19 May 2009

Freakin' Green Thumb I Ain't!?

Cold day in Cleveland... Didn't want to ride either, the cold made for a good excuse. That coupled with the fact that I had to figure out why $100 in hop rhizomes (of which I paid $0 for, it's just the principle) weren't growing. I still have to get the bathrooms painted to, but that is for another, preferably rainy, day. So... Came home, had dinner, and went outside to play Farmer Don.

So I went out to get some compost to mix into the soil when I realized that I had a great little Poison Ivy patch going! Yeah... Compost is awesome to grow things with. Seriously! Even the stuff that you don't want to grow. Strike one.

I got to the area where I planted the first hop bed. I was smart in the sense that I planted two areas figuring if one fails the other might thrive. That was a great idea. That's as far as it goes though. So I start digging up the planted area, the area where I used spent brewing grain as a natural way to compost. Problem was I didn't compost it first. Strike two. You see, if you don't compost it a couple things are bound to happen, both of which did. One, one of the various rodents indigenous to the Cleveland area came out of the woods to dig up and eat a good portion of the spent grain. Solved that problem quick, not sharing how. Two, spent grain is some tough stuff! You have to mill the grain before you use it, and the outer portion is some tough stuff. So, if you bury it without composting it first it doesn't break down, it just holds water, water which then causes mold growth, and eventually kills rhizomes. I guess those could technically be strikes three and four. For argument sake I won't though, thus I can continue with one more story.

So, I went to hop bed two. One out of four mounds has a plant growing. The only one growing is where I planted the entire root ball.
The rhizomes were a no go, and since it's been about a month I'm going to guess they're not coming up. Strike three. I don't know what the hell happened... Too deep, too much clay, I'm just not a green thumb? Your guess is as good as mine. I guess the bottom line is I have at least one hop plant thriving.
So, I guess the bottom line is this; if I ever do plant rhizomes again, which I likely will, I will start them in potting soil in a pot and transplant them. Furthermore, I will make sure I overly prep all of the soil ahead of time to make sure it is more than ready. By way ahead of time, I mean now... for next year!


yeahdog said...

It's been a while since I checked in, but I'm a big fan of this project! I was actually thinking the other day about whether or not hops would grow around here.

Cycling Phun said...

The short answer is they will grow anywhere... Like weeds. You can grow them in pots, if you don't have the room to plant them in beds. The bottom line is you need to use a sizable pot, and you need to make sure you have something for them to grow on.
It could be as simple as having the pots next to your house and running lines up to the roof-line, or getting 18-20' stakes and either running lines up the stake, or just having the plant climb up the stake. Just for reference this guy seems to have it right...

Bluenoser said...

I like this Phunster.


Cycling Phun said...

thank you B!
Three day weekend coming up! I'm sure to get some bike time...