Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hops - Day 42

These photos were taken on Saturday, day 42.

Must be 10-12ft tall now.

The slower growing of the two, Hops 1, has developed an odd spotting on the leaves. When I first noticed it I thought it was pollen... which pretty much covered everything around for weeks. I emailed Ashleigh at Beyond the Pale, who is running the Community Grow Hop project, and she forwarded my question to Bristol Hops, who supplied the hops rhizomes.

They responded quickly with more questions about the hops, and the pictures I sent. Apparently my hops may have the Hops Mosaic Virus. From what I could find on the internet, it's spread by aphids? I haven't found any insects on my plants, although Hops 2 does have a few leaves that appear to be snacked upon. There doesn't seem to be any cure, that I could find. However, in looking at other photos of this virus, mine don't exactly match them. Maybe it will eventually?

Some closeup shots:

I'm not sure what will happen at this point. I noticed Hops 2 now has a little bit of the same spotting at the lowest leaves.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Home brewing update

I started my third batch of Festa Brew West Coast IPA a week and a half ago. It used to sell as a season at Defalco's but has since become regular stock, apparently. I like that. No, I love that. :)

Last month (or was it two months ago?) I made, and consumed, a Festa Brew Mexican Cerveza. It was pretty good, and very easy drinking. It sure made my basement stink in the early stages of fermentation.

I still haven't begun my first "boiled" brew. The Brewer's Best Belgian IPA and Witbier are sitting in their boxes waiting for me. I've got two weeks of vacation time coming up at the beginning of July so I'll do it then.

I recently discovered this: FastFerment - http://www.thefastrack.ca/main/fastferment It used to be called V-Vessel. I suspect they made some kind of licencing deal with FastFerment.

I ordered one, and was hoping I'd be able to use it for the first boil, but they're not shipping until August. I'm not sure where I'll put it, since it's designed to be installed on a wall, into wall studs. EIther I'll rig up some posts on the unfinished side of my basement, or build it a stand. Apparently they are working on producing a stand for it. There are testimonies and photos of how some of the customers of the earlier model have rigged theirs up here http://vvessel.com/testimonials/

Hops - Day 36

Taken on the weekend.

"Hops 1" is doing ok. The second stalk is climbing up its own twine (difficult to see).

For "hops 2" I added additional twine upward on the left, which you can't see in the photo. A couple of the lower leaves look like they may have been munched on by insects. I inspected them and couldn't see any. I'm not sure if it's normal, but where the plant roots into the soil, the stem/stalk has become brown. I hope that doesn't mean it's dying. It also has an additional sprout coming out of the soil.

The peonies growing near the hops are showing some signs of powdery mildew. That seems to happen every year, but I'm pretty sure it's because they're so dense and there's not a lot of airflow within their foliage. They have bloomed and the flowers have died, so if it gets out of hand I'll cut them down completely so they don't infect the hops. They're not showing any signs of it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Hops - Day 29

The hops are now at a size where I can't really fit photos of each into one split photo. So, here they are the individual photos from Day 29 a few days ago.

It's almost at the end of the twine.

Added a second line for the second sprout (center)
It's fun to look back to less than a month ago, on day 4, and see how far they've come. :)

This next photo concerns me a little. Some of the leaf edges appear to be dead, or dying. I inspected the leaves, particularly the underside, for any pests and couldn't see anything. (The specs on the leaves near the top of the photo is actually tree pollen that is everywhere right now.)

I'm keeping an eye on it to make sure it's not getting worse.

I don't know if I posted this next photo yet. It's actually about a week old.

I think these are the hops cones growing. They appear between each pair of leaves all the way up the bine. Some look bigger than this, but I didn't take an updated photo last night.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Growing Hops - Day 22

The hops are growing very well. Day 22 was on Sunday.

The one I nearly killed (on the right) has three sprouts now, although I don't think it shows in this photo that I took a few days ago. I have added a second training twine since.

Diagonal lines don't work as well as I had hoped. The hops naturally want to climb vertically, and need to be wound manually around the diagonal lines every so often. Unfortunately, I don't have the vertical space to run them straight up where I placed them. To their right, I do have a wall that could be ideal for it, but I'd need to build a trellis and find a way to support it without attaching it to the wall. I live in a townhouse and damaging walls (it's made of stone) is frowned upon.

My son has also been helping to make sure that they're training up the twine. Who knew he had a green thumb?