didn’t know. Last year we were able to take clippings from the nugget and cascade and propagate the mounds that didn’t grow from the original rhizomes. We had great success with that approach.

With our second batch, we decided to source them from a different place. We had about a 94% success rate with only one galena which never broke the surface. Again we only bought one rhizome per mound to start. Of that batch we decided to stick with two varieties that were tested in North Carolina State’s hop research as providing higher yields than others that were tested. Those two are cascade and nugget which we use to brew our Sideways Pale Ale. Last year we brewed a wet hopped version of that ale which was fantastic. It was earthy and citrusy which really balanced well with the local malts that are used. The remaining varieties planted are Magnum, Zeus, Crystal and Galena.

Many of the plants this year have taken off with a flurry of growth. We hope that the weather holds up and we do not have another brutal freeze. Here are a few snapshots of some of the plants today as we do our morning inspection.

Cascade Hops
Cascade hops reaching for the sky.
Nugget Hops
Nuggets seem sleepy this year but are aggressive growers once they start!

 

 

Perle Hops
Perle hops have not given us a cone yet but this year they are our fastest growers.

 

Crystal Hops
These Crystals are also from our latest batch planted last year.
Zeus Hops
This Zeus is from our new batch of hops we planted last year.

We’ll keep you posted as these bines continue to stretch to the top of the trellis!