Thursday, 24 January 2013

Hop to it....
Propagating Hops using the green cutting technique

Lets start the new year with some projects to get everyone motivated.

First up lets increase the number of hop plants you have in your the backyard.

By using the green cutting technique you can conveniently increase the number of plants you have by simply cutting off a few of the lateral shoots that your established plants will be forming at the moment or if you have a new hop plant then the first year of growth probably won’t produce to may cones so why not take advantage of these lateral shoots. There’s plenty of documentation on the net with different approaches so I’ll keep this simple and show you the approach I take which usually has a success rate of lets say 75%.

Already I can hear some say that it’s just as easy to divide the hop rhizomes during winter but hey it’s summer and if it gets you out the back and into the garden and you have an alternative to planting those Tommy Toe heirloom tomatoes then it’s productive. Plants propagated this way will usually be able to produce a good crop the following year as opposed to a new rhizome that will need some time to establish itself.

Prepare your seedling pots with a good commercial rooting mixture or make up a mixture of peat moss, sand and vermiculite (I read that somewhere - probably Zymurgy).

Now find these lateral shoots that are extending themselves from a pair of leaves.

Make sure that there are at least three sets of leaves on the shoot which should measure no more that six inched long. With a sharp sterile knife or scissors (flame it on the stove is the easiest way), cut just below the last pair of leaves.  Carefully cut off the last set of leaves and your left with a shoot with two growing pairs of leaves, a growing tip and a bottom portion just below the nods from where you’ve just cut.  Most of the stuff I’ve read indicated that a diagonal cut at the base is desirable but I ‘m not fussed if my eyesight wavers and I cut straight.


Spray the exposed cutting with some mist then cover the end with some cutting powder (steroid hormone or honey which is supposed to act the same way) and place into the potting mix at least a half inch deep but be sure that the remaining leaves do not touch the soil.

Spray the entire cutting with a fine mist and place your pots into one of those seedling
containers that you see at various gardening suppliers.  Repeat the spraying of the mist every morning and evening and if you do succumb to very hot weather then spray when needed.

Be sure that the container is expose to natural ambient light but not in direct sunlight and you’ll be surprised that within a few weeks you’ll see the root system protruding from the base of your pots.  At this stage you can transfer the new plants into larger pots and cover the plants with a cut down plastic bottle to maintain the warm and humid conditions that it’s been use to in the seedling container.

Water them daily and there’s no harm in spraying them with mist as well and you’ll be able to
remove the covering when you feel the plant has hardened up enough to be fully exposed to direct sunlight. The odd dose of seasol now and again, add a stack for when the plant wants to go skyward and your done.

So what have we learnt - well if you were to get on your bike and visit your mates now, then you could easily increase the varieties of hops that you have growing in your backyard without any harm to the host plant.

I’m tempted to tell you a story of enjoying a pint at a brewery a few years back and being told that they were growing Citra out the back but I’d only be incriminating myself and it’s a long drawn out story as it is so I’ll leave that for another day.

As a postscript,  I’ll conduct a quick demonstration of all of the above at our next meeting.



Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Testicle Beer

In the interest of gender equality (see my earlier post about brewing beer with vagina yeast) here's a story about beer made with testicles!