Saturday, September 7, 2013

The big move.

So the time for the big move finally arrived. Transplanting hops is not something I have tried before but I figured that I don't have much to lose and if they do indeed survive the move I won't have to start from scratch again next year. I had previously shown you my new raised bed for them to move into. This is the last pic I took before removing them:

It was of course at this point that I discovered some cones I had missed at harvest time:

Just to be as careful as possible I decided to excavate them by hand. I also thought I would start with the Willamette, partly because it had been the least productive in terms of above ground growth but also because I was hoping that this would mean that there was much more root growth and thus would be more forgiving while I tried to find the best way of doing this. Here's what its exposed roots looked like:

You should be able to make out the original rhizome that I planted in the middle. The roots that had grown since were very rubbery and floppy. I'm not entirely sure if this is natural or because they were a little dry. I also found out pretty quickly that, although rubbery, when I tried pulling at the end to break them off where they were growing through the raised bed the rubbery part easily separated from an inner fibrous core. I'm pretty sure this is not very good for them. With the benefit of hindsight, using secateurs or some other cutting implement would have been better. 
As the Willamette and Cascade are entwined around the same shepherd's hook I thought I should move them together. Here you can see the difference between the two root systems. The Cascade on the left has much finer branching of its roots:
The fine nature of the branching of these roots meant there was a lot more tearing as I tried to excavate them. After a lot of the gentlest teasing out of the roots I could manage this was the result:

To minimise the amount of time out of soil I moved them immediately, rather than removing the Columbus and moving everything at once. The new place is only just down the road after all. Here's what they looked like once in the new raised bed:

I repeated the procedure with the Columbus as best I could:

Unfortunately, these roots were not nearly as cooperative as the others and there was some tearing at the point where the roots met the above ground stems:

Not a great start. This is what they all looked like once I'd finished the move and given them a thorough soaking:

So far so good, you might think. The more botanically minded will probably have guessed already what's coming. The very next morning, this is what I found:

Very sad looking hop plants. Nearly all of the leaves have shrivelled up and died and become brittle. This process continued for a couple of days:

This really doesn't look good for future hop growth from these plants. You might be able to see that I have wound a soaker hose around the raised bed, so instead of using a spray to water them I have been leaving water running through it for several hours a day. There is some small reason for optimism though. This is what the back of the Columbus looks like:

The Cascade:

And the Willamette:

As I hope you can see there are still some leaves that are not yet shrivelled up. I am hopeful that they can all recover from here. When or if I see any new growth I will be sure to document it. On the plus side I found this sprouting out of our compost:

Perhaps this will have to become a tomato growing blog next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment