Hop Sprouts – all 3 of my hop rhizomes have sprouted! Magnum was first followed by Nugget and finally the Cascade. The hop rhizomes were planted April 11, 2009. When growing hops, this is your first sign of progress – hop sprouts.
The Magnum sprouted April 21 (10 days), the Nugget sprouted April 24 and the Cascades finally broke ground April 26th, 2009. I had mulched heavily over all 3 mounds to keep the ground cold. I was attempting to delay sprouting until after the danger of frost. It appeared to work . Generally May 15th is the safe time to plant in Minnesota. I’ll have to keep an eye on the weather and cover the bines if it drops below freezing.
Now I just have to worry about a possible frost, rabbits, deer and maybe squirrels will dig up the rhizomes – they dig up my garden. Of course I will also have to worry about insects, viruses and other hop diseases like powdery mildew, downy mildew, high winds and hail. Hail obliterated a friend of mine’s hops last year. They never recovered – whole hop season ruined!
I am still contemplating on how I am going to rig the ropes for the bines. I have the materials – rope, pulleys, hardware… I have a couple of ideas. Functionality and ease of lowering the hop bines without needing a ladder (once the pulleys are fastened high up on my garage).
I am going to use a hybrid idea I have which is a combination of some other tricks I read about. The hop bines will be lowered when they get close to the top of the rope. I will loop the bines on a hook type apperatus, possibly a mountable half circle hose rack. When they near the top again, lower and loop the bines again.
This will effectively allow them to grow as long as possible and keep them off the ground. I will have to allow breathing room so the bines will not suffer from dampness and possible molds or mildew (powdery mildew, downy mildew…). I am sure I will need to make adjustments along the way. Wish me luck.
If anyone has ideas about how to do this or how they have done this, let me know. The whole idea here is to share ideas and especially what works.
The first major milestone has ocurred, all the hop rhizomes have sprouted! Magnum, Nugget and Cascade – bitter, bitter and aroma hops. I have to finalize my bine rigging ideas and implement them.
I am still investigating how I want to feed the hops, organic and naturally of course. Green sand, fish emulsions, compost tea and looking into mycelium products to permeate the soil bring nutrients to the rhizomes / root stock.