Sorry I haven’t been more frequent on my updates. We had a couple of snow falls since my last update April 28th. I believe it was May 2nd we had
another 4 inches of snow. May 11th we had below freezing temps again. A late spring for here although we had one freak day over 100 degrees. Well the bines are about back on track – 5 and a half(Cascade) to 6 feet tall (Nugget and Magnum). We are in a 5 – 6 day stretch of rain so another slow down but I believe they will still top out 13 to 15 feet by June 1st.
The Magnum leaves are starting to curl again so I am keeping an eye on boron deficiency(2 years in a row). I will treat them after the rains let up. I will give them some MiracleGro LiquaFeed and if that does not have enough boron, I will use a boron product or 20 Mule Team Borax (if I can find it). For some reason, I have a hard time finding it these days. Years ago it was readily available around here. Must not be cool enough for these modern days. I am finding more and more the knowledge of my parents and grandparents is very functional and some of today’s modern fertilizers are pure poison (personal opinion).
Today is Sunday and it is supposed to rain through Wednesday so no significant sunlight until Thursday. Still plenty of time to top out the ropes. When the sun shines, the bines are growing 6 inches a day. After all this rain the soil will be leached out
so I will supplement with kelp fertilizer, some boron and top dress the soil with compost. I might even make some compost tea and load the soil with beneficial bacteria and mycorhiza
If you have been reading lately, I have had several setbacks to this growing season. This is a late spring (actually, not that late) for my growing zone (zone 4), last year we
had an early spring (check the sitemap here for 2012). My hop sprouts have been covered 3 times now under snow. This last Monday 4/22/2013 they were covered for the 3rd time – under 4 inches this last snowfall. As I have stated many times, hops are cold tolerant and apparently snow tolerant.
We just had 2, 70+ degree days in a row – today will be 3. So I should be able to participate in the discussion of growing hops this year, finally. Things should progress from here fast so pay attention. I believe these hops will top out their ropes by June 1st – 13 and 15 feet tall. That’s an average of more than 3 inches of hop bine growth per day! It will be slow in the beginning, then at peak be close to a foot a day.
Of course this all depends upon the weather. Warm sunny days are required for maximum growth. I will take care of the nutritional requirements of the hop plants. I am an organic guy and do not believe in chemical fertilizers. I do make 1 exception, I will spray the bines a couple of times with Miracle-Gro – it just works, and does not really add any toxic chemicals to the plants. If you have followed my previous years, the only severe deficiency I have encountered was a boron deficiency (and possibly iron deficiency). I will be keeping an eye out for signs of these deficiencies and be supplementing the soil with compost, kelp and boron.
Hopefully you will be getting significant progress reports from here on out. Aside from growing hops, I am also an avid gardener (tomato fanatic, cucumbers, sweet potatoes…). So spring is an exciting time of year for those of us that live in the tundra of the great white north – ok, an exaggeration of our winter that would not end. Let us know how your hops are doing. Keep hoppin.
Alright, this is getting friggen old. This is the winter from hell that won’t go away. It is a right wing conspiracy to discredit global warming – (joke). I had hop sprouts, 4 days later they are covered in 4 inches of snow. Snow recedes and a couple days later, we get 6 more inches of snow. Well the snow has receded a second time and the sprouts survived no problem!
I knew the snow was coming (both times) and was torn whether to cover them (again) or see what happens. I chose to see how they would
handle being snow covered. this is the 5th year so they are well established and I figured they might as well be tough Minnesota hops and quit there sniveling. As I guessed, they handled it just fine.
Worst case is the sprouts would have been killed off and they would be replaced with another round. The first year after planting you have to protect them from snow and freezing temps. After that, they will either survive or send up more sprouts when the ground warms up again. I am at about the 45th parallel lattitude and hops will grow up to the 55th parallel (into Canada). I have not lost an established hop plant yet. I have lost a container hop plant Fuggle after it’s first year due to extreme cold (30 below zero fahrenheight) and I lost a Mt. Hood to 50+ MPH winds (first year hop plant).
The sprouts have not progressed since the first time I wrote about them emerging. They have been in a suspended state of animation during the snow covering(s). They do not appear to be damaged from the snow cover at all. I am glad I let them go uncovered because now I know I don’t have to cover them during cold or snow or both. I am getting really anxious to get going with this growing season (hops and my vegetable garden). It is one of the few hobbies I have and I really dig being connected with the earth (grounding/earthing – a major health benefit) and getting my hands dirty.
I hope everyone is having a great growing season. Let us know how your hops are doing. Cheers!