Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hop Transplant and Good Neighbor Beer

The hop plants that we planted near the back porch, which we have harvested for beer making for the past two years, are really taking off this year.  They are growing well beyond the wire cages I made to protect them from the chickens, and some of the stems are several feet long already.   Jamie and I made an attempt to transplant some of the hop overflow out to the farm.  

The method we used was not very delicate, so I hope these are a tough as I think they are.  Jamie used the shovel to cut through the rhizomes and dig up a big scope of soil with the hop plants that were sprouting up outside the cages.  I think digging up some of the hops is a good idea anyway, since at the rate they are spreading I can see that they would eventually get out of hand without control.  As you can see in the photo above, I never took down the ropes the hops used for climbing during the last growing season, so with a little training, the vines that are left should be able to grow up the ropes again.  

We have two type of hop plants, Centennial and Willamette.  If I remember correctly, the Centennial is a flavor hop, and the Willamette is an aroma hop.  I also remember that I had two plants of each, planted side by side, and that I used a sharpie marker on the side of the porch to mark which plant was which.  Now that the sharpie has washed away, I'm not sure which two plants were Centennial, and which two were Willamette.  I'm not sure I really care either, but I made sure the label each bucket and plant them in the same order when I got to the farm, just in case I try to figure it out someday.  

While we were working in the garden and I was planting the hops we dug up, which were seriously wilted, our neighbor came over for a chat.  This is the same neighbor that has several giant rolls of old hay that would be perfect mulch for the garden, and who promised to bring it to me with his fancy tractor several times. I asked him if he thought the hay was too old and rotten now for his tractor to scoop up and bring to me.  He was quick to tell me, again, that he could easily bring the hay.  I smiled at him for a few moments.  "What, you want it right now?" he asked.  I hesitated, well.. you know... I didn't want to bother him, so whenever it's convenient, and if it was too much trouble he didn't have to bother, but if he gets a chance it would be great for the plants, especially the plants I just put in the ground that were wilting, and that I really hoped it was going to rain this week because without being able to water them they may not make it, but he didn't have to go get it right now...  I mean, unless he wants to... go get it now... I mean.  Ha!  I only felt a little guilty when a little while later he drove up in his tractor with a big scoop of rotten hay for me.  I know he likes beer, and if these hops survive, which will likely be due to the ample mulch I applied, I'm going to make sure he gets some.  I may title it Good Neighbor Beer.     

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