Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hops in Containers update 08/24/2011

Cascade Cone
The end is near for the hop plants. The fruits of my labor are on the vines and it is a matter of time before I will have a FatCat Estate brew in the works. All three plants are displaying cones and I am getting anxious to start harvesting some of my bounty. Seems that the cones are growing the best the higher they are on the trellis. The excess part of the vine (the slack in the adjustable trellis system) is very bushy but doesn’t seem to be producing any substantial cones. I pruned the plants once before and haven’t pruned them since. Not sure if under pruning was a factor. My previous pruning didn’t seem to effect the growth rate all that much. I do think the pruning helped with the browning of the leaves when it was very hot. I also started watering a lot more after the near death experience the Cascade plant endured, so this may have also helped the brown leaf situation. I fertilized with Miracle Grow once a week. I think next year I will dilute the Miracle Grow and fertilize twice a week. I did have a problem with a grasshopper eating my plants but I “dispatched” a grasshopper and haven’t seen any since. They must have got the message. I’ve been using an organic soap insecticide throughout the season which seemed to help protect the plants. However in recent weeks the Hallertau plant has been assaulted by insects leaving a majority of the leaves riddled with holes. Bastards!

The Cascade plant made a miraculous comeback after the initial main vine death scare. As I mentioned earlier a smaller vine was climbing the trellis post after the main vine died. I allowed this vine to climb and it appears will actually produce cones! The cones on the Cascade plant have matured the most and should be ready for harvest shortly.

The next best looking plant is the Centennial which is in-ground plant. This plant seems to have the most cones but they are not as big as the Cascades.

The Hallertau went from best to worst in the health category. It has been eaten alive by insects and there are very few cones showing on the plant. Hopefully it’s a late bloomer and I will be surprised by the plant once again.

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