heerful music) Hello, and welcome to
Lifestyle Gardening. I’m Kim Todd and we’re so glad you could join us
for another show. We’ve got another great
program ready for you, including a look at a
commercial grower of hops here in Nebraska and an interview with
a local craft brewer. We’ll also be
helping new gardeners get a new garden space going with tips on removing turf. And our landscape
lesson this week is what to do with pine needles. To get started, let’s talk about an exciting
new crop here in Nebraska, hops. We took our cameras
out to Plattsmouth, to the Nebraska Hop Yards, where we heard about the
challenges of growing hops in our state. – One of the reasons why we
looked at getting into hops was because of
what was happening with commodity in
Nebraska today. My husband’s a third generation row crop farmer and we started to look
at different things that we could grow, as opposed to just
corn and beans. Part of our market research showed that craft brewing– With the craze that was
going on with craft brewing, the brewers needed to
have hops to support that, so they also wanted to
have local ingredients. So in addition to
the trade shows and conferences that we went to, we also did some
marketing analysis to support the efforts that
we were putting into place. They’re saying
that craft brewing continues to grow
in the numbers. The regular beer that
we’re all used to drinking when we were growing up like Budweiser, and
Millers, and Coors, the younger generation doesn’t have the
allegiance to those beers that we did. They wanna see where their
ingredients come from, they wanna be able to
create new recipes, they wanna be able to be
a part of what is going on with the brewing. We started last
year with 2.5 acres and 23 varieties, to see what would grow
well in the state. What’s disease resistant,
pest resistant, and drought resistant. We’re also very
interested in expanding the growth throughout
the state of Nebraska and different
regions that we have. We believe that hops
will grow really well in the Panhandle area, because they don’t have
the humidity that we have. But we also found great results with some of the varieties here in the eastern
part of the state. The process for harvesting is that we actually take
some of our wet hops and through the Water
Sciences Department, we’ve been working
with Dan Snow. They’re able to
take the wet hops and give us feedback on the alphas and the betas. The alphas and the
betas are the most important part of the hop. And that’s what the brewers use to identify the IBUs for brewing in their recipes. Then we would go ahead
and cut the binds. We’d get them run
through the harvester. There’s a 7 to 10 day window, when those hops are optimal for their alphas and betas. Once we know that
we’ve in that window, we will go ahead and get
our schedule together. We start early in the morning, because once the hops are cut, there’s a short amount of time. They’re 80% water and they start to
oxidize very fast. So you really have to
have your team ready, you’ve gotta have your
harvesting equipment ready, and you also have to have
your drying equipment ready. But the equipment
that you’ll see today would be used for
a small grower. The Wolf 170 can support 15
acres in a harvest season. And then we are also
working on a prototype dryer that we have with the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, that has an academic research
and development grant tied to it. And we are using the
prototype this harvest and then we’re hoping
to commercialize that piece of
equipment next year. One of the biggest challenges that we’ve found
with growing hops from a small scale is
the equipment barrier. There’s not a lot of
equipment for small harvesters or small dryers and that’s one of the reasons why we’re partnering
with the university on trying to see if we can help support new growers
with smaller equipment. Here at the Hop Yard, we have 23 varieties
that we’ve put in that are public. And then we also have
three wild hop varieties that we have found here
in the state of Nebraska. The challenge with having
different varieties is they all come to
harvest at different times. So to try to coordinate
all those varieties can be somewhat challenging. But the reason why we
have all the varieties is because we wanted to see what grows well in the state, what’s disease resistant,
pest resistant, and drought resistant. And what the Nebraska
brewers have told us is, don’t tell us what you can grow, tell us what grows
well here in the state, because if you can
grow it well here, we’ll adapt our recipes
or come up with recipes that fit the varieties
that you’re able to grow. – With the recent explosion
of craft brewers nationwide, it makes sense for
an agricultural state like Nebraska to
