Ramble On

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Now it's a Hop Yard - @hawksbillhops

Here's a pano my buddy Hairdoo took at the planting event the other day.  Fairview donuts to the right.
Toasting the volunteers, and
the hop yards!
This will be my final post on getting the hop yards established - it's been an intense six weeks or so, and I have some other things I want to cover in the blog.  From here on out, through the growing season, we'll post a weekly update on how things are going at the hop yards.  This post is a wrap on our May 2 planting event.

I hadn't planned on making much of a speech or anything, but at the end of the event, I suppose it was appropriate, and David and the volunteers drafted me.  I don't exactly remember what I said, except maybe a stupid pun about everybody being HOPPY.  By Sunday it had hit home how much work it was, and how much I appreciated the support of a few communities that I had mentioned in a Facebook post:

"Here's a quick note to put a wrap on the event yesterday - we had a good crowd of quick workers that made short work of our 800 rhizomes. Let me say again how much I appreciate the support we've received from the community - actually three communities, including my Air Force friends, DC friends, and Luray friends - to get this thing started. With the hop yards established, we feel like we are in a good place, and now we'll get to the business of shepherding the plants into production. Thanks again, everyone!"

These are the Cascades rows - in the far back, that is our
row of Goldings...we'll be watching it closely!
 I can't overstate how much all the support has meant to us.  A few final things to check off from this series of posts are the two photos that follow.  They show our Cascade rows all laid out and planted, with irrigation installed.  Plus a close-up of one of the hoses on that row.

We have a row of Goldings in the yard this year, only one row, because I couldn't get enough rhizomes for two.  Several people have told me there's a good reason for it being difficult to find them - apparently they are very susceptible to mildews, so the farmers shy away from them.  My hope is that with our planning - we have them on the last row to the west so they get the best afternoon sun and plenty of airflow - this will be a good variety for us.
Here's a last closeup - probably the Fuggles row.

And then there is the fact that one of our early arrival volunteers planted this row herself...and promised to come back weekly to drive by and check on them.  So with all that energy focused on these guys, I don't know how we can fail!

By surprise, Neighbor Dan brought along some cuttings from his Cascades and his Centennials.  So we used 20 of the Cascades to fill out the end of a row we had over in that section, and then we marked a spare row to put in the 25 or so Centennials.  We'll see how they do - Dan has had pretty good success with propagation.

He told me he has sprouting Hallertauer and Fuggles - about 20 more plants - that are looking for a home.  I invited them to put them in "Dan's Row" with the Centennials - we'll just leave about 10 feet between the varieties so we can keep them straight at harvest.  He said he'd stop by during the week to put them in.

So that brings this phase to a close.  In the next week or two we'll see them break through the surface, and then leaves and shoots will appear.  We'll have to get to work on tying and training them to grow up the trellis soon enough after that - and that will be the topic of my next post on Hawksbill Hop Yards!

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