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Thread: In the Hop Garden

  1. #221
    Pub researcher (unpaid) rpadam's Avatar
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    Default Some interesting differences (part 1)

    Another fine (if windy) evening, so after work we set off on a quest to find some more hops, and ending up seeing far more things to note than initially expected.
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    Firstly, these hops are growing up permanent open wire mesh panels rather than strings - greater capital expenditure, lower operational expenditure, but a right nuisance to harvest? Also, the growth is so patchy, with some bines already reaching the top well before the end of May but others barely above knee height, and it all looks rather unkempt, so is this a failed experiment?
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    However, right next door, there is a very tidy plot, with the footpath ideally placed for observers (if not the farmer) right through the middle - you couldn't be more "In the hop garden" if you tried! Getting this close, you also notice that each plant only has two strings rather than the usual four, which suggests that any loss of yield is more than offset by the lower manual labour input required?

    More from around here tomorrow....

  2. #222
    Pub researcher (unpaid) rpadam's Avatar
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    Default Some interesting differences (part 2)

    The hops shown in yesterday's post are taken to an oast on a nearby farm which also has its own hop gardens, with the ones visible from another footpath in the neighbouring parish also using the two-string system.
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    However, as more of a puzzle, there is another, much newer but less manicured large hop garden on the other side of the path, so whether this belongs to a different farmer isn't clear.
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  3. #223
    Pub researcher (unpaid) rpadam's Avatar
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    Default Some interesting differences (part 3)

    The "oast on a nearby farm" mentioned yesterday is here (if you look closely...):
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    Most obviously, you can see the two traditional white cowls mounted - rather incongruously - atop an anonymous modern shed. However, the structure to the right also has a ridge vent, suggesting that there may also be another oast here? Of course, one of the other buildings must also be the hop picking machine shed, but plenty of top fruit is grown here too, so some of them are probably pack-houses and/or cold stores for apples and pears.
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    On the way back, we also found the original oast on a third farm, now superseded by the above, with unusual louvred ventilators instead of cowls. All in all, an interesting and rewarding post-work walk.

  4. #224
    This Space For Hire Wittenden's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rpadam View Post
    Another fine (if windy) evening, so after work we set off on a quest to find some more hops, and ending up seeing far more things to note than initially expected.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Firstly, these hops are growing up permanent open wire mesh panels rather than strings - greater capital expenditure, lower operational expenditure, but a right nuisance to harvest? Also, the growth is so patchy, with some bines already reaching the top well before the end of May but others barely above knee height, and it all looks rather unkempt, so is this a failed experiment?
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	2318 Click image for larger version. 

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    However, right next door, there is a very tidy plot, with the footpath ideally placed for observers (if not the farmer) right through the middle - you couldn't be more "In the hop garden" if you tried! Getting this close, you also notice that each plant only has two strings rather than the usual four, which suggests that any loss of yield is more than offset by the lower manual labour input required?

    More from around here tomorrow....
    Not really sure about hop stringing, but I think the number of strings,2 vs 4, could determine eventual yield,so the grower manipulates productivity to meet terms of contracts that have been negotiated.Also, younger plants are nurtured on one or two strings in the early years.The saddest sight is unpicked hops left to blow,or surplus plants sprayed off and not strung.
    "Hedge hops" do tend to look scruffy this time of year,but they even up in time. I've not seen a mobile picking rig in action,despite some being grown fairly near by.
    "At that moment I would have given a kingdom, not for champagne or hock and soda, or hot coffee but for a glass of beer" Marquess Curzon of Kedlestone, Viceroy of India.

  5. #225
    Pub researcher (unpaid) rpadam's Avatar
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    Default Spoiler alert: art!

    I got rather side-tracked over the weekend with the ArtUK site which aims to display all the artworks in public collections across our 'united' kingdom.

    You can now 'curate' your own collection ranging from the obvious to the obscure, and bloggers Boak and Bailey starting things off with Pub Life in the 20th century.

    Inspired by this, I have had an initial go at Hops, hop-picking and oasthouses which includes a number of really interesting paintings (as well as a few duffers).

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