Ramble On

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Planting Time @hawksbillhops

Two of our volunteers working on one of the Cascades rows,
with steam rising off the new ground to the east.
Almost as fast as that, Saturday morning broke and it was the day for planting our 800 rhizomes at Hawksbill Hop Yards.  We'd set up the event a few weeks ago, and all the rhizomes began to arrive, the finishing touches got done on our trellis, and we did a tour of the yard with the Virginia Tech folks.  Now, as long as the rain held off, we were looking forward to having 20 or so friends and volunteers join us to plant this field!

David had gotten out there early and done some extra set-up.  It's an understatement to say we'd be nowhere without his help.  That preparation was key to things moving so quickly on Saturday morning.

The photos I'm sharing have come from a couple of the volunteers, I got busy enough that I didn't take many, and I think there was a seven-minute stretch there where I didn't even look at Facebook.  As I wrote there:

"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!"

David and Dan discussing the hop yards.
Our volunteers knocking out a couple of rows.
Between worries about the rain and mud, and not knowing how long it might take the group to put in the 800 rhizomes, we'd planned that the event would take 3 to 4 hours.  The soft ground working in our favor, however, and the whole acre was knocked out in about 90 minutes.  I couldn't believe it!

Afterwards, folks spent some time socializing and visiting, and a couple of folks signed on for tours with David, who showed them how the irrigation system works, along with some technical discussion of the trellis - our showstopper!  

Like I mentioned above, with the plants in the ground, now we get on with the work of shepherding them through the growth phase.  These exuberant plans were already sprouting while we let them come up to ambient temperature, so we kept them watered in preparation for planting.  I think we're going to have leaves showing by Monday!

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