Hop Garden Blog: The First Signs of Hops Appear

As the heat rises in the hop garden, we checked in with our hop garden manager, Matthew King, to see how the hop plants were coping:

As the tradition goes, for a healthy harvest the hop plants needed to reach the top of the strings by 1st June… And I’m pleased to say that we’re well on track.

Despite the recent intense heat and lack of rain, the hop plants are looking good. On my daily walks, I’m starting to see the lateral shoots develop and the hop plants are starting to close in creating dense and lush pathways between plants. The high winds of a week or so ago did result in a few snapped hop shoots, but that’s simply nature taking hold and shouldn’t affect the hops at all. In fact, in a few weeks or so we’ll be seeing the hop plants merge to develop a wonderful shady canopy.

As the lateral shoots form, the hop garden plants close in on the pathway

As the lateral shoots form, the hop plants close in on the pathway

It’s also very exciting to see new burrs emerging. Burrs are the first sign of a brand-new hop and in four weeks or so, we’ll start to see the familiar shape of a hop cone develop. However, did you know that there won’t be any aroma from the plants until early September? Then, as we start to smell the floral hop aroma, it will be a signifier that it’s time for us to start the harvest.

You’ll be relieved to know that we’ve been fighting off nasties like aphids and Damson fly successfully and have also been seeing some friendly bugs too. Ladybirds and their larvae have been helping to keep away any unwanted aphids and today we saw a multitude of dragonflies, butterflies, bees and more. Nature at its very best. And all good signs of a healthy crop, I’m happy to report!

Dragonfly in hop garden