Don’t forget to string your hops!

It’s that time of year again when I nearly forget to string my Hallertauer hops at the allotment.

Looks like I only just managed to catch then this week before they got a bit too keen to work their way up the posts. The weather has really seen them shoot up:

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There are far too many bines so the aim is to train 2-3 bines per string. Time to rope the string up:

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The rope is coir, a natural coconut by-product, which has the right strength for providing support to the hop bines and plenty of texture for them to cling too on their way up (and across in my set up). I always forget to soak the coir so that it doesn’t slacken in the wet when it rains next, but I can always tie off the end again to take up the slack.

The coir is best fixed using really secure galvanized hooks to tie the ends off to:

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When the coir is tied off with a (very un-boy scout style) knot, these pegs can be screwed into the soil to get a really good purchase. The advantage with these is that you can tighten the coir if it does slacken in the rain, but you have to leave enough to screw in later, or you can reposition the peg further away before screwing back them back in.

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So that’s the stringing finished. It took about half an hour for this arrangement. Which allows for the right amount of growth height, but in an area where a 6-8 metre post is a problem.

There are plenty of bines this year so I hope to train 2 or 3 up each string and I “should” get an even better crop than last year.

It’s important to select 2/3 that are healthy, but will allow for the right amount of growth through the season to reach harvest. I may have to select two or three of the shorter bines, and sacrifice the first shoots to make sure that those chosen get the maximum number of days growth.

They grow clockwise, so over the following weeks I’ll train these up and across and keep nipping any unwanted shoots out.

Drying or using them up can be problem for me, so this year, weather / disease / pests / yields permitting, I aim to offer these as a “green hop” for any of the local home brewers (or commercial brewers for that matter) to use.

Here’s hoping for a good 2017 harvest.

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