A large Cascade hop cone.

    Cascade Hop Cone


    I actually harvested about half of the Cascade hops last weekend with the Magnum harvest and re-raised the bines. Many of the hop cones were small so I left them on the bines and gave them another week to grow. Unfortunatly it was rainy, cloudy and 20 degrees below normal for 4 of those days in between. The cones did grow some so it was worth it.

    I harvested 1.4 pounds of Cascade hops last week and another .8 pounds today for a total of 2.2 pounds (a kilo). I apparently damaged some branches and a bunch turned brown (maybe 10%). The majority continued to grow.

    I did not see any infestations of bugs, just a couple small spiders and a tree frog. I always find at least one frog hanging out in the bines. Hopefully eating any insects they find.

    I still have my Nugget hops to harvest. They will take one or two more weeks until they will be ready to pick. The Nugget bines are the fullest vegetation wise. They should provide at least as many hops as the Cascade bines have.

    I have used the same rope for the last 7 years and leave it up year round. The ropes are starting to show wear but I should be able to use them a couple more years. I used 1/4 diameter nylon rope with a pulley mounted under the roof and a tie cleat mounted to the side of my garage for each rope so I can lower and raise the bines for harvesting.

    A bag full of Cascade hop cones.

    Cascade Hop Cone Harvest




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    Magnum hop bines reach the roof at 15 feet tall.

    Magnum Hop Bines

    I should have harvested my Magnum hops last weekend but vacation got in the way. They are still in pretty good shape and it only took one cigar’s time to pick all the hop cones.  It was a relaxing sunny day for the harvest.

    With my trellis / rigging (a rope and pulley system) of the hops, I can pick standing up.  No bending, no ladder, no stress as I lower the bines wrapped around the rope.  When I am finished, I raise the hop bines again so the leaves can gather and store more energy in the crown or root stock for next year’s growth.

    I ended up with 1.4 pounds of “wet” hop cones.  Not a stellar harvest, but I will take what I can get.  Once dry they will weigh 20 – 25% of their current weight (probably 5 to 6 ounces of dry hops).

    I dry my hops in my basement under a ceiling fan on days when the air conditioner is running (low humidity).  They dry out in 2 to 3 days this way.  There is nothing like the smell of hops!  Even though this variety is considered a “bittering” hop, they are quite aromatic.

    The Magnum bines (I have 5 wrapped around this rope), do not show the cones very well.  They are mostly hidden on the inside under the leaves.  That is why you only see a few dozen cones.

    The Cascade hops show off there cones more on the outside.  They are pretty impressive looking.  I actually harvested half of them the same day (I will right about it next week).  The half of the cones I did not pick were small and I am sure they will be a bit bigger by this next weekend when I plan to finish the Cascade harvest.

    My Nugget hops are just burrs and small cones.  They are a minimum of another 2 weeks before they will be ready to harvest.

    1.4 pounds of Magnum hop cones harvested.

    Magnum Hop Cones

     

     

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    Hop strobiles (strobilus) are the the cone like seed pods of female humulus lupulus plants.  It is better

    hop strobiles starting to form and will soon be hop cones.

    Hop Strobiles AKA Hop Burrs

    to not allow the hops to be pollinated and form seeds in their cones.  That is why female plants are grown for hops and if further propagation is desired, hop rhizomes are cut from the females to replicate as female hops.  The rhizomes grow out from the crown just under the soil surface and hop sprouts will pop up and spread like crazy unless you keep them trimmed.

    You might notice the haze in the picture (above the roof line). it is from 100+ Canadian wildfires currently burning.  I suppose we should ban trees and lightning as they contribute to global warming – ok, enough venting on the eco-nazi’s.

    The Cascade and Magnum Hops are forming burrs or the beginning of hop cones.  They always precede the Nugget hops by 2 or so weeks (late bloomer).  All 3 bines should be loaded with hop cones over the next 2 months.

    We are finally getting some sunshine (though hazy the last couple of days).  If this keeps up, I will have a “normal” harvest – the last couple have been weak.  Late and cold springs have limited my hop harvests lately.  I have been feeding these hops: top dressed compost I make myself, Azomite minerals and foliar feeding of fish emulsion with kelp and soil

    Three Hop bines are filling out with lateral growth, setting the framework for lots of hop cones.

    Humulus Lupulus Bines – Hops

    “activators” (beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizae).  It seems to have made up for less sunshine and cooler temperatures. The soil where these hops are planted was just fill/sand. I added homemade compost and composted manure to give it some nutrition and structure. I continually top dress the ground with new compost and kelp (and recently Azomite to provide even more minerals and trace minerals that supply every mineral need.
    plant food


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    Kegerators / Beermeisters