Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hops, Morels and greens

Two and a half years ago I built a simple trellis and planted some hops that I purchased an Jung Garden Center in Fitchburg, WI.  I picked up four varieties, Cascade, Mt. Hood, Nugget, and Willamette.  The first year, as expected, did not see much of any growth.  During this time the hops got themselves established.  Last summer my Cascade was completely overrunning the trellis and I harvested a nice amount, but I was too busy with the roof to attend to the drying and curing and thus lost the harvest.

This spring, however, I am taking the task more seriously.  All four varieties have come back this season with a vengeance and I got a wild hair that my calling may be in raising hops, so I have taken to propagating these four varieties.

All four plants are going nuts and little shoots have popped up everywhere.  I have taken these and am trying two approaches to rooting them out.

Well, this idea didn't turn out so well.  You can propagate many plants by simply taking clippings or their shoots/suckers and put them in water.  Within a week or two they form roots!  Not so with hops it seems.  Or maybe some other condition wasn't right.  Regardless, I killed half a dozen decent shoots.

This next method of propagation I learned from reading a few articles online and so far it seems to make the hops shoots and cuttings very happy.  The mix is mostly perlite and vermiculite mixed with a little Foxfarm planting mix for nutrient.  If these babies all make it, I'll have 40 plus hops plants ready to put in this summer.  They won't be productive this summer, but they'll be in a good place to put on weight and hopefully bare fruit next season.

Everything else in the greenhouse is doing really well.  The grapes are really taking off and tiny little grape bundles have formed everywhere.

Kale and lettuce are all doing nicely.  We have begun thinning out this bed and replanting many kale in other free beds in the greenhouse and outside.


Kale, lettuce, thyme and .. lambs quarters??

Lillian found morels at Nana's place in New Glarus!  

And, of the last bit of news I would like to show you my latest creation, which is a honey mead that I just started last week.  There is about 16 pound of honey in this thing.  In about two weeks I will add about 15 pounds or so of juiced strawberries!  Then it will sit until after it has become winter .. the nearest this should be opened is probably New Years Eve .. better to wait a whole year!

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