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Old 02-19-2012, 11:07 PM   #1
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Default Spring hops growing prep reminder

This is not so much a question as a couple of reminders for some of the newer growers of hops.
First off, if you had bugs last year (you're lucky if you didn't), you should seriously consider a dormant oil spray by the second week of March. Most of the U.S. had a very mild winter without the extended cold temps that kill a lot of overwintering pests and their eggs. It will probably be a record year for aphids, mites, and loopers. Dormant oil sprays that are applied to DORMANT plants pre-season can kill a lot of these pests. (If you have questions about this you can Google it or ask away here) The idea is to start clean and stay clean. Aphids typically overwinter on nearby weeds -so remove them -even the dead ones cause they are loaded with eggs. Mites overwinter beneath bud scales and bark on nearby trees. Spruce and Cottonwood are two of their favs to hang out on. If you scout your yard, check the trees and shrubs that are typically the first to green up- pests have evolved to overwinter on these because they provide their first source of food.
Spray/soak any nearby evergreen shrubbery, trees (and trunks) that could be over wintering pests. A good spring clean up goes a long ways towards reducing your initial pest populations.
Second - if your ground is thawed, it is time to apply a light dressing of organic fertilizer. The idea is to "wake up" the soil microbes and get them rockin' so they are ready to break down the plant fertilizer you apply 3 to 4 weeks later. This app of fert is not intended to feed the plants; so a little goes a long ways don't use chemical based fert for this app - inorganic fert actually reduces the amount of soil microbes and most will just leach away because the soil is still too cool for the microbes to convert it.
If you have questions about these cultural practices, this thread is the place to ask - there are many very knowledgeable members on the forum who will respond Brew On!



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Old 02-19-2012, 11:47 PM   #2
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I have recently purchased some that should arrive in the near future. This will be my go round in sw Florida. Any suggestions that will avoid problems in the future.



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Old 02-20-2012, 12:03 AM   #3
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Thanks for the advice. For those of us who are planning on planting hops for the first time this year, is the risk of these critters already in our soil high enough that we should do this. And if so, should we add the spray before or after planting the hops?

I'll actually be passing through Zeeland later this week for work and plan to stop by and get a couple crowns. I'm sure that I'll have more than a few questions when I actually have a captive audience!

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Old 02-20-2012, 01:39 AM   #4
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Great info, thank you! This will be my 3rd growing season and I didn't know most of this stuff. THANKS!!!

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Old 02-20-2012, 02:33 AM   #5
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Ordered 6 Hop Starts from you guys planing on planting in pots for a year a two will i get a yard to put them in the ground. Any tips for me?

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Old 02-20-2012, 10:19 PM   #6
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Looking to get some crowns. How long till you can ship?

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Old 02-21-2012, 12:57 PM   #7
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The place to start on pest control is a good spring clean up. Aphids and mites eggs over winter on about anything, but they tend to move to plants/weeds that stay alive late into the fall and re-sprout early in the spring. Perennial weeds, in particular, are favs because the pests move down into the crown and even onto the roots to survive the cold winter temps. Fungus spores overwinter on the dead leaves and stems. So removing these gets rid of a lot of what is called inoculum - the starter material for the coming growing season.
Fertilizer, in general, is two types - organic (nature made) and inorganic (made by chemical synthesis and ground based minerals). The important difference between the two is that the inorganic types (your typical 12-12-12 granular) is composed of a lot of different salts. They are set up just like table salt sodium/chloride. Plants / microbes break apart the salts and use what they want. The remainder is left behind and can build up in the soil (especially containers) if rainwater doesn't leach them away. The "leftovers" do nasty stuff like shifting soil pH, blocking uptake of the good stuff, killing helpful microbes, dessicating root tips, etc.
Organic fertilizers tend to be a lot lower in the salt levels and more microbe friendly. That is why organic fertilizers should be considered in a growers strategy if they are growing hops in containers or soils with high alkalinity levels.

Let's all please try to stay on subject - I am posting here to help folks grow their hops better - not to sell stuff. If that is your interest, please private message me or go to my site. Thanks for understanding!

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Old 02-21-2012, 01:32 PM   #8
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Any tips for starting getting the area/soil ready for a completely new hop garden?

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Old 02-21-2012, 02:59 PM   #9
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my concern with applying dormant oil is that i live in a residential area with plenty of trees in my neighbors yards. our yards are long and narrrow = their trees are near my yard. my fear is that i'll do a good job of controling the nasties in my trees, but unless the neighbor sprays his trees which are 10 or 20 feet away it'll be all a waste. the bugs and/or diseases don't care about fences...

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Old 02-21-2012, 03:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cincybrewer View Post
Any tips for starting getting the area/soil ready for a completely new hop garden?
what is your soil like?

hops prefer a well-drained loamy soil. you can't go wrong by adding organic matter.


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What hops should I grow? Hop grower's comparison table

Drinking: a chocolate oatmeal stout, a belgian imperial stout, a Vertical Epic 09.09.09 clone
Fermenting: a split-batch belgian blond/saison
Aging: an oud bruin, a BDSA/Dubbel thingy, a soured Saison, my "Wild Oats" brett/sour, and some other stuff i can't think of at the moment...
Up next: who knows. maybe providing links to recipes for the above beers.
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