I decided to grow 8 different varieties as an experiment in our farm garden to see if there is enough vigor to consider expanding the enterprise to a 1 acre trellis system I will build this winter/Spring 2012. I planted Cascade, Chinook, Sterling, Mt Hood, Willamette, Nugget, Magnum, and Zeus varieties and have experienced different amounts of success, at least what can be deduced from a 1st year stand. No watering was done outside of mother natures blessings, with the exception of some hand watering during a brief dry spell and I am now watering the Zeus plants just so they can overwinter and possibly show some life next spring. This was done on purpose, both to get the roots going and to see what a non-irrigated stand would look like. By far my most successful varieties thus far are the Cascade, Mt Hood,Willamette, Nugget and Magnums. The Zeus rhizomes were planted to deeply I believe and I just don't think that the Sterling and Chinook like my climate/soil. I did add manure composted with straw to the bed as it was prepared for planting. Also, I waited way too long to get my trellis up. Planted the Rhizomes a little late on April 15th with nothing more than fiberglass electrical fencing posts as stakes for the plants to climb. I didn't get my trellis up until the end of June!!!!!!!! The vigorous bines had already grown up and fallen back on themselves by this time or I think some of these plants would be twice as high as they are now. Doing this on the side of a demanding career and just having our first baby has been a real challenge, but its been rewarding and I look forward to continuing on to see what I can make of it.
Here are a couple of pics, lots more in my gallery.
In the ground April 15th 2011:
Cascade at 1 month:
Cascade at 2.5 months or about 72 days:
Looking down the line from the Cascade: (Cascade, Chinook, Sterling, Mt Hood, Willamette, Nugget, Magnum)
Looking back up the line from the Magnum: