Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
During fall of 2014, we collected thousands of seeds from the two hop yards. The individual flowers had been pollinated by hand and carefully isolated to ensure parentage. In total, we collected nearly 40 crosses:
- NHB002 (wild male)
- NHB005, NHB007, NHB017 (magnum x cascade)
- NHB019 (magnum x chinook)
- Pride of Ringwood
- Mt Hood
- NHB003 (neomexicanus)
- NHB006 (magnum x cascade)
- NHB025 (magnum x chinook)
- NHB027 (open pollinated cascade)
After several months of cold stratification (damp perlite at 40F), some of the seeds were placed in a germination chamber. This year We are trying a soilless mix: 50% coir + 50% vermiculite + a pinch of phosphate. The temperature was set near 85F.
The seeds have started to pop – 13 so far.
80 have been potted up. Unfortunately, they are already starting to out-run the containers.
Finally moved the hops outside!
The new hop yard is on a steep slope and presented several challenges to build. Over several days, we dug holes, erected posts, set ground anchors, and tensioned trellis cable. This weekend we found ourselves planting the hops using flashlights, since the sun had already set after a long day of work. I can’t thank Joe enough. Not only is he allowing me to use his yard, but he was out there everyday working to make this possible.
- Strings need to strung ASAP
- I need to document the crosses and position of all hops
- Start culling males as they appear
The strings are in place and the drip system is set!
On first inspection the hops looked really beaten up. There had been a hail storm shortly after planting, then a week of hot sun. Looking closer though, most had new growth. Only about 6 looked really bad, but we left even those ones for now.
One thing that is now obvious is the need for more compost.
Checked on the hopyard… The hops still look a little beaten, but some are starting to take off. Several are already over my head. Other, whose main bine was damaged, have started popping out new bines from the soil. Only 6 seemed completely dead. Another load of compost was added to help them along.
- 2 x Cascade
- 16 x Chinook
- 13 x Galena
- 7 x Magnum/Cascade
- 4 x Magnum/Chinoook
- 30 x Nugget
- 6 x Pride of Ringwood
- 1 x Sterling
- 20 x EV02
- 23 x MxCas01 (NHB005)
- 13 x MxCas03 (NHB007)
- 18 x MxCas13 (NHB017)
- 4 x MxChin01 (NHB019)
On the 4th, we visited the other hop yard, where all the first-year plants are. I was pleasantly surprised. About a dozen plants are showing burrs. A few have small cones already forming. The nugget, chinook, and galena crosses seem to be ahead of the pack in terms of size and maturity – but it really varies from plant to plant (as expected).
We stopped by the hop yard to check on the first-years. Out of the 78 original plants: 10 died and 12 males were culled. The remaining 56 plants are all female. Some are still covered with burrs, while others have fully developed cones.
There is also one special plant that I have been keeping my eye on. From the start, the leaves have been a bit different than all the rest – elongated and heavily toothed. There are also a number of leaves with two lobes (rather than the typical, 1,3,5 configuration).
I thought the plant might grow out of it, but the phenotype is still going strong in this one. So, I was especially excited to see burrs, confirming that she is a female.
Finally got around to the hops in the first-years yard.
Most were past prime for brewing, but our main goal was to pick the plants that will continue on for next year. A little less stringent than last year – we simply judged based on the cone size, compactness, scent, the amount of cones, and plant health. Unfortunatly, the crosses did so well that we had trouble culling 90% as hoped. Instead, we decided to continue with 26 for next year:
- Chinook ♀ x (Magnum x Cascade) ♂ – 7 plants
- Nugget ♀ x Neomexicanus (EV02) ♂ – 7 plants
- Galena ♀ x (Magnum x Cascade) ♂ – 4 plants
- POR ♀ x (Magnum x Cascade) ♂ – 3 plants
- Nugget ♀ x (Magnum x Cascade) ♂ – 2 plants
- (Magnum x Cascade) ♀ x (Magnum x Cascade) ♂ – 2 plants
- (Magnum x Chinook) ♀ x (Magnum x Chinook) ♂ – 1 plants
It was surprising to see how many Nugget x Neomexicanus crossed made the cut. These plants had consistently large cones with strong citrus/spice scent.