Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Winding down

The weather has definitely gotten colder. There hasn't yet been a freeze but we've been pretty close. In the meantime there has been very little observable growth of what remains of the three hop plants. They are at least still predominantly green, so I'm hoping that they are building up reserves in their rhizomes for spring. Here's the Columbus:

You'll notice that I've pruned the dead stuff, making what's left easier to see. It does make them look kind of bare and scraggly. If you look closely you can see some newer growth, as evidenced by the slightly lighter colour of the leaves (they're smaller too).

Here's the Cascade:

There's obviously a lot less of this, although there is some evidence of the new growth (lighter green colour towards the back) still struggling on. At least it doesn't seem to be getting worse.

The Willamette on the other hand:

Nearly all the greenery you can see here is from other plants, the catnip in the background in the pot and tomato plants that sprouted from our compost. You should just be able to see a couple of old looking leaves towards the top. Other than that there are almost no leaves over the rest of the plant. I will keep my fingers crossed for it but I don't have high hopes for its reappearance come spring. At least it hasn't given up completely.

On a much brighter note, I can report the outcome of using my hops in my own beer:

You of course can't tell just by looking that it was made using home grown hops. As a recap, this was made using the Austin Homebrew Kalamazoo IPA all-grain recipe and adding my own hops. The other thing you can't tell from the photo is the fantastic aroma and taste. The fresh hops have definitely lifted the original significantly. If you haven't tried growing your own hops to add to your own beer I can't recommend it more highly. What's the worst that could happen?

Friday, October 4, 2013

And now back to your regularly programmed schedule...

There are some signs of life in the hop plants still. It's October now but we're having some warm weather of late which I hope is helping. Remains to be seen how much longer they will last before dying off for the winter. The Columbus is looking the healthiest at the moment:

There is some evidence of new growth but it certainly is not vigorous:

Despite the damage done to the roots while I was transplanting it, the Columbus seem like the most likely to survive to sprout again in spring. Will just have to wait and see. I'm also not sure when I should expect the growing parts that are left to start dying off for winter. This would suggest that the first freeze will finish them off. That seems like a long way off with the unusual warmth we're having right now. These things can change quickly though.

The Cascade (with requisite lounging cat in the background) looks like it is still hanging on:

Some evidence of new growth that does not seem to be in much of a hurry:

The Willamette is looking very thin indeed:

Most of the greenery you can see in this picture is from the other plants. The pot at the back has catnip (thus the lounging cat) which is doing very well. The only sign of new growth I could find was this:

Hardly cause for celebration. Of the three plants, I am most worried about whether the Willamette will make a reappearance come spring. Depending on how growth looks for them between now and the first freeze, I may well get another rhizome or two next year to try and ensure that I have some new growth.