Now that we've had a couple of "kill" frosts in Upstate NY it's time for our baby hop's to go to bed for the winter. Fortunately, a 65 degree Sunday came along to make my life a little more enjoyable and the job a little easier!
|Winterized Hop Yard - Fall 2012|
A shovel full of the Miller Gold compost mix (yard waste, coffee grinds from the office, and Miller food scraps) followed by 8-10" of wood chips and the hop hill's are nestled in nicely. We didn't cut the hop plants back this year since they were put in so late in the season, but in coming years we'll have harvested the main bines and cut back the plants a bit.
I visited a local hop farmer on Saturday who's actually trying to get out of the business due to a variety of reasons. He's got about 5 acres of 4 year old hop plants in a number of varieties. He claims 2012 was a very bad year for local hop farmers as a result of the ridiculous warmth we had in March this year followed by freezes. He claims 60% losses this year; not as much loss as others due to some precautions he took.
The covering of the hills that I did last weekend should prevent any problems associated with early growth. I won't pull back the wood chips until early May. I'll then cover them with some dried horse manure to give them that spring boost!
We keep brewing some great batches and are close to choosing our "top 3" that will be the first larger batches. Now we need to invest in some big brew pots and fermenters!
Thanks for coming by!