Our Goal for this Blog

Over the years we have received and continue to receive numerous phone calls and emails asking many different farm related questions. Our thought is that we would try out a blog to keep people up to date on what we are doing here on Puterbaugh Farms and at Hops Direct.

We will just jump right into where we are at in the growing season with a very brief look at what it took to get the hops to the stage they are in now. If interest is actually shown and people are looking for more information we will continue through the winter and pick up the beginning next spring, which will allow everyone to get a feel for what a full crop year looks like from a hop grower's perspective and all of the many challenges involved. We hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Patience they are not ready yet.

I have been receiving more emails and have read on many forums that people are beginning to pick their hops. From most of the pictures I have seen posted they do not look mature, so be careful out there. Since our cones are almost developed at this point we will begin to start posting pictures of them so you can see what we are looking for to determine harvest times. But since harvest is still three weeks out for us it seems a little premature to start doing so. In our hop yards we like to see uniform timing of blooming and the formation of the cones so that the entire yard matures at the same time.

In our mature Centennial yard cones have already formed. Please note that although these look like fairly sizable cones we will not be harvesting for at least another 21 days, that is why I would stress patience to those who grow hops at home. Currently on our farm it looks at though the Centennials may actually jump the Cascades in harvest order this year.

On another note here is a picture of one of our super high alpha yards taken on July 28, 2008 (yesterday). As you may notice there are no cones forming, in fact we would be excited to see more leaves and laterals and foliage... This yard luckily will be one of the last ones harvested in our season (around September 24th) so it has a little bit of time to try to put in one last growth spurt.

Here is a picture of one of our sprayers at work in the morning. We use large usually 400-600 gallon Air Blast sprayers in our hop yards. Notice how there is coverage all the way from top to bottom (0-18 feet), as well as coverage through the rows to the sides. When spraying we drive down every row as the vines have a tendency to twist and turn a lot when they are getting pushed around by the air movement. Complete coverage is essential.


tracysrocket said...

I also have seen posts where people are beginning to pick cones, some in my area, and I thought it too soon.

I have always waited for the tinge of brownish-yellow on the cones in late August. Does the local climate determine anything about when to harvest, or are all hops on the same growth cycle no matter where they are?


Hopsdirect said...

Since we only know our area it is difficult to speak for others, but climate does play a role in the development of hops. Almost all of the major hop growing regions in the Northern Hemisphere harvest during the same period, Late August through the end of September.

I know that there are some varieties we raise here in Washington that they are unable to produce the same alpha acids on in Europe because their growing season is not long enough and the frost hits before the cones are mature enough.

If you were raising the same varieties in the US and in Europe the European one will usually be harvested about a week or two later.