I got the hops from a friend at church, picked them up for me at eBrew (the wine/brew store in Charlotte). I didn't get around to planting them this morning, cause I was working so I stuck them in the 'root cellar'. Did I tell you about that? I dug a hole 18" in diameter and about 3 3.5' down. Put a few rocks in the bottom, and stuck a metal trash can inside with a lid. So I will use that for keeping my water cool, or like I did last night, I stuck the hop rhizomes (female root stock hops) in the bottom to keep cool since I could not plant this morning. Anyway, it stays below 60º in it, probably closer to 50º right now.
We stopped by Aldi today after work, I was hoping to get another hose. They did not have them, but they had raspberry plants, ever bearring for $6.19 with tax, for two plants. So, I thought it was a good buy, and raspberries are probably my FAVORITE berry. Though currants and gooseberries I am thinking might surpass them. :) Anyway, back to raspberries. I planted them on the fence.I planted both of them on it. I dug a pit pretty deep for the first one, and quite wide. Added 3 buckets of kitchen scraps, a shovel full of manure, mixed dirt on, and put bone meal that I had made. (I dried bones and used our old blender (doesn't hold liquids) to grind them up, worked well!) I put in a drain from the hole that I dug, as I am doing with all the plants I am planting on the fence. The drain for the apple tree goes down to a herb I have, the drain from niagara grape vine leads down to the comfrey I got. The drain right near the manure pile leads down to silverdollar, a ornamental plant of some sort I think. And the drain I put in under the mulch, that leads to the top deep bed where we planted onions. Well, it keeps the soil right there nice and moist. I love doing drains! I dig out a trench, put rocks in the bottom, and then sand on top, then soil on top of the sand.
Alright, hops. I got two kinds, Casecade and Mt. Hood. It sounds like I will get about 3lbs from each this year, but a lot more next year. And next year or the year after that I should be able to give you quite a few hop rhizomes and plant more my self!!!! Not only can hops be used for beer, but you can make tea, or even flavor wine with them. You add them fresh to a white wine and it gives it a nice flavor and aroma. Hops are only bitter when you boil them. Hops can grow up to 40+ ft high in one growing season! Though more tipically 25ft. I cut down branches from a poplar tree, and cut down one long one in particular, a 12ft long one, about 3 inches diameter at the bottom. I stripped it of branches and tied two strings to the top of it. I than dug a hole where I am planting them (really hard to explain where, best to show you when you come) and put the branch in the hole about 18" down, I put two rocks at the base and filled in with some dirt, tamped the dirt around the pole and than added more. I added two 5 gallon buckets of horse manure to the dirt around the hops (they need to be well fertilized). I did about the same for the other one. I am more than pleased with the hops, and look forward to a fun growing season with them. They should be really fun to watch and grow!
On Saturday my dad helped me finish up putting shingles on the back wall of the greenhouse. That should add a little more insulation this winter, and hopefully catch some sun and warm up the greenhouse. The peas in the greenhouse are flowering (4-5 plants) and I am hoping to get some pods pretty soon.
For more information on growing hops, go to: http://www.growinghopsyourself.com/ also do some searching around. I am planning on doing some research on the benefits of hops, if there are.