Ramble On

Monday, June 8, 2015

Growing Season @hawksbillhops

Here's our 9-footer Cascade!
Now that the growing season is in full swing - and continuing for the next four to six weeks - we are going to slow down the posts about hop yards progress to once per week.  We'll make exceptions for exciting developments, and undoubtedly there are still going to be some discoveries about how the whole thing works, or about Virginia's craft brewing scene in particular.

On Saturday, with my mother and brother up from Raleigh for a visit, we took a drive over to the hop yards for a check in.  Last week, we had one Cascade plant that had gotten up to 7 feet tall, but this week, there were many, and at least one from every variety, that had made it to that height.  This week's tallest plant was a Cascade and it had reached 9 feet - it doesn't seem unreasonable to guess that they could make it all the way to the top of the trellis, which ranges from 14.5 to 16 feet!

Looking down one of the Chinook rows.
Most of the "pilot" plants - the ones I learned from, or Dan's, Bill's, Kevin's, and my backyard plants - have already set cones, while these in the hop yard are still growing vertically.  That's what I understood the growing behavior would be:  they grow vertically until the solstice, and then begin pushing out horizontally, followed by the cones.  I'm tracking that carefully, you can believe it.

The second photo I'm putting up today features a look down one of the Chinook rows, where many of the plants are over 6 feet tall.  You can see that the fescue cover crop has sprouted between the rows as well, and that we have purslane and milkweed to beat the band in the rows.  We've got a team coming out for a couple of days this week to take these two pesky weeds on.


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