get into the game. Nebraska Extension is supporting this effort with research
projects of our own, which you might’ve seen this
summer on Backyard Farmer. We’ll be sure to keep you
up to date on growing hops both commercially and
in your own backyard. This season, we’re trying
to encourage new gardeners with basic tips on
getting started. Last week, we talked about soil and getting it ready
to install a garden. If you have is turf
in your backyard and you need a place
to get growing, you’ll first need to
get rid of that turf. That’s the topic of the
week on Go! Gardening. As part of our series
for beginning gardeners, we’re going to talk
about what happens if you want go garden and you’re dealing
with existing turf or what passes as turf. A couple of different
situations here, one of them being an
old bunched grass, probably a fescue, filled with both annual
and perennial weeds. Dandelions and
bindweed in particular. And we’re going to
use a different method of getting rid of that turf than we will on a really
beautifully established lawn. We talk about essentially
four or five different methods of getting rid of the turf. You can dig it or till it. You can use glyphosate
or another herbicide if you are into using
chemicals to get rid of it. You can solarize
or you can smother. In the situation where
you have perennial weeds or a lot of annual weeds, one of the things
that has happened is there is a seed bank that has likely been
built up in the soil. So if you think about that, if you kill and till, whether you are killing
with glyphosate first or you are tilling after
you kill with glyphosate, in either way, if you
are disturbing that soil, you’re bringing
that seed bank up. And you’re likely going to
be fighting those weeds, perennial and annual, for quite a while. So in this particular instance where we do have the
combination of broadleaf weeds and an old turf, we’re going to recommend a
couple of different options. One of them is solarization and solarization is best done with see-through plastic So think about
what happens there. The see-through plastic
allows the rays of the sun to heat up and kill
that particular turf. Now, you also think
about what happens if we use dark plastic or
something like a Slip ‘N Slide. In the heat of the summer, Slip ‘N Slide on your lawn regardless of what
its composition is, will really cause great damage. So you can do that as well. It’s not as
recommended as highly. The other is to
actually smother. And smothering the turf is
exactly what it sounds like. To smother the turf, we use newspaper, we use something
biodegradable like cardboard, that will actually
literally cut out the light from reaching that turf. If you want to convert
some well-managed turf that’s relatively weed free into your place-to-go garden, you have some other options. You can certainly still solarize or smother that turf, but you can also strip it. You can use a
chemical to begin with if you wanna kill the turf. If you don’t wanna do that, use something like
a sod stripper and that’s going to be easiest. A sod cutter will allow you to get that turf off the
soil surface mechanically. Or if it’s a small space
or you want the exercise, go ahead and use a
flat bladed spade. You cut the turf into some
sections that are manageable, you slip the blade
under the soil, under the surface of
the crown of the turf, and then you simply
peel that turf back. And then once you’ve
got that done, you can go ahead and dig, which is really not
something you wanna do with a turf that has a
big seed bank in it. What you do then is
you either dig by hand and chunk that soil
up very, very roughly and allow the freeze-thaw
action to do its thing. You can use a tiller, but again, ideally
you want big pieces, as opposed to a
very fine surface. In the spring of the year, if you’ve stripped the turf either mechanically or by hand, you may have some of the
rhizomatous little pieces of that turf grass come
back up into your garden. Pretty simple to
get rid of those. Again, you can either till or you can pull by hand. Or if you’re going
to mulch your garden, go ahead and mulch right over
the top and smother them. A weed and turf free area
means a lot less work weeding and keeping those
unwanted grasses from choking out your
vegetable or flowerbeds. Of course, these issues
are going to be reoccurring throughout the course of
your garden adventures, but it’s always best to
start with a clean slate. Growing things under pine trees can really be frustrating. The cones and needles
make a natural mulch that pretty much
blocks out everything. Don’t fret, though. You can use those
needles and cones for mulch in other places or you can put them
in the compost bin. And that’s the topic of this
week’s Landscape Lesson. We get a lot of questions
during Backyard Farmer about what to mulch with when we’re mulching
