Sunday, May 27, 2012

Darling Buds Of May

I just noticed today the first signs of the buds that will become the side shoots that the cones will grow on. Exciting times (for a novice hop grower anyway). Here are some on the Willamette:

They obviously have a very long way to go before (or if) I see cones but things seem to be heading in the right direction. The whole plant is becoming a challenge to measure (involves some clambering on the railings):

The Northern Brewer also has some, so I'm hopeful about it too:

I'm a little concerned about the really pale leaves at the top, but they do seem to be deepening in colour as times passes. It now looks like this now:

No evidence of any on the Goldings yet:

Early days yet as they only look like this:

I have also been finding more pests. These are what I assume are butterfly eggs on the undersides of the leaves of the Willamette:

Really don't want these guys hatching to become hungry, hungry caterpillars so I have been getting rid of them as soon as I find them. I have found at least one leaf that a caterpillar was in the process of wrapping around itself like a blanket. Fortunately I was able to unroll it and relocate (ie fling across the garden) the caterpillar inside. The leaf seems to be recovering fine. On the up side, I did find some of these little guys on the other side of the garden:

Ladybird (ladybug if you're American) larvae are apparently voracious little predators. If I continue to see things eating my hops I might have to transplant as many as I can over to help in the fight. Overall though, despite some damage from pests all three plants seem to be able to grow faster than the bugs can eat them. Also, I've been doing a lot more watering myself (only in the late afternoon or evening so there isn't any direct sunlight) of late as the temperatures have been in the high 80's low 90's F (approx. 30 degrees C) and we have had precious little rain. Fingers crossed hard we don't end up with a drought like last year.

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