Monday, July 9, 2012

End of the line?

No not for the blog :) Recently my over-performing Willamette produced this at its apical meristem:

This obviously looks a lot like a hop cone, perhaps not unsurprising on a hop plant. Unfortunately, its appearance at the very tip gives me the impression that it has reached its limit, at least in terms of height. I suspect this is a measure of just how far it can transport water and nutrients from the soil. The fact that there is only one cone reinforces my fear that the Willamette has hit the buffers in terms of height. Also, I would expect hop cones to come in pairs:

At least these are doing well. I now have around half a dozen pairs of cones of a similar size. Fortunately, what appears to be a height restriction for further growth at the very top of the plant does not seem to be a problem lower down:

Here you can see the old, original leaves just about to fall off while being replaced by new extremely vigorous growth. There are now two new shoots making their way up twine from the top of the tomato cage and there is another nipping at their heels:

The Goldings are making good progress, in its own less hurried way:

It also has a couple of other shoots that are making an effort to climb the wire cage. I also found this little beastie underneath one of the leaves:

The sharper eyed amongst us will be able to see a spider has rolled a leaf around itself. When I saw it to start with I thought it was the work of a caterpillar. Wouldn't be the first time on these hops. Spiders on the other hand I assume will be beneficial in terms of keeping down the numbers of bugs feeding on the plants so I'm all for them. Something else I'm all for is this:

Not seen on the hops but red wasps (Polistes carolina as far as I can tell) are reckoned to be voracious consumers of caterpillars, which can only be a good thing from my point of view.

I guess I should also give you an update on how the Northern Brewer is doing. Its first shoot has now reached the top of the balcony railing:

I have provided it with some more twine to take it up to the same spot I started training the Willamette horizontally. I'm hoping it will be easy to tell which is which despite them sharing the same piece of twine.

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