Hi fellow hop enthusiasts! Up to this point all of our posts have been about prepping, building, planting, and amending to get us to where we are now: growing, and ready to talk about the hops themselves!! Over the past month the bines have gone from just being trained to reaching the top of the trellis and even beginning to form some early cones. The chinook maxed out the trellis first, followed by the zeus, galena, and cascade. The newport and nugget are doing pretty good as well, leaving the brewer’s gold to be the early struggler.
A number of cascade have taken a hit from our first serious pest issue, the sugarcane beetle. Apparently its more than just sugarcane that this beetle likes to feed on. The beetle is nocturnal and chews the hop bines below the surface of the soil. This combination made it very difficult to detect the beetle at first. Unfortunately, even after identifying the pest there wasn’t much we could do to alleviate the situation. We had to just wait this one out until the beetles died off (this happens in early June after mating). So all said and done, we lost about 5 cascade plants and another 20 or so have some decent damage to them, affecting growth and likely hop production. Hopefully they will bounce back enough to build up a strong root system for next season.
Shoot, I already got distracted. Back to the hops. Some early cones are showing up on the chinook, nugget and cascade. The growth on the zeus started off rather slow, but is looking really good as of late. The side arm production on the zeus, some cascade, and surprisingly, the galena, is very noticeable. I’ve grown cascade, chinook and zeus before, but the other varieties are all new to me. Its nice to see 3 out of the 4 unknowns doing well, with the galena looking the most promising to this point.