Apr 4, 2017
The countdown to growing season has a number. May 1st. That's when our hop rhizomes will arrive and be ready for planting.
All of the logistics we've undertaken in the past 6 months are coming together in the next 3 weeks. Poles are going in the ground this week. Cables are going up next week. Ground prep and irrigation install the week after and finally planting! We knew it was going to be a big push to make this year happen, but you never really know how big until it hits. The optimist in us always thinks it will go faster and be less expensive than it actually is.
Growing hops in Alberta is something brand new, and we're pioneers in that sense. What will Alberta hops bring to the beer equation? The ride to discover new flavors is an exciting one. We hope you'll enjoy discovering the Alberta difference with us.
Last week, we attended the Alberta Craft Brewers Convention in Red Deer where we met fantastic brewers and suppliers. We tasted some delicious beers, and heard inspiring speakers who talked about the history of the Better Beer Movement, the rapid growth of Alberta Beer, and the uncertain growth trajectory.
We had the opportunity to introduce the Alberta Hop Producers Association (albertahops.com) and tell out story.
Your questions were interesting. Many of the questions we don't yet have answers to, but as new growers bring production online we'll figure those out together. Will you sell to market individually, or collectively? Will you process your hops or sell whole only? Will there be Alberta straines of hops?
We're hgeading out to the field now. Sweaty, dirty, hard work is the menu for the next month. We'll share some updates as we move along. Cheers!
Oct 28, 2016
We had a successful weekend of Trellis installation despite the snow and cold.
We used recycled 2 7/8" drill stem, and anchored 5' lengths into the ground with the collar pointing up.
The balance of the drill stem was cut to 18' and turned vertically to thread into the collar in the ground. It was much easier to plumb a 5' length of pipe than a 22' one.
Prior to raising the pipe, we welded chain links and steel caps to the tops of the pipes. The chain links were to support the cables, and the caps to keep the rain out. A coat of rust paint was applied as our test plot is in the yard of the farm, and appearance is important.
We tried to raise the posts with a sling from the tractor, but found that we were unable to thread the pipe with the sling in place. Ultimately, we were able to manage the pipe with two people on the ground, and one from the man lift
Each of the lenghts of drill stem left us with 8' pieces which we used as cable anchors. We used a post pounder to drive them into the ground. These anchors received the same, cap, chain link and paint treatment.
Due to the soil conditions below 3', we were not able to drill our holes any deeper, so our finished post height ended up at 22' which made stringing the cables somewhat challanging.
First we installed the anchor cables, and then the long end cables, followed by the lateral cables for each row. It was slow going to begin with, but we found a system that worked with two people on the lift. An impact drill with socket was an essential tool for securing the cable clamps.
We used recycled 1/2" cable which we acquired from an elevator company who was replacing cables. It was heavier than we needed, but it was cheap. We bought 1800' in two spools for $500.
We spent two full days on the project. Day 1 was drilling holes and cementing posts. Day 2 was very full with welding, raising posts, pounding anchors, and stringing cable. A special thanks to Ashley the fence builder who pounded Anchors, Scott the welder who welded everything, and the W Lazy T ranch for the tractor!
We admired our work with several cold beers.
On the third day, we did site cleanup, and welcomed a brewing partner Outcast Brewing's Patrick and his family for a tour. They picked eggs, chased the chickens, and petted the goats.