Spring is in full bloom here in New Zealand, with every inch of my being screaming “PLANT HOPS”! Thankfully, my partner Sophie was similarly excited, and with our new home’s garden essentially being a blank slate, I decided to get stuck in.
Christchurch has a pretty sweet homebrew scene that I’m starting to get more involved in, and I’ve found that many members of the local club are also keen hop-iculturists. Common varieties around here seem to be Riwaka and Cascade, I suppose being on the hardier side, and able to tolerate the occasional Spring frost. In exchange for a bottle of my (very tasty) perry, my first hop plant made its way into my garden – a Riwaka in excellent condition. The friendly brewer had simply snipped off a lateral from his rapidly dividing mother plant, lightly covered with soil, and allowed to take root.
Having friends in the right places has also proved very helpful, and three hop plants recently arrived in my post from an unknown sender. Two plants were a double-up, so a spare made it to a friend’s garden, with one of each variety now planted out in mine.
Will keep you posted on how they get on. Here’s hoping for a big harvest late February!