they will begin growing in a clockwise direction from east to west around your trellis. Train the best shoots and trim the rest off.
Harvesting and Drying your Hops
Your hops will continue to grow throughout the summer, and will be ready to harvest by latesummer. The harvest in the first year may not be huge, and in fact it could be very small - hopsdon't reach peak yield in the first year.To determine when to harvest, you need to examine the cones. Mature hop cones will be dry tothe touch, springy, have a very strong aromatic hop odor, and leave yellow lupulin powder onyour fingers. Check the cones every day or two, and when you think they are ripe, pick one andopen it. It should be filled with thick yellow-gold lupulin powder if it is fully ripened.The hops may not all ripen at once, but you need to harvest each as it ripens. Dry the hops out ina warm dry spot in your house, and keep them away from sunlight. Sunlight can seriouslydamage picked hops. A paper bag is a good place to store them while drying. The hops shoulddry out in a week or two. After that, place them in a sealed bag and store the hop cones in your freezer. Remove as much oxygen as possible from the bag to avoid oxidization.
Maintenance of Your Hops
Cut the bines back to 3 feet or so after harvesting. The winter frost will kill off the bines, after which you can cut them back further and cover them until Spring. When Spring comes, take aspade and cut around the rhizome to trim the roots back to about a foot. Trimming the roots will prevent the hops from consuming your entire garden, as they tend to spread rapidly. Add somefertilizer, fresh mulch and a new trellis and you will be ready to grow hops for a fresh newseason. If you want to read more about growing hops, Beer Bits has put together a page of relatedlinks.A properly cared-for hops garden will keep you in fresh hops for years to come. Please join usnext week for part 2 of our 4 part series on surviving the hop crisis.Thanks again for joining us, and if you have enjoyed this article, please
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References and Articles:
BYO Magazine: "Hop Growing", March-April 2008, Vol 12, No 2
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