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Old 02-24-2012, 06:00 PM   #1
ASublimeDay
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Default When to Harvest (Indoors)

Those of you following my thread about growing indoors know that after 24 days of flowering, I've got 3/4 inch cones all over my bines.

Questions:

1-Is there a rule of thumb when to chop the whole bine? AKA are all cones ready around the same time (like the hops cousin), or is it like a tomato plant that produces continuously until the season ends?

2-If they are continuous producers, do you think if I keep them under a 12/12 light cycle, that they'll just continue to produce as long as I keep them fertilized/watered/well-lit? It'd be awesome to knock out the vegetative cycle and essentially have fresh hops on tap at all times. (Just toss a few ounces in the dehydrator a couple days before a brew and be good to go!)

3- If they are harvested all at once, they are SO tangled up with one another (nugget, chinook, and cascade), it'll be tough to tell the difference between varieties (cascade cones may be easy to spot because of their size). Would it be crazy to just toss them all into one big "hop salad" and use the three varieties at once for bittering, flavoring, aroma, and dry-hopping? I'd try to use mostly cascades for the aroma/dry-hopping. Thoughts? I guess I could try it once and if it works out, keep doing it. I'd hate to waste 5 gallons of beer, though.

Its pretty amazing to have this many cones of this size just 54 days after the crowns went into the ground (they were also in fall dormancy when they did).

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Old 02-24-2012, 06:40 PM   #2
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1. The simplest method is to flick a cone with your finger. It should snap off. If it doesn't, the cones aren't dry enough to harvest.
2. I think you are the pioneer on this, although some people have gotten two harvests outside.
3. It's not a bad combination for Pale Ales. My first year I made an 'All Harvest' Pale. It was a very dry year and I didn't have irrigation set up, so I had Nugget, Fuggles, Mt. Hood, Perle and Cascade in the mix. Mostly Cascade, they're like weeds.

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Old 02-24-2012, 06:42 PM   #3
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They won't produce continually. You might get some younger bines that finally get big enough to burr and those will be behind the rest, but once a bine flowers it's a done deal. After harvest, cut the bines back to the crown and re-vegetate.

As for when to pick, that's kind of a tuff one to answer. Experience is the best teacher. I don't grow any inside, but I have 5 plants outside. The cones don't mature all at once. I usually do two or three smaller harvests so that I can get most of the cones at peak maturity. It might be different indoors, I don't know. Best thing to do is pick a few cones once in a while as they mature and sqeeze/smell them. Then tear them apart and look at the lupulin glands. When they are ready to harvest, the cones get dry and papery to the touch (although they are not dry) they smell very intense aftter being squeezed and the lupulin glands will be bright yellow and swollen. Once the cones start to pass peak maturity, the bottom bracts of the cones will start to brown. I usually wait for a few cones to start browning before I begin to harvest.

Having dif varieties tangled up is a bit of a pain. You should be able to tell by smell if nothing else which is which. Once you smell and identify one, pick that bine, and then move on. After a while you should start picking up on the subtle differences of the cone appearance and only have to smell a cone every now and then to make sure you're on the right track. If a few get mixed together, it's not that big a deal,

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Old 02-24-2012, 07:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASublimeDay View Post
1-Is there a rule of thumb when to chop the whole bine? AKA are all cones ready around the same time (like the hops cousin), or is it like a tomato plant that produces continuously until the season ends?
i believe its somewhere in between - there are some flowers that are "late bloomers", so they'll be a maybe a week behind, but it's not like a tomato that can continually produce for over a month.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASublimeDay View Post
(Just toss a few ounces in the dehydrator a couple days before a brew and be good to go!)
you don't have to dry them, you can add 'em fresh. wet hopping!

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Originally Posted by BBL_Brewer View Post
After harvest, cut the bines back to the crown and re-vegetate.
i think you'll want to leave the bines whole, so the plant can send energy back down to the roots in preparation for "winter". on outdoor plants you want to leave the bines & leaves up after harvest under they die back naturally, don't see why this wouldn't be the case for indoors as well. slowly start cutting back the hours of light to further mimic fall (shortening of days). this will trigger the plants over-wintering defenses, which is its next phase after flowering.
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