It's coming up to harvest for my first season of hops (Chinook) and I'm really excited!
I've got a few questions regarding Propagating hops:
Firstly, once the vines are cut and hops collected, is it normal to keep the Rhizome in the ground until next season? or should it be dug up and kept out of the winter weather?
What time of year would you normally cut off smaller rhizomes for planting?
Again, what time of year would you plant 'cut-offs' into pots and such? I've seen some good "TODO's" for pot planting, though there was no mention of time.
Any suggestions would be awesome.
Take some cuttings: Cut a piece of stem or lateral long enough to have two sets of leaves with a couple of centimetres of bine either end past the leaves. Have a bucket of water to throw them in immediately after cutting them, don't let them dry out. Cut the bottom set of leaves off. Jab that end into some hormone growth powder. Jam in a glass of water. Keep water level topped up in a sunny position. Wait till little white rootlets are showing and have a bit of length, then shove that end into a pot of potting mix. Keep watered but not too wet. Possibly get about >50% that will grow into new plants. Do it now or just after you have harvested. Leave until winter after all of the bines have browned off. I did cuttings like this and they stayed green well after the adults had browned off.
Layer your bines: after you have harvested from a bine bend it over and bury several feet of it and then let the remaining end that is not buried to climb back up some thing. This will form roots and bine nodes where the leaves were. Leave until winter after all of the bines have browned off.
Mid to late Winter is when you dig them up to see what you have got to divide and spread them throughout your yard or in new pots ect. The main rhizome will have a crown with tuber-like roots that go down and some woody horizontal roots that have little white eyes on them like potatoes. Leave the tubers alone, they are no good to cut off and grow new plants. You want to cut off sections of the surface horizontal, woody roots with the eyes on them, these are the good ones to make new rhizomes. A section about 20cm long with a few eyes is all you need for a new rhizome. BUng it in the fridge for a bit but don't let it dry out. Wrapp in some damp newspaper in a plastic bag, don't let it get mouldy. When springs begins, plant out. Or just leave in the dirt and divide when you are ready to plant the divided bits elsewhere.
Leave them get a bit of winter weather, they actually need it. Folks in warmer areas will dig them up and put them in a fridge for a while to simulate this and stimulate them. You don't need to do that in Melb, ambient temps will be good for them. Yes it is normal to leave them in the ground in the cooler areas. Don't keep watering them i n winter or they will rot. Just let them keep moist but not wet. They like free draining areas not flooded areas.
Divide/ plant out mid to late winter or even early spring.
Why do you want to propogate them?
They exapand at an incredible rate. One little rhizome this year could potentially be split into a dozen next season. Or you could leave them where they are and marvel at the incredible spread and huge number of bines that come up next year.
The bines can travel horizontally and come up a metre or so away from the parent crown.
In the growing season, now, don't let them get too dry/heat struck. Water frequently during hot dry periods.
Chinook is great. Makes yummy beer, grows well, gives a good harvest. Seems like in Adelaide here it is a late starter but early to form usable cones.
Have you been reading the 2011 growing thread? http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...showtopic=51061
Or the wiki article on growing them? http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...showtopic=33296
If all else fails Poit, kick em in the coight.
Edit: you do not have to cut the bines to harvest the cones, that is just a convenience thing. Use a ladder to harvest the cones and let all the goodness in the bines get sucked back down into the roots as the bines dry off. When they are all brown and crusty then cut them back, or not, some folks don't cut them back at all. It is more of a tidying up the garden type of thing.