Slight depression and a lack of blog writing followed the demise of the ‘Louisiana Barley Project’ …but fear not, I have returned. All the rain that cursed my almost fully developed barely actually proved to be ideal for the dozen or so hop plants who were just beginning their 2015 journey. This is their story.
The old hop trellis which was destroyed during an early winter storm, this past fall, has been replaced. Since I was replacing the trellis I went ahead and upgraded the entire hop garden. This is the 3rd or 4th year growing these hops…some were replaced after year one but have managed to return to active duty each spring since. Not saying they all produce but growth has continued. After all hops don’t grow here, 30°44’ ; 91°14’, in south Louisiana or so I’m told.
The old Redwood tree post have been replaced with pressure treated 20’-4”x4” post buried 4’ into the ground… spaced roughly 35 linear feet. Angled 4’ support post were concreted into the ground and act as the anchoring system for the hop garden. The assumed weight of a mature hope plan is 30lbs +/- 12 hops = 300-360lbs. but keep in mind that weight is not factoring in wind and storm forces. These forces were not considered previously which is why I am assuming the previous trellis failed after a couple years. I am using an anti-stretch Paracord 750 as my main support with 300lb test nylon string running downward to allow for plant material growth.
The irrigation system comprises of a 35 gallon water tank with a 1 gallon per hour emitter located at each plants base. The tank sits 5’ in the air providing enough head pressure to release the water over a 24hr time period. It is assumed 75-80% of total annual hop water use occurs after mid-June with the greatest daily thirst amounts late July-early August. The majority of the roots are in the top 4’ of the soil…especially considering the native clay soils surrounding this Louisiana garden. Hops usually extract 50-60% of their water from the top 2’, but can extract water from 8’ or below depending on soil characteristics. Per Evans, R. 2003 Hop Management in water short periods hops overall use of water is around 30inches/year, depending on season. Lucky for these hops we are at 24” of water in just the last couple months.
By the way – I’ve got 6 Cascade plants and 6 or 7 Centennial. Historically, for me, Centennial produces way better than Cascade but then again I’ve got some friends in Baton Rouge who can’t pick all the Cascades they growth every year. Each person’s garden is different, soil is different, water plan is different, but we all love beer 🙂
http://hops.msu.edu/ If you’re in a research mood this link is a wealth of hop growing information; however sadly, it’s for northerners who don’t understand what we southern homebrewer’s have to do to grow fresh ingredients. But then again we can farm produce all year long….
Happy Gardening, Brewing, and Beer Consuming. I’ll see you soon.