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Old 08-03-2008, 11:36 PM   #1
tentacles
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Default Harvest time vs latitude/photo period

From what I've read, harvest time is more or less based on the length of day. Or rather, the length of daylight determines when the hop plant will switch from vertical to branching growth, and then to flowering. (Somewhat similarly to a rather closely related plant that isn't usually grown outside)

I've seen some pics of some hops that are farther along than mine, but his day length at time of post is 14h (and a handful of minutes) and my days are 15h (and a handful of minutes) long still. Mine have just started blooming. I read somewhere that they start blooming at about 15h day length, so mine would be right along schedule.

Here's some pics:



What I'd like to know is, how long after blooming until harvest? Other members at lower latitudes, please post your results. I'm at latitude 49° 53' North, and this other fellow (location listed as Havertown PA) is at 39.981° North.

If you add to the post please list your latitude and day length (just google "'your town' day length")

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Old 08-03-2008, 11:42 PM   #2
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From what I have read, you have to just gain experience as to when:

"Harvest
Because most hops are produced out of reach from the ground, it is safest to lower the vines in order to pick the hops. The harvest date varies with variety and location but will become evident as you gain experience as a hop grower. At maturity, the hop aroma is at its strongest and is measured by crushing a cone and smelling it. The yellow lupulin glands in the cone become much more evident and plump looking when magnified. The cone will develop a drier, papery feel and in some varieties a llighter color as it matures. Some browning of the lower bracts is a good sign of ripeness. Squeeze the cones as they develop and you will notice they become more light and resilient rather than green and hard. The actual picking is self-explanatory and this is where you want the flower cones, not the leaves. I don't know why raw hop cones are occasionally called leaf hops, when the idea is to not pick the leaves."

It's just like anything you grow, and in most cases if you grow more than one variety you can probably expect to be harvesting them at different times. Even two different vines of the same kind can have this happen as well. I grow a very diverse amount of vegetables and fruits and this is always the case. With your experiment you might be able to narrow it to like a 2 to 3 week window though.

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Old 08-04-2008, 12:38 AM   #3
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I think type has alot to do with it, too- my hallertauers are fully developed, and will be ready to pick soon. My cascades aren't even close- they are still in the flowering stage. They are in the same daylight, some soil, etc, but totally different plants. Now, I doubt that this is related to day length, but instead to variety.

Edit- I didn't follow your instructions to post my day length, because it doesn't seem to matter, but I'm around 14.5 hours of daylight. And around the 46th parallel.

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Old 08-04-2008, 12:57 AM   #4
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The specific day length when a plant starts to flower (and possibly when it is finished) will be related to the variety and even to the specific mother plant. But hops *are* a photo period flowering plant, which is why you can't grow them below (about) the 35th parallel without tricking the hops with an artificially longer day length (ie flood lights for a bit at night). I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of when everyone's plants start, approximately.

Here's an interesting post on hops and latitude/day length - he mentions succesful growing as far south as the 30th parallel. http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Rec/rec.crafts.brewing/2008-02/msg00378.html

Yooper, that's interesting as my cascade has just started blooming, maybe a few days ago. Days here get long.

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Old 08-05-2008, 01:27 PM   #5
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My fuggles have not bloomed yet but my Cascade are ready to be plucked really soon. I have about 5 or 6 pounds of Cascade and 1/2 # Fuggles, maybe.

Just goes to show different climates bring different hops.

- WW

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Old 08-05-2008, 09:59 PM   #6
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Interesting, the differences from around the country.

I'm in Southern Cal, supposedy at the southernmost boundary for successful hop growing. I have all first year plants, started in May. My "C" hops, Cascade (in particular), Crystal and Chinook all have lots of healthy cones. From all of the descriptions I've read, the Cascade are close to ready for harvest. All of my remaining plants; Fuggles, Goldings, Horizon, Hallertauer and Willamette, while healthy haven't even produced the start of a cone. My LHBS tells me a lot of the cooler weather British and German varieties just don't do well here. I'll try and post some pics soon.

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Old 08-06-2008, 04:49 AM   #7
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My ten year old Cascade have a lot of cones and some of them are starting to change to a lighter shade of green. They just started to smell and when crushed in hand, produce that signature Cascade smell. I will let them go another week or two and make sure they are ready. I hear there is a small window to pick in to get the hops at their peak. Anyone know the amount of days this usually runs? My Magnum has about thirty cones and has HUGE aroma. Probably pick those here quick.

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Old 08-06-2008, 01:59 PM   #8
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I think another factor will be when the plant was established. First year plants should not be included in this compilation because it could make a difference due to staggered maturity.

My Brewer's Gold is almost ready to harvest here at 40.9. All my other varieties are first year.

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Old 08-06-2008, 10:43 PM   #9
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Mine have just started to produce cones.

I'm at Latitude 47.51667 and daylight length is 14 hours 41 minutes.

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