Category Archives: Gardening

Growing Hops!

I purchase some hops from Great Lakes Hops this past week. It’s a little late in the season to plant them, but hopefully next year they’ll be ready to go!

I ordered them on Thursday, Great Lakes says they ship orders on Mondays to reduce the amount of time the plants spend in the shipping container. They arrived two days later on Tuesday. The container was packed to the brim with rice hulls. Great Lakes says they help maintain the moisture the plants have while they are in transit. The plants were nice and green and the roots looked healthy.

Each individual plant (I ordered 6 total) is wrapped in a plastic bag with a rubber band around the roots to keep the bag on.

The plants all laid out and ready for planting.

I tilled up a patch of earth of the plants to go into. I ordered three different types and I planted them in pairs along the backyard fence. I amended the Indiana clay soil with peat moss, top soil, and composted manure.

Each plant will have its own trellis to grow up. I don’t have the setup for a vertical trellis, so the plants will grow along the fence suspended by eye screws and twine.

For the first two week the plants need to be hardened off. I’ll be placing a white cone over each plant to help them get acquainted with the sun.

I’ll keep this post updated as they grow!

Hot Composting with only leaves and coffee grounds

I started a compost pile this spring with all the leaves that fell on the ground. The pile is 4′ around and 4′ tall. I went to Starbucks, who has a “coffee for gardeners” program and asked for all their spent coffee grounds. I gathered up around 50 pounds from 2 different stores. I wasn’t sure what to ask for, just “do you have any spent coffee grounds you’re throwing away?” Both locations promptly emptied their trash cans, tied the bags, and handed me huge bags of coffee grounds.

I shredded the leaves, sprinkled the coffee grounds in and watered the pile as I built it up. After 24 hours, even with huge rain storms pummeling the pile for the past 24 hours, we’re still cooking!

I tried to use my laser temperature gun, but I couldn’t dig down in the pile far enough to get to the hot zone. I’d dig down as far as I could but would only register temperatures around 80 degrees F. I instead used the REOTEMP FG20P Compost Thermometer. It’s 24 inches long and allowed me to stick it straight into the heart of the pile to get the core temperature without disturbing anything! I thought to myself “Matt, $25 is quite a bit to spend on a thermometer”, but it’s stainless steel construction, long probe, and fast response time has made me a believer. It will quickly tell me if it’s time to turn the pile.

Products used in this post: