Monday, March 23, 2009

Cascade Rhizome Update

Just a quick update on the cascade rhizome survival. When I cut it from the crown the beginning of the month, I was very interested to see how it would do no longer attached to the main plant for sustenance. As you can see from the pictures, it has done very well and looks as though it will fulfill its purpose, to replace the cascade plant I lost last year due to storms.

When measured this past weekend, there were approximately 10 shoots showing, with one of them about 3 feet tall! Now the decision is whether or not to separate the rhizome into a few different rhizomes before planting in the hop garden. If all goes well, I'll have to make that decision this coming weekend and get this thing planted.

Next on the to-do list, is to build a new hop trellis to support the expanded garden, and provide more room for the hops to grow vertically.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Grow-Hops Yahoo Group

After posting today about my rhizome experiment, I got a comment from Bill Velek, the curator of the Grow Hops Yahoo Group. The last time I posted about the Grow-Hops Yahoo group, it was associated with my posting about the hop plugger I built based on discussions from the group.

If your new to hop growing or home brewing, or just want more information regarding the 2 hobbies, check out the Grow-Hops Portal for a wealth of information, and all if it from other home brewers and hop growers!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rhizome Experiments - Successes & Failures

Spring is here, well it's trying anyway! Here in Oklahoma, we had days with highs in the 70s and low 80s, and a few days later it was snowing! This past weekend provided mild temperatures in the 50s with sunshine, perfect weather for spending time in the yard.

I decided to spend time pulling weeds from the hop garden and checking for rhizomes I tried to create. Admittedly, I had both success and failure but know how to make more rhizomes for next year. First, let's cover the success!

I was able to successfully create rhizomes in 2 ways:

1. During the growing season, take a bine that is growing above ground and bury a portion of it, leaving the tip above ground and allowing it to continue growing.

2. At the end of the season, leave a small amount of the lower bine attached to the crown and cover it with dirt. The buried bine needs to be healthy and approximately the same diameter as a dime at a minimum.

If you are planning on trying to create rhizomes during the growing season, it is best to get a start early in the season. The pictures below are of 2 rhizomes I created from my Goldings plant. The picture on the left is a bine that I buried early in the season, and was one I had growing up my main trellis. The picture on the right, is a bine I let grow to about 2 feet later in the growing season and buried it. I suspect they are both going to produce plants, but the diameter of the rhizome planted earlier in the season is about twice as large, and as you can see already has a more established root structure.

As for the failures....

I had several plants that I left lower bines attached and covered. In most instances, the bines I covered were small in diameter and they just did not produce any rhizomes. I also tried just taking cut bines and burying them in a trench. This did not produce any rhizomes either. I may try this trench method again this next year with larger diameter bines to see if it makes a difference.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cascade Rhizome!!!

Well, I couldn't stand not knowing what that growth was from. I was hoping it was due to my attempt to create some rhizomes to replace the cascade I lost due to storms last year, and to start new plants. If it survives.....

Using a small stick, I gently started digging away at the hop mound. I couldn't remember exactly how I had left the crown on this and didn't want to damage any of the plant. After about five minutes of labor, here is what I found:

This plant at the end of last season had one main bine with several offshoots as you can see. The main bine heading down into the ground is right at the center of the picture, so everything you see is the resulting rhizome!

So I trimmed the rhizome right at ground level and carefully replaced all the dirt mound on top of the remaining plant. The trimmed rhizome was then taken inside for a few more pictures and a replanting in a hanging basket for some pampering. Here's hoping it survives and I can plant it out in the garden at the end of March!

Here are a few more pictures of the rhizome: