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Hop Bed Maintenance

Zeus Bed - Year 1 March 2008So I finally got my 3 Zeus rhizomes in the ground yesterday. Donna and I put in a new 6′ x 2′ bed on the other side of the fence from my Liberty bed in the back yard. I pickaxed the hell out of the ground underneath the bed (about 8-12 inches worth), and mixed in a bag of manure and high grade planting soil. OK, so I lie… my wife did the soil mixing. At any rate, the rhizomes are spaced about 2 1/2 feet apart and have lots of drainage, nutrients, and moisture – so I hope we see some good activity this summer. I am not sure how we’re going to handle supporting the vines ones they’re long enough, but since I’ve got that fence right behind the bed, I’m thinking of adding on some vertical pieces (like 2x2s or something) and running the hop twine up to the top of them.

I also hope to see better activity out of the Liberty this year – they were relocated because they did awful where I had them in the back yard, and they get alot more sun in their new location. If they suck again – I will most likely replace them with a different variety next year.

Nugget bed upgradeWhile I was banging together new hop beds, I also took the opportunity to enlarge the bed my Nuggets have been growing in. They were screaming for more room after 2 years in a 2′ x 2′ bed, so they are now in a 4′ x 2′ bed with some room to spread out on both sides. I didn’t bother trying to break up the rhizomes into 2 different crowns and space them – the rhizomes are already sending up mad shoots, so I just gave the areas on both sides a good mixing with manure and potting soil (again, down about 8-12 inches in the ground), tried to break up the dirt UNDER the rhizome crown (which was less than easy, and I did a relatively poor job of it), then put a fresh layer of cedar mulch over top.

Here’s hoping for a good growing season – Those Zeus ought to make a mighty fine homegrown American Ale, if I get a decent yield. I’m drinking my 2007 Homegrown Nugget Ale as we speak… FANTASTIC!

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Categories: Hop growing
  1. foolcircle
    March 27, 2008 at 3:20 am

    Man, you’re much more productive with your Wednesday evenings than I am. Lookin’ good.

  2. billvelek
    March 28, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    I can really relate to that. My ten year old tiller went capute and I haven’t had a chance to work on it or replace it yet, so I’m doing stuff by hand, too, and I’ve been sore the last couple of nights.

    I decided to radically expand my hop yard with a second 37′ row, 6′ wide, turned with a spade. I’m still working on it; at 56 years old and overweight, I’ve got to go slow. On top of that, I dug up some rhizomes to give away. I have 10 Fuggles in the first row, and three Magnum and three Centennial in the second row, and I have four more large Centennial crowns in the refrigerator waiting to be planted. They are all spaced 44″ apart. I would have added more space between the Centennial and Magum, but I’m planning to move the Magnum next year and finish that row with Centennial. I donated 54 rhizomes to my Grow-Hops group a couple of weeks ago for our free rhizome exchange; I formed that group, which is dedicated primarily to the topic of growing hops, and as of this date we now have 1,729 members, so in case you or anyone else is interested, please visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Grow-Hops

    Cheers.

    Bill Velek

  3. billvelek
    March 28, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    I hope my last post in this thread made it; I never received any confirmation notice. Is there a way to subscribe to this thread?

    Bill Velek

  4. brewznet
    March 28, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Hey – sorry about that. I’ve got security locked down pretty tight on here to prevent a bunch of spam from getting posted. Now that you are an “approved” commenter, you shouldn’t have any problem posting new comments. Welcome!

    I will definitely check out your yahoo group. I can’t say I’m the best hop daddy, but I’ve done reasonably well in the past.

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