Kegconnection Complete Starter Kit and More Giveaway!


Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Hops Growing > 100% homegrown

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 03-21-2012, 08:37 PM   #111
fifelee
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
fifelee's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Vaughn, MT
Posts: 1,102
Liked 33 Times on 24 Posts
Likes Given: 9

Default

Yes those are flowers. Look great.

__________________
fifelee is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-27-2012, 08:16 AM   #112
drummstikk
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Palo Alto
Posts: 252
Liked 24 Times on 18 Posts
Likes Given: 25

Default

Nothing to do now but wait for grain heads to fill.

Well, nothing to do except grow some hops! Over the past few months, working on the barley has been so new and different, that it was almost easy to forgot that I've only been working on 50% of my quest to make a 100% homegrown beer. (Well, 25% if you count homegrown water and yeast, but those parts are always homegrown, right?)

On to hops: I have 2-year-old vines of Columbus, Chinook, Glacier, and Cluster in my backyard, but I'm moving to another apartment. That means I have to transplant my hops if I want to take advantage of the growth in the root structure from last year. Even then it's hard to get all the smaller roots when you dig them up, but worth it. One positive aspect of the transplant is that this will be a great opportunity to plant them correctly in a permanent location on the farm, where even if I someday leave the Bay Area, another brave soul can take over the mature plants.

I got permission to plant hops along a south-facing chain link fence with access to drip irrigation.



There are some oaks on the north side of the fence, but the southern view is all clear -- really, it doesn't get better than this unless you build your own hop trellis in the middle of an open field. You can see the black irrigation tubing snaking along in the foreground.

First step was to pick sites and dig holes, 1-2 cubic feet each, for four transplants and five rhizome cuttings from Freshops. I've heard they dig holes much deeper and bigger on a hop farm, like maybe 9 cubic feet, but I kept my holes on the smaller side because of the amount of work required to dig by hand. (Where has my work ethic gone since the days of digging furrows across the entire field? I don't even want to dig nine wimpy holes now!)



Then fill up with compost



The compost is so loose that it easily compresses into the bottom of the hole. When you fill in the original dirt, it just makes a small mound, which is what you want to prevent water from pooling near the crown.



This transplanted Columbus plant has seen happier times.

Check out some of these rhizomes/roots of the 2nd year plants:



You can see the original rhizome cutting in this Glacier plant's root structure.

And this cluster plant is an absolute beast:



Transplanting ripped most of the smaller roots off of each plant, so I imagine the plants will grow slowly at first, sort of like a repeat of the first year.

__________________
drummstikk is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-28-2012, 12:06 AM   #113
drummstikk
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Palo Alto
Posts: 252
Liked 24 Times on 18 Posts
Likes Given: 25

Default

Alright then, nothing to do for the hops but wait a while. I could add some fertilizer, but I think they're still recovering from the shock of transplantation. Plus, there's rain this week, so I'll wait.

Back to barley! I have been noticing some strange flag leaves among the bere plants -- the leaf is all rolled up like an onion plant:



In the affected plants, the heads have a hard time emerging from this funky rolled-up leaf:





I had no idea what to make of this, but today when I was doing some light reading on frost susceptability in barley, I ran across an image on page 11 of this document. The photo showing injury from phenoxy herbicides matches my rolled flag leaves and cramped head exactly. It turns out that phenoxy herbicides include 2,4-D, which I did apply to the bere back in December!

A little more reading revealed that injury from 2,4-D depends on the species of grain (and presumably even the variety), but commonly occurs in two time periods -- during the boot stage, which some of the bere are in now (I haven't applied any 2,4-D recently), and before tillering, a much earlier stage when side stems formed. I did apply 2,4-D right at the beginning of tillering!

I applied 2,4-D on 12/23/2011, at 190.5 GDD, when the bere plants looked about like this:



Those are Conlon plants pictured, but according to my notes, the bere were at the same developmental stage -- very early tillering. I bet there were some bere plants that had not tillered yet, or that bere is simply more sensitive to 2,4-D injury than Conlon.

There could be other explanations -- insects can cause a similar disease. Russian wheat aphids can cause the same rolled onion-leaf with a trapped grain head, but their infestation also causes laminar discolorations in the plant leaves. I have some discoloration due to aphids, but not in a striped pattern:



and not even every onion-leafed bere plant has that spotty discoloration.

I did find an insect larvae in two of the heads that were trapped in a flag leaf. I pulled out the heads by hand and discovered in each one an insect lodged inside:



I pulled out 2-3 more trapped heads, but I didn't find an insect in any of them.

So what's going on? I don't know, and I'm pretty curious what this could be. I think I can narrow it down to injury from the 2,4-D being applied a little too early, or a strange insect (non-aphid) disease. I'm leaning toward 2,4-D, but one thing I've learned so far about farming is that a newbie can look at a disease phenotype and come to a completely different conclusion than somebody with more experience. So, any ideas?

__________________
drummstikk is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-30-2012, 08:48 AM   #114
drummstikk
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Palo Alto
Posts: 252
Liked 24 Times on 18 Posts
Likes Given: 25

Default

Half an inch of rain, and



Lodged -- just like the last rainy week. But this patch is about 3-4 times bigger than the last one.



Grain heads are upright, which is better than the alternative.

So it's either nutrient starvation or lodging with Conlon, huh? Wishing Johnny's seeds had had a few more varieties right about now...

__________________
drummstikk is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-04-2012, 02:55 AM   #115
drummstikk
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Palo Alto
Posts: 252
Liked 24 Times on 18 Posts
Likes Given: 25

Default

More rain, more lodging.



Both lodged patches expanded their area. But up close, you can tell that the grain heads and flag leaves are actually still off the ground:



Why is the lodging happening? Typically, lodging occurs if the plants get too much nitrogen, but that doesn't really seem to be the issue, since I likely underfertilized. Here's an idea: my plants get a brief watering every afternoon. This likely prevented their roots from growing very deep. Every time a serious rain shower comes along, the shallow roots can't hold on to the soggy soil, and they tip over. Sound reasonable?

I'm now at 1378 GDD since emergence. The developmental milestones from here on out have to do with kernel development, so I opened up a few kernels and peeked inside. I could see a big green ovary in there. Doesn't quite look like a grain yet, so I'm guessing my barley is "just starting to develop its kernels". That puts me still one week ahead of Merit.

* * *

Ok, I need to be out of this field by mid-May so corn for genetics research can come in. That's the whole point of this field after all. I've known I needed to be out by then for a long time, but now mid-May is around the corner. I'd like to get a better guess at whether I'll have enough time or not, so here goes:

I'll see how long it will take to accumulate the same Growth Degree Days that Merit had when it was at the first stage of ripening. It took 2730 GDD for Merit to get there. weather.com's GDD predictor says that we'll have that many GDD here on June 11!

June 11, not good. If that's true, the field will have to be plowed under while my under-ripe barley is on the stalk!

But, an Idaho summer is way hotter than one in northern California. And maybe after a certain temperature, extra heat doesn't really speed things up much. Maybe. If that's the case, then I should be looking at overall time it took Merit to ripen after it reached the stage my Conlon is at now.

It took five weeks for Merit to go from the stage my Conlon is at now until ripening. If it takes five more weeks for my crop to make the same progress, it will be done by the first week of May.

That wouldn't be bad at all, but we're still getting 37F nights here! My plants simply won't develop as fast as those plants did in Idaho when it's as cold as it is...

Oy, too much stress to think about -- on to hops.

Hop rhizomes are now mulched, and an automatic irrigation system is installed!



Once again, my field manager came through in a big way, and I was able to modify and plug into preexisting irrigation tubing. I installed one drip head per plant, and programmed 30 minutes of water per day in the afternoon -- frequent shallow watering for first year and transplanted hops. I can change it to less frequent but longer watering later in the summer when roots are more established.

