A Good Harvest of the Devil's Lettuce

2018-10-15 - Louis-Philippe Véronneau

Hop cones layed out for drying

You might have heard that Canada's legalising marijuana in 2 days. Even though I think it's a pretty good idea, this post is not about pot, but about another type of Devil's Lettuce: hops.

As we all know, homebrewing beer is a gateway into growing hops, a highly suspicious activity that attracts only marginals and deviants. Happy to say I've been successfully growing hops for two years now and this year's harvest has been bountiful.

Two years ago, I planted two hops plants, one chinook and one triple pearl. A year prior to this I had tried to grow a cascade plant in a container on my balcony, but it didn't work out well. This time I got around to plant the rhizomes in the ground under my balcony and had the bines grow on ropes.

Although I've been having trouble with the triple pearl (the soil where I live is thick and heavy clay - not the best for hops), the chinook has been growing pretty well.

Closeup of my chinook hops on the bines

Harvest time is always fun and before taking the bines down, I didn't know how much cones I would get this year. I'd say compared to last year, I tripled my yield. With some luck (and better soil), I should be able to get my triple pearl to produce cones next year.

Here a nice poem about the usefulness of hops written by Thomas Tusser in 1557:

      The hop for his profit I thus do exalt,
      It strengtheneth drink and it flavoureth malt;
      And being well-brewed long kept it will last,
      And drawing abide, if ye draw not too fast.

So remember kids, don't drink and upload and if you decide to grow some of the Devil's Lettuce, make sure you use it to flavoureth malt and not your joint. The ones waging war on drugs might not like it.