The season is over yet again and all the cones have been picked. We had a successful hops harvest 2012.
But not as successful as I thought it would be. Here’s why I think so.
It was a weird year – we really didn’t much of a winter so the shoots came up pretty early. Noting that it was the plant’s third year, I let it grow as much as possible. I didn’t cut back the shoots at all. Maybe I should have, since not all of the bines were winners. I would say a good number didn’t produce any cones at all.
I did trim back the leaves once we got into late June to try to get more energy into producing hops rather than big green leaves. That sorta worked.
I didn’t water the plant as much as I did last year. I was giving it a good drink 5 times a week at least during the dry spells in 2011. This year, I was more lax.
My goal was to get a pound of dry hop cones out of it this season, and I got less than last year. I haven’t weighed them yet, but I am pretty sure I got more than ounce and that is my minimum goal.
I guess the true end goal is to make one harvest ale every year. Besides that, I am not going to brew a classic style using my home grown hops.
On the other side of the fence, my brother had his best harvest ever. Now I will be able to bitter with the home grown Magnum and use Mt. Hood for the late editions.
Prune back the weaker shoots
Water more often
Cut back the oak tree limbs above the shed to get more sunshine to the hop bines
Pray for a colder winter – nope, can’t type that sincerely
Man am I envious. I had a wonderful Nugget plant going this year…and then a freak snow storm at the end of May killed off the growth. It never really rebounded after that.
Hello everybody. I think its all depend on weather. There is no need to show any envious.
When I used to grow hops in Chicago, I found the trimming of the weak bines definitely produced more cones on the ones that remained. In fact I did a side by side test of two plants, one trimmed, one not. They got the same weather and water, and while the untrimmed one was a much fuller plant, it produced only about half the hops as the trimmed one. Of course where I live now it’s too hot for hops. I hear they need a deep freeze, and we’re not going to get that in So Cal.
My biggest problem was spider mites:
I haven’t heard that they need to freeze. I’m in central California by the coast where it only gets below 32 a handful of nights per year and my second years hops did fine. I agree with others, trimming to a handful of bines will produce more hops. I like to trim all of the first bines once the second flush starts pushing out of the ground. They seem to be more vigorous. I think you have to find varieties that work for your climate. My goldings in it’s first year only climbed two feet while chinook right next to it produced 6 oz dried in its first year.