Thursday, April 23, 2015
Looking Ahead - Hops Growing Season
I liked the photo that David sent along the other day - it shows him and Eric up in the lift running the cables between the poles of our trellis. The long runs will connect all of the posts, and essentially will complete the structure of the trellis. Along with the irrigation system and all the work that has gone into preparing the field, we'll finally arrive at our next stage, which will be to plant the hops rhizomes (in my post on Monday, I wrote about their arrival last week).
So we're just about all set to get started with this thing, and just as David and Eric seem to be looking ahead from the trellis, our thoughts need to move on to what's next - how to take care of the plants once they're planted, and what happens between now and the summer solstice. For that, I took a look back at one of the spring photos from Dan's hop yard, after he had gotten finished with his spring cleaning.
Dan had strung twine from the top wires down to each of the hops crowns in his garden, and that is essentially what we will need to do after we have the rhizomes planted. So my work on the project this week was to learn how this is done at our small but commercial scale, and then source the twine and other materials that we will need for this stage of the project.
At the conference last month we talked about some of the equipment and supplies that are needed. I wrote back to one of my colleagues and he pointed me to Growers Supply in Washington state - I was able to identify my requirements for the coir twine we will use, the clips that fasten the twine to the ground, and a tool that is designed especially for that purpose, and I placed an order for this stuff.
What I still hadn't figured out was how all of that process works. So I wrote another grower colleague, and also made a query to the folks at Grower's Supply - and they sent me a link to the video below, which provides a demonstration of the tying process at a large farm in the PNW. The workers are quite skilled and can really move through the farm at a pace we'll never achieve, but at least this gives a solid overview of what we have to do!
With that stage of planning done, now we'll move on to getting ready for our planting event on May 2. I hope that some of my readers can join us! Leave a comment if you would like directions!