Ramble On

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Backyard Willamette

Two weeks ago, in this post, I was just beginning to consider how my backyard hops were faring.  I have a potted Willamette, which is the subject of photos today and in that previous post, as well as two potted Goldings.

While the Goldings are in a spot that doesn't get good sun until just about now, the Willamette is further out in the yard and the shade from the house retreats early.  So there is early growth from that plant, which happens to be three years old - it should be in full yield mode this harvest.

Last year we got a couple of ounces of fresh hops from it - the trellis situation is not optimal since we have a fairly low power line nearby, and I don't let it grow over seven feet - hops optimally want to get above 15 feet or so, but we just can't do it here.  The Goldings are in a spot where I can grow them to ten feet.

I pruned the Willamette back to just five or six of those shoots on Sunday afternoon, and I strung some jute twine for it to begin climbing.  I fell like it's too early to be at this stage already, but the plant is doing really well and I'm going to let it run.  The plant will grow vertically until the summer equinox, and then it will begin pushing out side branches before it flowers.

The three potted hops plants were part of my pilot for the Hawksbill Hop Yards venture - one of three experiments with growing that have resulted in the project out in Luray.  Now we're up to 800 plants there...with a plan to go to 1,600 next year.  Maybe we bit off more than we can chew - sometimes I wonder!

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