Fairbury, Illinois. – Hops are one of the key ingredients for beer production, and visitors to the Emancipation Brewing Company can see how the plant is grown for the next batch from the beer garden.
Hops are traditionally grown in the Northwest Pacific, but can also be successfully grown in the Midwest climate, but require more infrastructure than a typical backyard garden.
Hops are a perennial plant and after rooting can give for many years.
“Many of these plants in the Northwest Pacific are 50 years old, even more or less. As long as they are properly cared for, they will keep going, ”said Lincoln Slagel, who co-owns Emancipation Brewing with his father Don.
“They start like bushes. They have small prickly vines. From an agricultural point of view, you wait until they are established in the spring in the form of a bush and it will have shoots, and then you train the shoots. Here we use hemp cord because it is a little stronger than twine, and very fluffy, so it clings easily.
“Once they are established and you train them on the cords, you prune the remaining vines so that she puts all her efforts into these few shoots.”
Two threads are hung on each plant, and each sting has two vines.
Hops aren’t happy with “wet feet,” and Slagel is hoping for drip irrigation connected to a timer.
“They require a lot of small amounts of water. They don’t like it when they are flooded. They are also susceptible to various molds, so it is important to maintain the right amount of moisture so that they are not too wet, ”he said.
Slagel uses natural fertilizers. Hops are also sensitive to insects and require appropriate treatment a couple of times during the summer.
The plants grow to 18 to 22 feet in height to full maturity and grow side sleeves.
“All these individual sleeves grow out, which can then also bloom. The goal is to grow as many side weapons as possible, ”Slagel said.
“They are very similar to soy in many ways. What is good for soybeans in terms of weather is also good for hops.
“As they grow, they will bloom into cones. As the bumps develop and grow, they begin to produce powder, and that’s where all the flavor and aroma comes from. As the plant dries, a lot of flavor and aroma – this is what brewers are looking for – is concentrated in the powder in the middle of the hops. We harvest the cones and then, as a rule, dry them, grind them, put them on pallets and store them ”.
Slagel Farm is located in the country of corn and soybeans.
“We have a lot of farmers who have seen our hops and heard that we use ingredients from local sources, and have expressed a real interest in trying it,” Slagel said.
“The hardest thing about hops is getting them used to the strings. This is a manual task for each plant four times per plant, and even on a small farm you can have 10,000 plants. That’s 40,000 manholes that need to be taught.
“They sell hop harvesters, but even then they will have to go there with some device and cut the vines to fall into the combine. So it’s a very manual task. “
Tips for growing hops – AgriNews
Source link Tips for growing hops – AgriNews