From the HBD Archive
Subject: Re: Hops
Date: 1992-05-26 17:16:00 GMT

Frank asks about hops in Illinois.

I live in Palos Hills "Star Trek XIII: Spock Plays Right Wing for the
Hawks" Illinois, and actually began writing this directly to Frank, but
then decided to post instead.

This year, your yield will be zero. Next year you can begin to expect
some yield. You will have to spray with Malathion, Diazanon or
(what I use this year) Sevin to keep the aphids at bay. Something else,
maybe slugs, are eating some of my leaves at night. I had considered
using Ladybugs to get the aphids, but that "something else" would have
eaten the leaves as they did last year, so I (regrettably) chose to go
the Chemistry route. Rabbits love hops too, the deer don't seem to
bother with them, but then the rabbit fencing I used may have kept them
away till the daylily leaves got tall enough for them to eat. You will
need to put some rabbit fencing around them.

They prefer to grow on string. I've given them 12.5 feet and some of the
shoots are already nearing the top. I may consider giving them more, but
I don't know how yet (I have some oaks in the way and the oaks get preferential
treatment.) This is only their second season. [By the way, John Bull Beer
makes a good slug bait -- the slugs like it a lot more than I do. If I
ever must drown in something, please let it be Kriek.]

Next spring, they hops will know when it's time for them to start. On
really cold nights (frost warning), I wrapped the hills, rabbit fencing
and all, with plastic sheets. Listen closely to the weather in the
spring. If the hops are just a few inches tall or so, just pour some
compost on them to keep them warm.

You say, "making sure the sun does not scortch..." I don't understand.
As long as you give them enough water, they will use all the sun you give
them. I give each plant about 6.25 gallons of water every morning via a
timer-controlled soaker hose. Water makes a big difference. Initially,
I gave each hill (4: Hallertauer, Hersbrucker, Nugget and Willamette)
three 1 foot coils of soaker hose for 15 minutes per day. I soon noticed
that the Willamette was doing much better than the Nugget, which was doing
better than the Hersbrucker, etc. I noticed that the soaker hose was
spewing more at the near end than at the far end (I should have known).
After re-arranging the hose to give the far-end hills more hose, the
growth rate seems to have evened out.

I use Ortho plant food (15-5-5, I believe), but some of the lower leaves
are developing yellow spots. I had planned to check my copy of Beecher
tonight to check what they are missing (Potassium, maybe?). I've been
using the vegetable rate, but maybe hops need more than carrots.


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