When we first moved to Pennsylvania in 2000, we began brewing our own beer and joined a local home-brewing club to learn more. The Henrys, who didn't live far from us, gave us several hop rhizomes. We planted them but by the time they had begun producing hop flowers in the quantities we needed, our beer-brewing days had ceased.
The vines have been more of an ornamental, trailing up and over (and into) the outhouse and wrapping around the mailbox. Last year they got so invasive, I cut back the ones by the road and let the goats eat down the vigorous plants by the outhouse.
Ralph had been talking to a few home-brewers who lamented the increasing shortages of organic hops so he's decided to work with the vines this year and get a hop harvest. Knowing that the vines can reach up to twenty feet, he rigged a line approximately fifteen feet up into the cherry tree from the mailbox for the Cascades by the road. On one side of the outhouse, he's put to use our neighbors' old clothesline (thanks, Gary & Ginny!) and on the other, he's built a ten-foot tall trellis out of pipe and parts salvaged from a chain-link fence and dog kennel. Go Ralph!
Come harvest time, keep an eye out on the blog to see when we'll be taking our organically grown hops (no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides) to the Carlisle Central Farmers Market in downtown Carlisle.