After a very late winter, we are happy to be back working in the hops field again!
On April 18th we received 4" of snow! While it didn't last long, it is definitely later than normal for us to be getting started. The photo below shows the same field with photos taken about six hours apart.
Now is the time when we start "stringing hops". Stringing hops is the process of going through the field and adding strings to where each plant will soon be growing. Our trellis system is such that each plant will have a "V" of strings, so two strings per plant. For our original four acres this is roughly 8,500 strings!
Hops plants grow on a coconut coir string. This is kind of like a very rough and tough baling twine. It is all natural, but yet it stands up to the harsh conditions of almost six months of plants growing. Each of the strings is precut in 20' lengths, so there is plenty of extra for both tying and pinning.
We use what is known as a Cow Hitch Knot to secure the string to the top wire. After the first few hundred it is easy to do! I will admit, we tie them one by one.
Want to see the professionals? This video on YouTube shows a master. No joke. Skip ahead to the 2:05 mark in the video and watch him tie two at once, one in each hand. Its unbelievable!
The most difficult part of growing hops, in my opinion, it takes the right conditions with very little wind to get this done efficiently. In our area, these days are hard to find in the spring.
We are very fortunate to have a hardworking group of college students and friends who help make this daunting task possible.
Cedar Falls Hops Co. grows Iowa hops. Follow us on here to keep up with the newest progress in our fields.