Thursday, March 30, 2017

Deal Hop Farm - April Mailing

Rhizome at Martha Trust
We have been a little overwhelmed by the response we have had locally - We now have 126 gardens involved and looks like we will plant about 260 hop plants!

This includes a fantastic diversity of sites with clusters of growers on all the allotments locally, Walmer Castle Kitchen Garden, Ripple Steam Brewery, Martha Trust, Rippledown Centre, Pines Calyx Garden, One pre-school group, Just Reproach, Lighthouse,  Sea Café, Community gardens at the Landmark and Deal Rail Station, people sharing gardens, others sponsoring them at the community spaces plus many, many gardens around the Town. We have one auxiliary site now in France!

You can see what the Deal Hop Farm looks like at our Google Map

Thank you everyone for cooperating with the ordering & collecting system (and a special thank you to the volunteers on the stalls)

Key things for April:

1) Membership Survey
We are looking at ways to collect your thoughts & feedback - We will need to a similar survey in May & August to see where the hops are in the growing process to plan the harvest & brew.

We are using this to get your feedback on how you have found joining the Deal Hop Farm, to gauge numbers for the 6th April meeting, to see if people what to be involved in the organising side or if they want a tee-shirt!
So please have a go and let us know how you get on. The survey is online here

Thursday 6th April 6:30pm - The Alma, West Street Deal.
    We have our first General meeting with a Talk on the 'Humble Pint' by David Cliff of the Ripple Steam Brewery
    Chance to people to compare notes and meet others in the 'Farm'. We will have Hop Twine & pegs available.

     As well as the Talk we will do quick progress report. Free to members - Non-members £2.

3) Thursday 20th April 6:30pm - The BoHo (upstairs) Beach St Deal
     Our first Organisation meeting - These are open to all members.
     We need volunteers to plan the rest of the year. These include but not an exhaustive list:
  • Business & finance planning
  • Planning the Harvest
  • Planning the options on brewing
  • Developing a drying solution for the hops
  • Collection of hop related songs & memories
  • Develop a constitution for the group & usual officer roles
  • Plan the Oktoberfest
  • Communications & PR
  • Just to help generally
  • Chief Taster role
Please use the enclosed survey to flag up your interest/skills

4) Deal Hop Farm Tee Shirts
We have some samples of the tee shirts available. These are £10 each 'Fruit of loom' Softspun Tees, two styles 'Standard fit' and 'Women's tapered fit' sizes S-XXL. Please you the survey to let us know if you want one & if so the size.

5) April Growing Notes
Gill B's Rhizome with seaside mulch

  • By now your hop rhizome would have been planted (if not & you need further help/guidance please contact us asap)
  • Some of you may be seeing the first buds grow above the ground. Please don't worry if yours have not come up at this time - it could take until early May.
  • If buds are showing keep an eye on them and ensure they don't become snail/slug food. You can use a whole range of measures from beer traps, physically removing them, broken egg shells as well as organic commercial products. Key thing is to keep the area you are growing free from garden litter (dead leaves etc).
  • Once the buds have formed into Bines of about 10-15cm you will train them up the hop twine. We will be doing some 'Twiddling' workshops at the Landmark Garden on this in April and sending out more info during April.
  • Now is a good time to have finalised how the plants are going to be supported: Wall/fence trellis, horticultural wire, or larger structures.
  • Watering: Probably little if any to be done now. If you are growing in a container check weekly how moist the soil is about two inches below the surface. Remember: Once the plant is growing always water the ground and not directly on the plant (bines), as could create the conditions for a couple of diseases to establish.
  • Feeding: Nothing to do at the present

Please post your Hop photos to the Facebook Group DealHopFarm or send them to us at

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