It's the time of year when hops start having big ideas again. Two sunny days and they're OFF!
You may have heard about 'trimming the first gamey shoots', or 'removing the bull shoots' and not been clear which they are. Well, here's a photo.
The bull shoot is about 6 inches long where the others are barely an inch. In this photo, of a second year First Gold, there are two bullshoots that are both over half a foot. After this photograph was taken I cut them back to ground level in order to let the others grow. Eventually I will select only two or three of these to grow on, and snip back the rest.
Bull shoots are no good as the internodal distance, or gaps between the leaves are quite large. Seeing as the cones are produced here, in order to get a higher yield you need more nodes, which you get in the later shoots.
For now though, that is all you need to do with the hops. The second set of shoots will grow at a steadier pace, so you've nothing more to do this week.
Next job: Putting the bines to string.
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This picture was taken on 3rd April.