Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Great Hops Planting of 2009

Over the last two days I’ve spent some time digging up, relocating, removing and planting hops. Last year was the first year I planted hops. I ordered Cascade, Fuggles and Nugget rhizomes from American Brewing (I believe that’s the right name) down in Charlotte and every rhizome, eight total, sprouted bines. I did not get a harvest last year, but that isn’t uncommon, especially since I did not have the plants in the best place.

I didn’t know exactly where I wanted to plant them permanently, so I planted them in large pots last year. For the winter I was worried about the rhizomes surviving so I buried them in the ground. Over the last two days I dug up all eight rhizomes. I had four Cascades last year. I replanted three in their permanent homes and split the last one into three plants. I had two Nuggets that I split into five plants, two of which my neighbor will plant. I had two Fuggles that I split into five plants, two of which another neighbor will plant.

I did all of that Friday and I was outside seeding today when the mailman pulled up with the two rhizomes I ordered from Thyme Garden in Oregon. I promptly planted one Perle and one Centenial rhizome. As you’ll see from the pictures, the Perle looked nice and fat and the Centenial was rather paltry – I’m a little worried that one may not survive. I hope to trade one or more of my extras for Liberty rhizomes – that’s become a favorite of mine in my brown ales, but I couldn’t find any dealers selling them this year.

Hopefully come August or September I’ll be telling you about the bountiful hop harvest and maybe a Harvest Ale that I am brewing.

Here is the Cascade that I split.

Cascade after splitting into 3 rhizomes:

Freshly dug up Fuggles – this is actually two rhizomes that grew together:

Fuggles after I split them apart into five rhizomes:

Here are my two Nugget rhizomes.

The Perle

The itty bitty Centenial; They say big things come in small packages, so I hope this produces some 15 AA bittering hops.

Here’s my modest hop yard with the five mounds.

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