I am in the midst of year two of my hops growing adventure, and just wanted to say how rewarding it is!
Last year I harvested enough to brew a few batches, all varieties took, and it was a blast.
This year? Wow!
So man things... I am loving coming home from work in the evenings, and seeing how different they are this year compared to last. I am loving it lately being able to go to a few different varieties and waft the wonderful smell of the fresh hops on the vine... the list goes on....
Then tonight I just did some "maintenance" on my garden, and it is just such a rush. I have two plants of six varieties in their second year (Nugget, Cascade, Magnum, Spalt, Sterling, Northern Brewer), a crystal and willamette in their second year, and two santiam in their fist.
I planted a bunch because I read you never know how they will acclimate to your particular climate by region, and even to your specific micro-climate as it is affected in your garden by different sun,wind, exposure, what have you.
Well my Nugget is going GANGBUSTERS! I really need to snap some pics. My cascade is crazy too, and it and my magnum all have HUGE cones, and squeezing them to see how mature they are are just leaving the greatest aroma on my hands when I am done!
But it is funny the kind of lessons I am learning too, and the differences in all of the plants.
Some varieties are considered "early" season, and some "late". And I realize some shoot up faster, slower, etc. I also realize things bloomed REALLY early here in central PA so this will probably be an atypical season.
Nevertheless, it really is crazy how hops can vary dramatically in different micro-climates, even the same variety; for instance, I have two 2nd year sterling plants spaced 3 feet apart-- one has gone gang busters and outgrew my trellis whereas the second one three feet away has been SLOW and is just now starting to really climb. Both plants same soil/compost/manure mixture, watering, and feedings.
Another I realize, but is crazy to see in action, is until your plants reach full maturity (season 3) RDWHAHB! They do crazy things. My 2nd year Northern Brewer (2 plants) maxed out at about 18 inches last year. A month ago all of my other 2nd year were going crazy and the NB were at the same 12-18 inch plateau and I was already planning on yanking them out, but told myself I need to see how they do next season when they reach maturity (3rd year). However, now they are 6-8 feet and starting to shoot out burrs. I am definitely leaving them and again, will not make my decision until after next season on them.
Lastly, my two spalt plants (another noble like your tett) maxed out around 4-5 feet last year and yielded literally one handful of cones. This year they started out really slow in relation to most of my other varieties, and now they have overgrown my trellis, and are bursting with burrs/cones.
So that is a long-winded way of saying RDWHAHB, water/feed them all the same, and don't make a decision until after year 3!
And my new Santiam seems puny by the 2nd year standards at ~4 feet, but I need to remember where all of the other plants were last year at this time. I still have a a solid 8 weeks of growth time left!
I just had a great night in the hop garden, made even better by my 6 year old son helping me and hanging out with me, and wanted to share.
Also, just hope this might inspire some first year growers, or those considering it in the future.
So go for it, or keep going!
Just my .02