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Old 06-24-2011, 07:22 PM   #1
cram
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Default two complete harvests in one season?

First post here--I couldn't find an answer in any searches...even on google!

Short version: Has anyone harvested, cut back to ground, and had a second growth cycle/harvest in one season?

Long version: Early this spring, I divided two Chinook crowns that were three years old in wine barrels and then transplanted the rhizomes into 24" containers and put the crowns in the ground. The rhizomes in the containers took off super early and super fast, about a month ahead of schedule compared to the crowns. Our early spring weather in so-Cal went from warm to unseasonably cool and I think it tricked the hops into developing flowers early, before the lateral side shoots emerged. Whereas my Chinooks in years past got 25'+ and yielded nearly 1lb dried/plant, these stopped at about 12' and had no lateral growth.

So now these first-year rhizomes have hops that are ready to harvest (the crowns, moved to a new spot, are 18' and haven't formed laterals or flowers yet, more of the typical pattern from years past). I am going to harvest this weekend and plan to cut them all the way back to start anew. My hope is that they'll come up again and follow a more typical growth pattern, albeit later than normal. However, I generally leave the plants up after harvesting in ~August and let the vegetation go into its winter slumber (i.e., frost kill) before cutting them back in early November, so I wonder how this shock of cutting the plants back to ground-level will affect the rhizomes...I guess there's only one way to find out! But still I wonder if anyone has had a similar experience to share.

Either way, I am now officially registered to HBT and will keep on with updates, pictures, too, when I finally justify ponying up the $25!

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Old 06-24-2011, 08:29 PM   #2
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let me preface by saying i'm a newb, but i've been reading a ton.
i doubt if they'll grow as fast the 2nd time around. by shooting up like they just did, the sapped a ton out of their rhizome. normally, at the end of the season, they then start storing more in the rhizome so they'll shoot back up next year. if you cut them right after they finish flowering, they won't store nearly as much energy for whenever they start growing again.

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Old 06-27-2011, 04:26 PM   #3
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Short Answer - yes with some varieities.

Long Answer - We get a dual harvest here with most all the high alpha varieities. Our Chinook, Brewers Gold, Nugget, and Liberty are always a dual harvest and we suspect that once the Santium, Sterling, Mt Hood and Spalt hit 3rd year they will be as well.
We have had the same issue with plants not getting as high as normal this year across all varieities. We have a bit more than 400 plants and will be expanding out to an acre this Feb and March. Not sure what the reason is...but this has also happened in NC with 5 other farms. No one seems to know exactly why all the hops have decided to be short this year but it seems they have.

That being said we have a lot of sidearm growth and all plants are in burr stage.

Just a note though if you are going to continue with a dual harvest practice...its best not to cut back all the way to the crown but leave a little greenery.

Our first harvest runs from May 28ish to June 14 at the latest and then we harvest again in August through September.

Cheers

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Old 06-28-2011, 02:06 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. My plan to harvest this past weekend got delayed. I figure that I have nothing really to lose by carrying out the experiment since they're first-year rhizomes.
I appreciate the tip (ctheis) of leaving a bit of greenery on the trim back--I will try that, as I had planned to hack them back to ground. As for the hops stopping shorter this year, I find it odd, too. Some of my Cascade plants are 20 ft. monsters with three and four foot laterals, and then another one will have stopped at 12-14 ft. and have no laterals. The short plants, though, got an earlier start, so I suspect that might be the reason why. Next year, I'm considering cutting everything back in May to avoid the potential quick start and poop-out that happened to a few plants this year...
Cheers!
--------
Edit: Harvested 13 oz. (wet) and will detail my cutback experiment in the next message. The pictures above are from the plants pre-harvest (note that they stopped at about 12-13 feet, far below the normal 20-25 feet they reached usually, and had ready hops about one month ahead of schedule.

dsc07867.jpg   dsc07874.jpg  
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Old 07-11-2011, 03:56 PM   #5
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So I ended up cutting back one of three plants completely, leaving a little greenery as ctheis suggested. There were already lower laterals that were starting to make a run to the top. While harvesting, I noticed that the other two Chinook plants each had one bine that hadn't sent out burrs yet and was still climbing, so I decided not to cut these plants back because I couldn't distinguish which bine was the one still growing upward from the bottom of the plant.

