Tuesday, April 8, 2014

You turn your back for a couple of weeks....

Have been off in Oregan and Washington tasting beer and wine for the last couple of weeks. There was some walking through rainforests and along beaches, so it was healthy too. Came back to find my hops have definitely decided it's spring. Just like last year, the Columbus is way out in front:

There are at least a dozen shoots with leaves growing out of them. The other two may not be this prolific but they've definitely started. Here's the Cascade:

Not as many shoots or leaves yet but a very promising start. The Willamette is on a similar footing:

Too early to say if this means the Willamette will be as healthy and productive as the Cascade. If you remember last year during harvest, the Willamette gave me a grand total of three cones versus 2oz from the Cascade. I will be very happy if these two give me increased yield.

The other thing I will have to consider is whether to prune. Standard hop growing advice is to prune back all but the most vigorous bines so that growth is concentrated in them. It's too early to start worrying about that just yet. I might well do something along these lines for the Columbus, but the Cascade and Willamette seem as if they could perhaps do with another year of unrestricted growth. Will decide on this when there's more in the way of growth. Bring on spring!

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