Round Table Hops Bog Post – January 2015
Greetings, this is a long overdue update from Mike at Round Table Hops. I am writing to you from our finally finished greenhouse (!!) where I have spent a great deal of time in recent months. A welcomed upgrade from the basement that was previously doubling as RTH’s temporary growing space and hops nursery while the greenhouse was under construction. Now, our greenhouse is completed, our hops plants have been transported from there to here, their permanent home in Forest Lake, MN and we here at Round Table Hops could not be more enthusiastic about these exciting changes.
In the time leading up to the present, we have learned a lot about growing hops in small and less conventional environments and in this recent time we have been developing our own custom fertilization and IPM (Integrated Pest Management) programs that are tailored to fit our unique production methods/growing facility in order keep production at the highest levels possible in order to maximize our yields. One of the biggest obstacles when growing anything indoors is how to provide and recreate the things that plants require to live and thrive like sunlight, wind, water, nutrition, etc.
Our hops plants were originally brought inside from the outdoors in order to protect them from some excessively long periods of rain and to prevent any potential pest problems like fungal disease and insect infestations that may arise. Growing indoors doesn't always protect against these naturally occurring challenges either though. Sometimes, growing inside can actually exacerbate a problem because of the closer proximity between plants that is typical in a greenhouse and other indoor growing environments. This can cause diseases and pests to infect plants and spread at a faster rate than they would outdoors, but growing indoors has its benefits too.
Growing in an indoor controlled environment allows us to have control based on specific plant needs. It also provides some protection from any harsh elements that can slow down production and make a crop unsalable due to damage and poor quality.
Having had the temporary nursery indoors in a basement posed many challenges for us at RTH these last few months, but also allowed for us to monitor and test our hops thoroughly and fine-tune our production strategies in preparation for the big day that we all worked hard towards. Some of you attended our cold weather 'open house' and saw the hops in their new home in Forest Lake, which came on a mild snowy day in November. We appreciate your continued support of our team, and we are looking forward to our first harvest, so stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.
Stay warm, and drink local.
Mike, and the RTH Team