Thursday, January 19, 2012

Getting Ready for the 2012 Hop Season

Are you ready for our next growing season? Time to order supplies, take soil samples for testing, and plan any changes you may want to make in your hop yards.
We enjoyed a great workshop last week in Morganton--thank you Appalachian State for sponsoring it, and thanks, Jeanine, for presenting the hop information. It was a great opportunity to hear what others are doing. With that in mind, I hope growers will follow and contribute to this blog. We can all learn by sharing information and experiences.
A question that's been on my mind lately is: what material is best for the lines used for growing the bines. We've used sisal in the past, and while we've not had any problems with breakage, it stretches and shrinks a lot, resulting in a good bit of slack at times. On our windy site, young bines get blown around quite a bit. I know many growers in the Pacific NW use coconut coir. Does it stretch less? Has anyone ever used poly bailing twine? What are your thoughts?
I hope those of you who follow the blog will encourage other growers to do the same, and to join our guild. Good luck -- Here's hoping that the 2012 hop season will be the best yet.
-Rita & John, Blue Ridge Hops