Ramble On

Monday, March 14, 2016

Early Spring @hawksbillhops

Look closely for little pink buds on this Columbus.
On Sunday, as a spring rain was starting to move in, I took an hour to walk around the hop yard to scout.  I had a brief moment in the sun on Saturday while I was walking Tessie in the field, and I found a Columbus bine that had begun to bud, accompanied by some little leaves.

Since it is so early - two or three weeks, at least - I thought no problem, we've just got a high-achiever out here.  Then I started seeing Facebook posts by growers in Ohio and Kentucky saying their yards are starting about two weeks early, so I clearly needed to take a walk around.

What I found in the field was prolific leafing and budding - not every hill mind you, but at least 1/4 to 1/3 of the hills.  On every variety but the Goldings, so I have Cascades, Fuggles, Chinook, and Columbus already greening out.  I'm happy for the vigor, but we still have a lot of work to do in the field before we're ready for growing season!  Our supplies haven't even arrived!

I've lost track of the photos - this is probably Cascade.
It's not just the early sprouting that I found so amazing - I found that our Cascades are going gangbusters and are reaching out into the drive aisles.  I found clusters of leaves four feet out into the rows!

Our part of the Shenandoah Valley isn't past the frost stage until May 14, David tells me, so these little plants have a bit of a struggle ahead.   We still have a few weed control steps to take, although we're going to have to change our plans to reduce the stress in the yard.

Plus we have work to do on preventing mildew.  It's simply too early for this.

We are proceeding with plans for our spring planting event despite this.  We're set for April 30, and this year we'll be adding rows of Chinook and Fuggles.  The Fuggles row is going to be fun, because we have to take out 25 Centennials first.

And also because it is fun to say Fuggles.


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