__________________
drummstikk is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-04-2012, 04:52 AM   #116
bottlebomber
Feedback Score: 4 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: ukiah, CA
Posts: 14,246
Liked 2640 Times on 2068 Posts
Likes Given: 293

Default

I think the overwatering/shallow root theory sounds right. I've never grown barley but I've grown a lot of winter cover crops that need very little of any water. Buckwheat roots can go down 4 to 6 feet evidently. Buckwheat isn't actually a grain as it is in the rhubarb family but I'm sure there are similarities

__________________
bottlebomber is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-04-2012, 09:18 PM   #117
drummstikk
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Palo Alto
Posts: 252
Liked 24 Times on 18 Posts
Likes Given: 25

Default

Fife and others,

At what stage do you typically stop watering your malting barley? My grains at the bottom and top of heads are at the watery ripe stage, and in the middle of heads they are in milk stage.

If I stop watering now, I may be able to speed grain development, right? But if I stop too soon, the grains won't develop at all. Any thoughts on it?

__________________
drummstikk is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-05-2012, 02:14 AM   #118
fifelee
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
fifelee's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Vaughn, MT
Posts: 1,102
Liked 33 Times on 24 Posts
Likes Given: 9

Default

It needs water all they way up until the heads start to ripen or the kernels will shrivel and/or the plant will abort the late kernels. You likely have enough ground water now, but don't think you can just stop watering and it will ripen quicker. I wouldn't let it run out of water until you see the stalks really starting to change color.

I have a chart like this taped in my office. It is for wheat, but barley would be similar. You can see the plant uses quite a bit of water right up until the end.
http://www.smallgrains.org/springwh/...ater/water.htm

__________________
fifelee is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-05-2012, 11:05 AM   #119
KemP130
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Cobleskill, New York
Posts: 47
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bottlebomber
I think the overwatering/shallow root theory sounds right. I've never grown barley but I've grown a lot of winter cover crops that need very little of any water. Buckwheat roots can go down 4 to 6 feet evidently. Buckwheat isn't actually a grain as it is in the rhubarb family but I'm sure there are similarities
The shallow root theory is a very real possibility, when watered too frequently, roots do not penetrate as deep because the water is always at the surface two or so inches.
__________________
KemP130 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-12-2012, 01:01 AM   #120
drummstikk
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Palo Alto
Posts: 252
Liked 24 Times on 18 Posts
Likes Given: 25

Default

Ryan, thanks for the chart.

I purchased a Paul Brown soil moisture probe. It's not very complicated -- It's basically a steel rod with handles on the end. What you do is you shove it into the ground. When it hits dry soil, it gets really difficult / impossible to push. There is metal threading on the end to pull out a little bit of the soil at the bottom of the hole you made. If the soil looks dry, then you can be sure you're measuring the true moisture depth. If it looks wet, try again because you probably just hit a rock and couldn't push it any further.

It turns out I have 9-11" of moist soil in my field. This compares with something like a foot and a half in mulched areas near the field (I guess the transpiration through the plants, and total lack of mulch, reduces moisture in the field.)

Still trying to get an idea for how much water this actually is. For example -- if plants need .2 inches of water per day -- how many days will 9" in the soil last?

I imagine it depends on the type of soil. We've got a clay soil.

__________________
drummstikk is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Homegrown coriander Clonefarmer Hops Growing 10 06-24-2012 10:04 AM
Just used my first homegrown hops. Fingers Hops Growing 9 10-26-2009 10:44 PM
Using Homegrown Hops slayer84 Hops Growing 5 08-13-2009 02:07 AM
How do you use homegrown hops? HBRunner Hops Growing 18 06-29-2008 12:01 PM
Dry Hop with Homegrown? Smogre Hops Growing 5 03-19-2008 07:24 PM