Ramble On

Friday, March 4, 2016

Spring Weeding @hawksbillhops

Last weekend I took a walk through the hop yard to have a look at what we were going to need to do to get underway for the year.  Afterwards I walked down the hill into David's wood lot and we made some plans while he took a break from busting up a red oak that had fallen during the winter.

We had left up about 150 of the coir strings after the harvest - the first year yields on our Goldings and Fuggles weren't worth picking, so we left the bines up for a few more weeks of sunshine.  The fall weather changed so quickly on us that we never took them down, but we knew that needed to be a high priority.

David was making plans to bring our friends from ShenPaco out to do some work around other parts of the farm, so we decided we would work with those guys again for a couple of days of weeding.

He sent along some photo highlights.  That first one is of Kenny, up in the basket doing some work on the high cable at the top of the trellis.  That cable is stretched across the matrix of the trellis at 16 feet, so he is really up there!

In the second photo, the rest of the team is working on weeding the rows.  From the location, I'm guessing this is one of the Columbus/CTZ rows at the far eastern edge of the yard.  There was a lot of skunk cabbage in the area there - probably some hard work to pull all of it out!

Now, the final photo of the day is one David took after they completed their work, just before that little snow squall moved through on Thursday afternoon.  Looking good!

David had bush hogged out many of the larger the winter weeds before the team got started on the rows.  We have fescue in as a cover crop, and that is doing the job for us in the drive rows.

Now that this key piece is taking care of, we have a couple of activities ahead before the growing season begins.  We'll get some litter spread across the yard for nutrients, and then David is going to make a pass with pre-emergents to help us keep down some of the weeds.

We'll have another spring planting event this year in April or May - we haven't set the schedule yet.  We are adding a row of Chinook in the blank row we had left between the Chinook and CTZ, and we are going to take out the half row of Centennial we put in as an experiment so that we can replace it with another row of Fuggles.

I hope to save the Centennials in some planters until we can expand. I've had a couple of requests for this variety, like I did for the Chinook.  The Hawksbill Brewing Company team plans to use the Fuggles we grow in stouts and porters, so that new row is a must to serve our customers!

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