Two questions about my hops..

Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:18 am

Good morning
I have three questions now...
1) My hops that I planted in march are doing well. I am getting some (more than I thought) cones here in my first year. The question is they only get about 4 to 5 hr. of derect sun a day how will this affect the hop.
2) How much do you water? I have two 2 G/H drip emmiters that I run for 2 hrs every 4 days. thats about 8G every 4 days. Is that to much?
3) What should I use and how often for fertalizer. I have been using a 5-1-1 fish emolsion about every month but have no idea what hops like for food.

Thanks
TimCA
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TimCA
 
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Re: Two questions about my hops..

Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:08 pm

1) Less direct sunlight will mean less growth, but it might not be even noticeable. Some varieties seem to grow better in partial shade, depending on how hot and dry the climate is.

2) A good rule of thumb is 2 gallons/day, but everyone's situation is different. Assuming the hops are in a sunny location with well draining soil, there is little consequence to overwatering other than it being wasteful. Here in WI with the decent summer rains we have had this year, I've only been watering my plants once every 2-3 days. I don't use any irrigation system, just water by hand from the hose until the soil is well moistened. Mulching the mound around the hops will help with water retention, as well as weeds.

3) Generally speaking, hops will need higher nitrogen during vegetative growth, and higher phosphorus during the reproductive phase (flowering). How much you use and of what type is a big question. IIRC, all of the guests on TBN hop growing shows have recommended bat guano. Other people use various manures or composts that they can get locally. Many more just use the bags of chemical fertilizer from the gardening center. When using natural stuff it's rather difficult to use too much, in my experience at least. Fertilizers you buy should have directions on the bag that will help you figure out how much to use and how often.

Personally, I mixed in high N slow release granules when I planted my rhizomes this spring, so I haven't had to do any feeding yet. But, I think I'll probably put down a bit of super phosphate now that the ladies have started flowering.
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Madtown Brew
 
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Re: Two questions about my hops..

Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:24 pm

No worries. Hops are resilient suckers. Keep them pesticided and a little watered and you'll be alright. Mine are like yours, only get sun for about 4 or 5 hours a day, but they still do awesome. My 4th year Hallertauer plant is the equivalent of about 25 feet high, and the 2nd year Cascade plant is around 17 feet. Both are producing cones like CRAZY this year. I think it's all the rain we've had. Water is good. I water them when they get pretty dry. Generally if it doesn't rain for about 4 or 5 days then I think about watering them. I feel the soil. If it's dry, time to water. If it's moist at all, I don't bother. If you're watering every 4 days for a few hours then you should be in great shape. I fertilize maybe 3 or 4 times a year -- no big whoop -- I just use the standard blue crystals in the green box (can't think of the brand name offhand). I see this as optional step -- I tend to think people overdo it on the fertilizer. Hops do okay with minimal help. What they really need is water, plenty of water, but they even do alright without a ton of water, too. But more is better.
Dave

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