Hop Expansion Project (and harvest) spring/summer 2008

VIDEO of 2008 harvest and packaging

My Centennial plants took 3 years to really blossom and give a decent amount of cones.  Now, at the beginning of their 4th year, I decided to do some cuttings and transplant them to the front yard.  Above you can see a yellow circle around an area of the root that I cut out.  At right you can see the main part of the hop plant, the crown.


Now the crown is in the left of the picture and to the right you can see a couple more yellow circles around areas I cut.  From what I have read, you need to preserve a 12-14" circle around the crown, but other than that you can trim the roots.  In fact, it is supposed to be good for the plant.


This is more of a ground-level view of the hop shoots coming up before I cut any of them.  It was a wide strip, and I knew the plant could afford to lose some of its roots and rhizomes.


In the front yard I dug three holes.


A load of crap.  I mean, compost fertilizer.


Click on pic for larger version.  Here you can see the three pieces I transplanted.  I don't know if any of them are technically rhizomes, or just root cuttings, but I believe you want to get pieces that have rootlets growing "down" as well as shoots growing "up" for the transplant to be successful.


I put some of the compost material into the holes and then put a thin layer of dirt over it before placing the cuttings onto the dirt.


I left a little bit of the shoots sticking out of the dirt.  That is how they were in the back yard.


Another of the transplants with some of the shoots sticking up.


I put some chicken wire around the transplants as animals in my neighborhood just love to dig up whatever it is that appears freshly planted.


Here is the placement of the transplants in my front yard without the poles that I planned on placing.


And a few weeks later... we have poles!  I cemented them into the ground and put some coats of outdoor urethane on them.


I will have 6 bines winding up to the copper tubing, and then across the twine.


Some brackets would hold the tubing, but I drilled holes and put a couple nails through so the tubing wouldn't move side to side, or rotate.


I might tighten up the twine a little bit but I don't know if it matters.

In a year or so the hops will be thicker and hopefully look pretty nice once they travel horizontally across the twine and fill out.


By July 2 all 6 bines had made it to the horizontal copper pipe.


Here is a closer view of the expanded hops on August 24, 2008.  They are not growing any larger/further right now.  There are some cones that I will harvest eventually.


I liked this view.  Next year there will be a lot more to look up at.


Cascades in the backyard on Aug 24 before cutting them down.


This was a year of experimenting.

1)  the front yard hop expansion

2)  in the back, letting more than one bine climb each twine.  Here you can see 3 bines, and on the other Cascade plant I let 2 bines go up per string.

3)  I harvested the Cascade a little earlier than usual.  Most of the cones were not very brown.  I am wondering if I have sometimes left them too long on the bines before picking so I wanted to see if they produce any different aroma/flavor/bittering by taking them a little earlier

4)  I am also going to try and not dry them quite as much as I usually do in the garage, maybe cutting it down but just a day or so before they are brittle/bone dry.


Cascade plants ready to be picked.


Got hops?


So the result of having many more bines than ever before?....  Absolutely no different!  I got my typical 2 buckets worth which makes me think my problem with not getting the 2-3 lbs of DRIED hops (I usually get about 5 oz of dried hops) from these two Cascade plants has more to do with the space I have available for growing them than it does how many bines I have allowed to grow up the twine.

For the first time ever I weighed them 'wet' and it was 1 lb 9 oz.


close up of the Cascades


I think this pic makes a nice wallpaper for your computer.  Click on pic for that larger version and you can "stretch" it for your wallpaper if you want. 


Cascades drying on the screen.


I picked the Centennials a week after the Cascades, on Aug 31.


My Hop to It Pale Ale made with all homegrown hops (2007 crop).




I seemed to collect more Centennials than the Cascades, but when they were dry they weighed about the same.


This is why you don't get as many ounces as you might think.  this entire bucket is only 2 oz of dried hops (yes I zeroed out the scale with the empty bucket first).


I finally got my own vacuum sealer.  Here you see 2 oz about to be sealed.  At the end of the 2008 harvest video you can see a bag being vacuum sealed.


Here are the finished bags, about 5.5 oz of each variety.

With the hop expansion project as seen above, I hope next year I can get a lot more Centennials than ever before.


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