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That Magic Moment For Growing Hops

When the sun came up this morning at 5:38am – everything changed here at the Rogue Farms Hopyard.

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We are now in that magical time of year, when the periods of daylight stretch beyond 15 hours, long enough to awaken the dormant growth hormones inside the bines.

The running season is here.

Timing Is Everything

Hops need lots of sun. But just as important is getting all that sun at the right time. It has to come during the growing season, and the days need to be extra long. When we cross that magical 15 hour threshold it’s like giving hops a sun rush that kicks in their natural growth hormones. You can only get these long days when you’re at the 45th parallel or beyond.

Hops can grow several inches a day. We call it the running season.

Hops Growing Collage web

The difference a month makes. To the left, the Hopyard in mid-May. Bines are about three feet high. To the right, the rows in mid-June. The bines are almost at the top of the strings – 18 feet above the ground!

It’s All About Terroir

But there’s more to it than long summer days. Like all plants, hops need rain. Once again, timing is important. Hops need the most rain during winter and spring, they need little rain during summer. Anyone who’s lived in Western Oregon knows that’s a pretty good description of the climate here.

This pattern of wet and cool, then dry and sunny, is set by the Oregon Coast Range. The Coast Range holds back most of the clouds and moisture during summer, creating a rain shadow over the Rogue Farms Hopyard that fits perfectly with our hops’ growing schedule.

Revolution Hop Harvest14 for web

By harvest time, the bines will stretch out 30 feet long, enough to go all the way up the strings and spread across the trellis wires.

Soil is important, too. Centuries of flooding in the Willamette Valley left us with rich, volcanic loamy soils that drain well. Good drainage is good for hops because they are susceptible to fungal disease. And if they’re going to grow fast, the hops will need nutrient filled dirt to help them sustain that growth rate and produce an abundant of cones.

If you want to watch some hops grow, and then drink the beer made with those hops, summer is the best time to visit the Rogue Farms Hopyard. We’re currently open every day of the week.

For more information about the seven varieties of aroma hops were grow at the Rogue Farms Hopyard, please click here.

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