Ramble On

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Second Year Cascades @hawksbillhops

After I visited Bill's hop yard on Saturday, I headed over to Hawksbill Hop Yards for my weekly growing season check-in.  David had let me know what to expect, that the Cascades were in fine growing condition and had begun to flower, and I was looking forward to walking in the bines and having a look around.

The Cascades are coming along - we have five rows of them, which is about 300 plants.  Most reached the top of the trellis, which ranges from 10 - 16 feet - some slack has worked in to the assembly, so we'll need to tinker over the winter.

We are getting hit with Japanese beetles early this year.  They are eating the leaves on a good-sized sample of the bines, so we are working on a proactive management plan for this threat.  We're concerned that the loss of photosynthesis during prime growing days could mean we lose a few plants over the winter.
These plants are in their second year, and based on the production we're seeing so far, I can definitely see the changes from their maturity. We've planned for that to be a three-year process, but they are definitely on their way!

Our other varieties, Goldings, Fuggles, Chinook, and Columbus, aren't quite as far along, although we've had a pretty good showing from them.  We didn't string the Goldings, they were such slow starters, but they are definitely up and maybe should have gotten a chance after all!  We'll let them gain strength and then see how they do in year three.

The Chinooks and Fuggles are producing, but we may not harvest them this year to give them maximum time in the sun.  The Columbus don't seem to be doing as well, even as well as last year.

Finally, we have a small patch of 20 or so Centennials that we put in as an experiment.  During the spring, these bines were the first up, so I decided to keep them - there was a decision point back then about taking them out and replacing them with Fuggles.  Now that the summer is full on, the Centennials haven't grown any more, not even enough to find their strings, so I will take them out and put Fuggles there, so that we'll have two full rows of those.

Of course, David and I have that other project - Hawksbill Brewing Company - that is slated to open later in the fall, and that is limiting what we can do in the hop yard this year.  We hope to have the time and funds to be more attentive next year.  In the meantime, it looks pretty good for the Cascade harvest, so we should be able to brew with them at some point, achieving our goal of "grown here - brewed here!"

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