learning to string a hop garden

Learning to String a Hop Garden

Learning to string a hop garden is pretty straight forward once you learn the basic pattern and if you can knit this could be an advantage. Our mystery stringer this year is Rosie. learning to string a hop garden

It is unusual for us to have a lady hop stringer but not for any sexist reason.   On farms traditionally the men went to work and the women had the main responsibility of looking after the children.  Women could not put in a full day’s work but when they went banding this was perfectly suited for flexible working. It enabled them to be in the fields within school hours.  

So on this farm the men who worked here full time did the hop stringing and the women did the banding, each playing their part for the benefit of the whole – old fashion team work.

Now things are different, times have dramatically altered and there are no longer several men permanently working on the farm. For seasonal hop work we have help from family and friends, some friends from far afield.  This year Rosie asked to come hop stringing.  At first you need to concentrate but the picture below shows how to hold the string and goad perfectly to achieve the right tension.


The main difference? There were none other that the men put half-hitches on the top hooks to help hold the tension and Rosie as she was learning to string a hop garden put in twizzles!   Identical yes but twizzles are self explanatory and I think more picturesque.

The hop gardens may be strung  for this year but banding continues.  Who knows, maybe we will see a man banding one year?   This Pathe news clip shows the stringing and banding competitions that used to be run.

After all it’s where beer begins!


are hops good for you

Are Hops Good For You ?

Are hops good for you? Well it would appear to be the case in several ways, some quite obscure.   Their preservative qualities in beer have long been known, as well as hops providing the flavour and bittering qualities in a brew.  This bacteria inhibiting fact is well documented but did you know? I didn’t, that according to this website  if you marinade a steak for a week in beer this will apparently limit most of the carcinogens produced when the meat is fried.   That and possibly raising good cholesterol levels can only be seen by us beer lovers as forces for good health!  Many other websites make interesting reading on the health benefits derived from the hops in our beer.

hop garden as a faraday cage


hop garden as a faraday cageIn short the more hops in the beer, the happier the beer and perhaps best of all seemingly healthier for us?!!

After last nights storm I remembered we had been reliably informed by an amateur scientist that hop gardens will act as a Faraday Cage in a storm.  Are hops good for you? More than that, in a roundabout way a hop garden could allegedly save your life. We know never to stand under a tree in a thunder storm but if this science is correct, the safest place to be if

you are caught outside in a lightening storm would in a hop garden.  The wirework above you attached to the ground by metal anchors should protect you from a lightning hit.   One would still have had to be brave to try this out last night.

hop garden as a faraday cage

Another rather off beat aside about the usefulness of a hop garden was when a friend who is a radio ham once used our hop garden as a giant aerial and it worked! 

A bonus by product of the storm is that the rain will contain nitrogen.  Mild night temperatures and nitrogen enriched rain, a perfect combination to make the hops grow out.

are hops good for youAnother way hops are good for you is how they have been used for centuries in hop pillows to induce sleep.   Whether they relieve anxiety thereby making you drowsy or not I do not know.  But I rather suspect that anyone working for the hop-picking will be physically tired therefore they will naturally sleep well anyway.  If you do not help with the  hop harvest then dried hops can be bought from my shop throughout the year if you wish to make a hop pillow.

Are hops good for you? Whatever is true, whether you drink them or sniff them I wish you effortless Sweet Dreams.