our landscape. We also get questions about
pine needles in particular and all of that stuff that
our good ol’ pine trees drop. The cones, the immature
cones, some little branches, and certainly the needle. This is a great example of
what happens as pines age. These are old Scots pines. And of course, they started
life as a little transplant, became a Christmas
tree, if you will, and then over time, they have
lost their lower branches. They still drop needles however and a lot of cones. And as you can see, they have created
for themselves, under their own canopy, a beautiful pine cone
and pine needle mulch. The upside of that is you
don’t have to use wood chips, the ground is covered
with the mulch, a lot of weed
suppression happens, and it’s certainly easy
in a condition like this to be able to see the
weeds that do pop up and then take care of them either by pulling
by hand or hoeing. Or if they’re
particularly persistent and you have to use a chemical, you certainly are
not having to spray or figure out what is
a weed and what is not. The downside of using
pine needles and cones as a mulch can be that this is where some of the spores of those nasty diseases of pines can overwinter. So if you are in a situation where you have
poor air movement, you know you’ve had some
of the pine diseases, you probably are not going to
want to use the pine needles and the cones as a mulch. In that case, you can
certainly rake them up. Put them in the compost pile, but know that it’s
going to take them quite a while to deteriorate. You can buy pine needles in bags or in bulk not very often and not
in very many locations in this part of the country, because it’s not
really a go-to mulch. It does become
something, however, that is great if you do
have it occurring naturally. You also need to know, though, that of course
every single year, those needles and those cones are going to drop, recharge the mulch
that is underneath. So if you have mulched with wood or you’ve mulched with kind
of a fine shredded material, you are going to end
up with pine needles dropping every single
year into the other mulch. If it were me and
these were mine, I would go ahead and use the
pine needles that are here. This is a spot where we
have good air circulation and air movement. So the likelihood of
these pines being diseased and having that inoculum in
the needles and the cones is pretty unlikely. Make sure you pay attention
to the health of the trees to determine if you’re
just going to let those cones and needles
lie where they fall. And again, they can be used as an ingredient
in your compost, it just might take
a little bit longer for those cones to break down. You know, we’ve taken
an in-depth look at hops last season
on Backyard Farmer and we heard about
a commercial grower here in Nebraska
earlier in the program. Right now, we’re going to
have a special treat for you as we talk to a local craft
brewer for Zipline Beer. Marcus Powers is our guest and we asked him, “What about Nebraska hops?” You know, there has been so
much interest in craft beers and in local foods. We thought it’d be really fun, especially since the
university is involved in hops, to hop right over to one
of our local breweries and talk to co-founder
Marcus Powers about just exactly
what does it take to be a craft brewery and try to figure out how
to use some local products. So Marcus, a local brewery, local products,
local ingredients. How exactly did you
get started doing this? – So when we started,
it was really important to us to use a lot of local
ingredients in our beer and one of the biggest surprises
to us was the challenge in finding quality
local ingredients that would work for beer. One of the first things we
thought about was grain. And grain is really difficult
because it has to be molted and molting facilities
don’t exist in Nebraska. And there’s a lot of, I guess, different types of barley,
and wheat, and oats, and they have different
growing regions, and it was something
we weren’t experts in, but kind of leaned on the local agricultural sector to bring
those ingredients to us. So one of the first
things we found was that we could have rolled wheat and rolled oats and rolled rye, just like you can buy in the
grocery store in little packs. We could buy them in bulk from a business in
Marquette, Nebraska. And so that was our first
forward into local ingredients. And then we started
looking at the hop market and there were some
new hop growers, but a lot of them were hobbyists and they didn’t know exactly what to do in terms of some
of the minute perfections we need in brewing, to dry the hops at
a specific level, to give us the testing, to know what the oil
levels are that we needed. Just the stuff that a hobbyist doesn’t really have
