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Community Brew: Flowering Stage

Community Brew– Flowering Stage
I think it’s fair to say that with the weather so far this summer, we are set up for a bumper crop type of year. I can hardly keep my tomato plants tamed, and my neighbor across the street is the proud owner of truly the largest zucchini plant I have ever seen – I mean I’m scared to get too close to this thing for fear it might reach out and pull me in, as I presume it has gobbled up a neighbourhood cat or two in order to sustain its alarming growth. My neighbour has assured me of my safety, but I’ve seen the way its sinister leaves sway in the wind, menacing, limb-like.
Flesh-eating plants aside, our Adopt-a-Hop program has thus far been a great success. With your help, we have already raised over $1500 for Autism Behavioural Services. This number will continue to grow as more of our hops find their forever homes. It has been exciting for us to track their growth and progress through social media, as many of you have posted photos of your thriving hop plants. Please continue to do so, as we are now entering the exciting flowering stage of our hop growing process (and remember to use the hashtag #showusyourhops).

Above Image by @bnanzainsta
At this point in the summer, as our tomato plants begin fruiting, our hops too are just beginning to flower. By now, the vertical growth will have slowed, as the plant changes its focus to growing lateral shoots from the main bines. These shoots will produce burrs, which eventually develop into flowers and then cones. Look to the images below to see how far along your plant is in the flowering process.
Above left: burrs, Above right: early cone development
Harbouring patience while these cones develop and mature is the name of the game at this point, but here are a few other tips for this stage:
  • Continue to water your plant and be sure to not let it dry out
  • Water at the base instead of from the top, as excess moisture on the leaves can encourage rot and pests
  • In order to encourage optimal cone growth, you may choose to remove the first four feet of limbs and foliage
    • This will provide an increase in airflow, and decrease the risk of diseases and pests
    • If you do this, be careful not break or kink the main stem
You can adopt hop plants in The Ward Room for the next few weeks. They are a perennial plant so you will be able to plant them this year and enjoy their canopy coverage and fresh hop-smell for years to come!
Written by Jonathon Barraball 
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