So this will be an experiment with regard to second harvests. One plant was cut back after harvest to start from the beginning. Two plants were harvested but left up, and new shoots at the base were strung on new strings. Currently all are making a race toward the top. It will be interesting to see how high they get and comparative yields.

The pictures below show one plant with the actively growing bine going past the point where the other ones stopped. The second picture shows the new growth at the base of the plant that was trained up new lines.

dsc07892.jpg   dsc07868.jpg  
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:06 PM   #6
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Here's the latest as they looked today. You can see that the new bines are making healthy progress. As of now, I don't notice a distance in vigor or growth between the plant completely cut back (the one closest in the picture) and the ones left standing. All new bines are growing at pretty much the same pace. I suspect there will be some differences as time goes by and they reach the point of flowering.

The goal is to figure out whether it's better to cut back a plant all the way back to encourage a second harvest, or leave things as they are and select a couple promising laterals to go up again.

dsc07967.jpg   dsc07966.jpg  
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Old 05-24-2012, 05:30 PM   #7
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how did this work? I have some cascade going right now that hit between 12-16 ft and now some of the bines have burs at the tips and have stopped growing. But all the bines are flowering with minimal, but present, side growth starting. Im hoping to get a double harvest but im wondering how to approach this.

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Old 05-24-2012, 06:04 PM   #8
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Yeah, last year was interesting with those plants. They were first year plants cut from some three year-old Chinook that outgrew their wine barrel planters. The "rhizomes," were more like crowns in that they were the choice cuttings from the crowns. These Chinook plants on years previous would hit the top of the pole and then I'd train them across the guy line, so they were growing 25-30 feet easily. But last year they stalled out short and formed burrs/cones early, so I thought about doing a not very scientific experiment to see what would yield a better second harvest between cutting them all the way back to ground or leaving them up and training the new growth. Honestly, both methods yielded about the same amount of hops--so there wasn't a clear winner. What I can say, though, is that the plant that I didn't cut back last year is off to a better start this year than the other two--it's a total beast--the bines look thick enough to be snakes and I have no doubt that they'll hit the top of the pole this year. I didn't even put them on lines until the first week of May and some bines are already 12 feet without any lateral growth yet...I can't wait to see the yields from this year!

With such an early harvest as you're set to have, I can't imagine not having a second harvest. If it were me, I'd leave the plants up after harvesting them, run new lines for the new runners to climb without tangling in the old ones, and train three or four of the thickest laterals from the bottom three feet of each plant (or from the soil if new bines emerge from the crown).

With regard to training the laterals, I think it's better to trim off one side, as opposed to letting both sides go up. Let them grow 6-12 inches to see which side looks like the best candidate to climb and then hack off the lesser one. Also, return to higher nitrogen ferts after harvest to restart and provide nutrients for veg growth. I could've done more of that last year, instead I just added homemade compost.

I harvested three times off those first-year Chinook plants last year. Granted, yields were not huge (maybe a total of 10-12 oz. dry from the three plants) but it certainly provided a challenge to those folks who say that first-year or multiple harvests aren't possible. Good luck and keep us posted.

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Old 05-24-2012, 10:24 PM   #9
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Sounds good. I trained them up a trellis then horizontally across my lattice fencing around my deck. This way I wouldnt have to cut the bines to harvest. I only have one plant grown from a 2nd or 3rd year crown. So should I only train up the best 2-3 side arms or just let em go since they will have alot of space?

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Old 05-25-2012, 12:11 AM   #10
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I don't think you can expect too much of a harvest the second+ time around, so I doubt it would matter too much if you thin them out or let them all go. I'd wait to see what happens with the secondary growth after you harvest before deciding but I'm of the opinion that focusing the energy on a few would allow more energy to go toward hop production. Plus, you might be after more than just cone production if you're using the plants to go around lattice on a deck...which might be an argument for letting it all go. For me, part of the fun is just trying things out, making some notes, and learning from the process...

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