We had a few warmer than normal and sunny days this week. About a month ago, the hop sprouts just broke ground. Then it snowed and got cold again – not conducive to plant growth. Anyway, the Magnum hops are in the lead at 3 feet tall. The Nugget bines are in second at 2 and a half feet tall. Finally the Cascade sprouts/bines are about 2 feet tall.From this point on, I should see a minimum of 1 inch a day growth and up to a foot a day in growth. I am guessing they will top out (13 – 15 feet tall) by mid May or before.
I am adding to my soil amendments this year with Azomite powder – a volcanic rock dust with 67 major and trace minerals for plant growth. Most soil is deficient in 1 or more minerals, this will help replenish the minerals. I also use kelp for this purpose. Soil gets depleted of minerals and must be replaced to supply plants of everything they need for optimal, healthy growth. I also use a fish emulsion fertilizer for growth.
The weather is supposed to be high in the low 50’s, lows around freezing and cloudy for the next 4 days so I don’t expect too much growth until the sun returns. There you have it, a quick hops update. Hopefully the next update will have some impressive hop bine pics for you.
March 5th it was 10 below zero. Nine days later it is 60 degrees! Note the bottom right readout (outside temperature -10.8F!). What a change. This does not mean it won’t get cold again, it is not even officially spring yet. Here in Minnesota we don’t plant gardens until about May 15th (generally the last frost of the season).
Hops are very hardy plants once established. Do not plant rhizomes if it might drop below freezing, they won’t survive. My hops have be subjected to 20 degrees Fahrenheit and survived no problem once they made it past their first winter. Here where it gets down to 30 below zero some winters, you have to cover the root stock with an insulating 6 inches of compost or leaves and grass. Straw or hay can also be used as an insulating cover.
Generally I do not uncover them until mid-April but we have been on an above average temp run for 10 days now. Previous to that, we were abnormally colder than average (-10 is not an average low for March). We’ll see what this season brings.
I wanted to get them uncovered and see how early they will top out this year. They usually top out Mid May to June 1st (15 feet high at the center peak of my garage). I already have a couple sprouts. Also, I had covered some bines (usually cut to the ground) and they have buds on them like rhizomes. I had read about burying bines and they would send up sprouts – this proves it.
I shot this video showing the sprouts and the buds coming from the buried bines. It seems like a good way to replicate hops fast as rhizomes do not produce that fast. After about 3 seasons, you will have sprouts / bines popping up away from the main hops crown from the rhizomes. They travel just under the surface of the soil and self propagate in every direction. Unless that is what you want, you have to trim the rhizomes back to the crown or root stock (careful not to damage it).
We were just awarded the Green Thumb Award of the MrBeer
“The Best Homebrewing Sites to Watch in 2015″! We are happy to be acknowledged and are among some big names in the craft beer field including Deschutes Brewery.
We will have to step up our game this year and bring you even more articles to help folks get started growing hops and hopefully answer some questions that may be holding people back or help achieve better results.