A problem has arisen that is definitely going to affect my hops. It seems our landlord wants to sell the house, but not with us in it. The joys of renting. So we're going to have to move. Fortunately, we've found somewhere else just down the road. Also, we're going to have a month overlap with the two properties. This will give me plenty of time to find something in the new place for these plants. More than likely it will involve another raised bed. How well they respond to being transplanted from one to the other remains to be seen. I'm hoping that because they grow so vigorously that they'll recover from this ordeal. We're leaving behind some very promising tomato plants as they will most certainly not survive a move. Stay tuned to see how well all of this comes off.
In the meantime, an update on how well the hops are doing. Both the Columbus and Cascade have now produced cones at their apical meristems. The same thing happened last year in Houston with the Willamette (as can be seen in the background image I'm using). Here's the Columbus:
And the Cascade:
The result of this seems to be the promotion of bushier growth further down. Perhaps this is as tall as the plants can successfully grow. Hopefully, next year (transplant allowing) they will be able to grow taller. This is what they look like from the side:
As you should be able to see the Columbus is doing much better than the other two combined. It's also looking like there might be a reasonable cone harvest for a first year:
Again, this will depend on how well they survive any attempts at a transplant. So far there is no sign of cones on the Willamette:
It has now made its way onto the twine I strung up for it at least. It's a little difficult to distinguish between the Willamette and the Cascade in this picture. As the smallest of the three it's perhaps easier to identify as being on the left hand side here.
I should also update how the plants are faring with the local bugs. As you can see from the picture above of all three, they do not appear to be suffering much overall. This does not mean that there are not signs of pests:
This an older leaf, the discolouration seems to be a product of aging. Nothing lasts forever I guess. The newer leaves beside it do not have the same problem. There are lots of leaves that do show similar patterns of being eaten though. I have seen quite a few of these:
They appear to be some sort of moth that range in colour from the the green shown here to a mottled white. Even if the adults are not eating the leaves I suspect their larvae are. I've also seen several of these:
I believe that these are stink bug larvae, which can be disastrous for plants. Certainly there is a lot of worry about them from farmers. Fortunately, I also appear to have some pest control present:
I got this photo one evening while letting the dog out. It seems to be pretty successful as its larder would indicate:
I've also seen a green praying mantis on the hops themselves, much like this one only much smaller:
Of course, it had disappeared by the time I got back with my camera. I have been trying to get a picture since. When I do, you'll be the first to see it. These two predators seem to be keeping my hop eating pests in check, as judged by the overall growth. There may well others contributing to this effort too though. I have seen bats in the area in the evening, although I imagine they will probably only be a problem for the moths foolish enough to fly any distance away. I certainly don't feel like I need to be applying any kind of insecticide, which would kill off the fireflies too I imagine.