Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hops


Just thought I would share this photo of our new hop structure. I started out with 2 plants 3 years ago, and had planted them temporarily in the veg garden up against a wall. While this worked reasonably well and they grew rampantly and produced lots of hops, harvesting them was another matter. Because the vines (or bines as they are correctly known) all wrapped around each other even though I had a string for them to climb along, harvesting was difficult as the hops were all tangled up together. It took ages, and that was just with 2 plants.

After a bit of research on the net, I decided the above structure would be simplest to build while letting the hops 'do their thing' i.e. grow skywards at a very fast pace! Come time to harvest the hops, all we/I have to do is undo the rope from one of the poles and lower the whole thing down - a bit like an old-fashioned washing line I guess. I can't take any credit for this other than finding the design, as hubby built the whole thing for me! (Isn't he wonderful :-))

We now have 9 hop plants, 2 are doing great guns and have already reached the top of the strings (they are the original ones) and I have another 2 of this variety (Pacific Hallertau) which I took as root divisions when we moved them. The other varieties are Sticklebract (x3 plants) and Smoothcone (x2 plants).

I've noticed that there don't seem to be many varieties available to purchase, while there are in fact quite a lot of commercial varieties. Maybe it's just a question of knowing where to get them. I'll do some further research on that. Meanwhile, if these 9 plants do well this year we should have a good hop harvest.

What to do with all the hops........I guess I'll just HAVE to make that beer!

8 comments:

kiwinewt said...

2 reasons for the lack of varieties to purchase:
1) Commercial copyright/etc
2) NZ Hops restrict it a bit as a lack of home growers means less chance of new diseases/spreading diseases...

Cabbage Tree Farm said...

Thanks very much for the info kiwinewt, much appreciated.

ms lottie said...

You could make LOTS of hop pillows - great for insomniacs!

Cabbage Tree Farm said...

Hi Ms Lottie
Yes that's definitely an idea too!

Liz Clark said...

I don't drink beer but when I did I used to have a mashing bin and the beer from that was wonderful. Looks like you and G are really doing so well on your place.!

Big hugs!
Liz

Cabbage Tree Farm said...

Hi Liz
Thanks for your compliment!
Making beer will be a whole new learning curve for me, but I'm looking forward to it. I never drank beer in England can you believe...! But now I always make a point of trying the local brews when we're visiting and tiki touring around :-)

BLD in MT said...

Cool! I've no idea about growing hops...so I bet it would be super interesting!

We just started brewing beer, but with purchased hops. Its fun!

Matron said...

That's really interesting. This is how they do it in Kent, England - the garden of England. It is well known for hop pickers to fall asleep on the job because of such strong 'soporific' substances in ripe hops. This is why they can be put in hop pillows to aid sleep!