Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!
Well, it’s “cheerio” to summer and hello to Fall. And boy does it feel like summer’s left us in a hurry! These last few days it’s been gloomy gray, socked in we are under a thick and sometimes drizzly marine layer.
Labor Day turns a new leaf here on the urban homestead. Letting summer be bygones we’ve jumped right into a flurry of Fall preparations. Tis “Harvest Time!”
This is our first year growing hops and we were pleased to see the vines just take off and start covering one of our arbors in a matter of months. I simply love the foliage and papery cones that cascade down. Of course, with the first year they say you won’t harvest enough to make your own hooch but no matter we already have a use for our 1 gallon bag harvest. We aren’t big beer drinkers anyhoo, sure we’ll have a bottle or two when friends come over but we really are planting hops for experience and summer shade. If we can – why not. Just another life skill to notch on the re-skill belt. Oh and we have this obsession of only planting edible and useful plants!
While the guys may be mulling over the brewing properties, I am actually more excited over the herbal properties of hops and will be making up some “Sleepy Time Pillows.” Combing the now drying hop cones with other scented herbs in the garden like mint, lavender, rose petals and more. Perhaps selling a few on the front porch farm stand?
Since it was the first time harvesting these highly aromatic cones ( though they looked ready to me) to make absolutely sure they were up to harvesting, we read a passage saying:
But how do you know when it is time to pick your hops and reap the rewards? It is best to determine the readiness for picking by feel and smell. If the cone is too green, it feels slightly damp to the touch and has a softness to its scales. If you squeeze the cone, it will stay compressed in your hand. A ready cone will feel papery and light. It will feel drier than a green cone, and some varieties take a lighter tone as they mature. If your hands quickly take up the smell and are slightly sticky due to the yellow powdery lupulin, that cone is ready for harvest. – Hops in the Backyard
Squeezing the lil cones (I thought they smelled slightly like pineapple) it sure felt papery light to me so we up and harvested the lot.
What do you look forward to doing, harvesting this fall?
Happy Harvest Ya’ll!