The hop harvest may be well and truly over but everything is still amazingly green out in the garden despite the long dry spell over the summer months.
Believe it or not, the cut down hop bine plants are still growing, producing fresh shoots and leaves. However as the autumn nights are becoming longer and certainly cooler, with the threat of a little overnight frost, this should encourage the hops to retreat back underground to rest and preserve their energy. Ideally over winter, the rootstock should remain dormant below the surface.
But it is never as easy as that! The tenacious, perennial hop plants will not give up so easily, so a little persuasion is necessary in the form of “hop dressing”.
This is the traditional way to manage the crop whereby the hop plants are cut down to the level of the earth to dupe them into hibernation until spring. Currently all the bines are still allowing this year’s “goodness” to slowly run down the bore of the stem directly back into the crown, just below the hop hill. This will take another month at least.
Once again Matthew will be calling on the mighty services of all the Hogs Back Hoppers to help during the Hop Dressing Season. Operations will commence on Monday 14th November. Last year, Matthew and the Hoppers volunteers cleared the entire garden in less than a fortnight, so the standard has been set!
So if you fancy a few hours of outdoor activity, with like-minded individuals, then get in touch. It is mainly low level work, which will involve crouching. Good sturdy footwear and warm/wet weather gear advised. 9am – 1pm Monday to Friday, but if you fancy an afternoon session, you will be welcome.
Matthew has a plentiful supply of gloves and secateurs, as well as some liquid refreshment!
Find out more about our legendary Hogs Back Hoppers and sign up if you are interested!