Hops have a special place in the heart of a homebrewing gardener. However, to be at their best, they need special care, especially during the winter. While most hops can survive winter by themselves, they will barely be healthy compared to how they would turn out if you had taken care of them.
Here is how to care for hops during winter:
- Cut them back- towards the end of growing, trim the hop bines and unwind them from your stringers. You can choose to wait until the bines die to cut them off. Alternatively, if you like making hop wreaths, you will need to cut them when green and plied.
- Break up the soil- if your hops have been in the garden for some seasons, the soil around the hops could be getting compacted. Thus, it would help if you considered breaking the topsoil. You can do so using a fork hand tool and a rake to rock the soil a little. Don’t try pulling up the soil and turning it.
- Add compost- add in a shovel or two of rich compost. If you have mulch, you can also pile organic mulch between 4 and 6 inches deep. Mulch not only adds in nutrients as it decomposes, but it also insulates the hops against temperature drop.