Two years in the ground, and my hop bines are finally starting to show some production.

At the beginning of the growing season, I transferred my three bines to a sunnier location in the backyard beneath an existing clothesline pole that I planned to use as the backbone of my trellis system. I trained the bines to grow vertically, using some metal garden stakes and strong twine to create a simple support structure tied to the top of the seven foot pole. From the pole, I then ran a series of thick pieces of clothesline to my garage, providing about 25 feet of additional runway for the bines to grow horizontally.

The idea seemed to work well, as the longest of the Cascade plant’s two stalky trunks has grown to about 18 feet so far this year. Small hop flowers are beginning to emerge from the winding runners, with a few legitimate cones taking shape. It’s a pretty cool feeling knowing that I’ll be able to harvest these guys and use in one of my own beers before the end of the year, perhaps in a fresh “wet hop” style pale ale.

Unfortunately, the Fuggle and Horizon bines haven’t fared as well, only reaching five or six feet with no flower production, which is in line with their growth last year. In fact, the Fuggle bine looks like it is nearly dead, with most of its yellowed leaves withered away to the point where it now more closely resembles Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.

I haven’t done a ton of research into it, but I suspect these species may be more temperamental than Cascade, as I really didn’t do much in the way of fertilizing (thus the yellowed leaves, likely an iron deficiency), and I watered only occasionally when Mother Nature hadn’t provided recent moisture. Anyone else growing these hops with any luck?

Some pictures from the weekend:

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