Things are now in full swing at our hop yard at the Borderview Research Farm!
Last week, we sprayed Avenger, an organic herbicide (OMRI listed), to set back the weeds in preparation for mulch application. We will go back through and hand weed up close to the plants before applying the mulch near the end of the month.
This week, our big project is stringing the hopyard! Our planting density is between 622 and 872 plants per acre, and we tie 2 strings per plant. Our density is on the lower side because of the experimental layout for our hop research. Commercial yards are often closer to 1,000 plants per acre.
In preparation for training, we have an important BULL-etin for you: have you ever noticed that the first, most aggressive shoots that come up from your plants are different from the rest? These are called “bull shoots,” and are generally the first shoots to emerge. They tend to be stiffer, more brittle and more hollow than the bendy, softer regular shoots, and can sometimes be more purple in color. Bull shoots produce fewer sidearms than regular shoots and, therefore, yield fewer cones! Therefore, we recommend that you remove them by cutting them or yanking them out – they should yank out pretty easily. Removing the bull shoots will allow your hop plants to focus their energy on the secondary shoots, which have more frequent (close together) leaf nodes and therefore will produce more sidearms and more cones.
We’ll keep you posted on our progress. Until the next post, keep calm and hop on!