After such a stunning, sunny and warm summer so far, Matthew King explains what’s been happening in the hop garden:
Walking around the hop garden today, there’s a plethora of dragon flies and butterflies, crickets and more. Idyllic! And all signs of a healthy hop garden.
I must admit the recent downfalls of rain were very welcome for the thirsty hop plants. However, the lengthy warm spell hasn’t caused the hop garden any problems and we’re still on track. The ‘pins’ (little shoots emerging from the bine) are starting to ‘burr’ up into the beginnings of hop cones which is what we’d expect right now. The old adage of “21 days in pin, 21 days in burr and 21 days in hop” is usually right – and we’re not far off now!
In addition to maximising this year’s harvest I’m also looking to next year. In fact, we’ve just begun to see new shoots of a weed called Chenopodium Album or ‘fat hen’ which, although the plant grows relatively slowly, each one produces 30,000 seeds! So to prevent an all out battle, we’re working to tackle the shoots now. I can tell you, in the case of fat hen, there’s definitely truth in the saying that one year’s feeding means seven years weeding!
I’ll be monitoring the hop garden carefully over coming weeks as the hop cones develop and we’ll soon have a better understanding of the harvest. Exciting times!