Knee High In Hops And Other Beer Growing Tales

After some brilliant sunshine, several days of clouds and rain are coming in to the Rogue Farms Hopyard.

We could use the rain. This is one of the driest spring seasons ever.

So here’s where we stand with our four major crops, the very stuff you’ll be drinking soon in a Rogue Farms ale, lager, pilsner, mead and kolsch.

Seven Varieties of Aroma Hops


Rogue’s seven varieties of aroma hops are knee high and growing slowly – typical for this time of year. We’ve been drip irrigating the Hopyard for the past week or so. But if the rain comes as promised, we’ll turn off the water and let Mother Nature do her thing. Bine growth will increase dramatically over the next few weeks. When the daylight periods run longer than 15 hours, the bines grow several inches a day, several feet a week.

Dream Pumpkins


The field where we planted six acres of Dream pumpkins may look barren. But that will change when the first sprouts pop up in the next few days. Timing is crucial when irrigating pumpkins. We try to schedule it so that all the pumpkins mature at about the same time. As for Mother Nature and rain, she has her own ideas of timing which we’ve learned not to question.

Dream Rye


The 35 acres of Dream Rye are 2-3 feet tall, or thigh high as we like to call it. Still green and lush, they have another few feet of growing to do. We’re still waiting for heads to emerge. Harvest is probably two months out.

Risk™ and Dare™ Malting Barley


On the other side of the Cascades, at the Rogue Farms Barley Farm in Tygh Valley, we’re also hoping for and lusting after rain.

The Risk™ malting barley we planted last fall is in excellent shape. The crop is full height and heads have emerged from the boot leaves. Deep roots are helping the Risk™ malting barley go through this dry season.

Things are a little dicey for the Dare™ malting barley we planted in late March/early April. A dry spring is good for planting barley, but not for growing it. For that we need cool temperatures and moisture. We irrigated the Dare™ right from the beginning so that it’d have plenty of water to draw on during tillering.

A few days of rain would be especially welcome right about now.