the funds to get into. And then it goes all the
way down to packaging ’em and oxygen-free containers. So hops was a little
difficult for us to find locally at a quality. We needed to sell products to people that we felt like
were of a high quality also. – Marcus, talk
about the backyard. I mean, Backyard Farmer
and Lifestyle Gardening is about people in
their own backyards. What is your connection to
craft beer in your own backyard? – I started in my garage
like a lot of brewers. And I kinda got a little crazy and built a bigger
and bigger system that was taking up
more and more room in our, well, both in our basement
and our garage. And I decided I kinda
wanted to figure out how to grow some of
my own ingredients. So of course I
ran a couple ropes up the side of our house
and planted some hops. I planted a bunch of
different raspberries and cherry bushes. There’s some weird
styles of beer that actually don’t use hops. It’s an old style called gruit. So I kinda got into
this whole like– I wanna try to make
as many ingredients happen in my
backyard for my beer to save money and also just because it’s fun to be able to grow something and then use it in that way. I figured out pretty that I’m
not a very good hop grower. And so, I never had a lot
of success with my own hops, so I’ve been hoping that
we can find somebody who knows more about that
in Nebraska than I do. – One of the things
about the tasting room is you don’t serve food and yet you have this
intriguing relationship between the tasting room and your nextdoor neighbor. Talk a little bit about that. – So, we’re sitting
in our second location and it’s called the
Beer Hall appropriately. We have these long
German style tables to bring people together. And one thing we’ve
really never got into was food, as you mentioned, just because food’s
not our expertise. We know how to make beer and run a brewery, but not on terms of
creating our own food and plates and the service
that goes with that. So we were really luck out here. Art & Soul is our neighbor and we really developed
a relationship where we help create
a small menu of items that kind of fit with
the beer mentality. It’s fun to be able
to have an opportunity to work with food and to be able to get people
using local products involved, besides beer, into our business, and whether that’s through
the pass-through window or whether we have a
popup catering outfit come in and use some
local ingredients, those are all great
options for us. – So on that note, we
wanna say thank you for letting us do this and we really do look forward to local brews made with some local
products potentially. – [Marcus] Thank you. – Growing hops in
Nebraska has really just taken off in the last few years. Nebraska Extension
is researching the
viability of growing our own hops varieties and as Marcus says, if the quality is there, you could be enjoying your
own Nebraska grown hops in a frosty mug sometime soon. Alrighty, let’s take
a few minutes now to answer our viewer email. We’d love to hear from you and perhaps you can share
a picture or two with us by sending an email
to [email protected], attached please, as a JPEG. We had a question from
the Council Bluffs area about Endless Summer hydrangeas. We get this one a lot
on the regular show. Chances are, we’re
going to keep getting this question about hydrangeas as long as they
are on the market. We have kind of a pet
name for them on occasion and that would be rather
than Endless Summer, which was the way it
was released originally as a hydrangea that
blooms beautifully blue and/or pink, depending
on the pH of your soil, for the entire season. Instead, we see it
being an endless bummer, meaning that it may bloom early, may not bloom again at all, may bloom with much
smaller flowers in subsequent years. And that’s actually what has
happened with this viewer. Beautiful foliage, a little bit of flowering now in the second, third,
fourth, fifth years, but not much. Realistically,
what has happened, that hydrangea was
bred for flower buds on both new wood, current
wood, and older wood. So if the plant
died to the ground as big leaf hydrangeas do
in this particular climate, you would still get flowering on that newer buds that would form
later in the season. Unfortunately, these
hydrangeas really need a lower pH, especially if
they’re going to stay blue. Most importantly,
they’re heavy feeders and they also need
a lot of moisture. One of the recommendations
that we might make is if you really want
to try to encourage those great big flowers. Instead of trying to grow
them in beds in the landscape, put them in containers. We have a tendency
as human beings to pay a little
bit more attention to what is in a
pot on the patio, rather than what is
out in the back 40. We had this particular
viewer send us a very strange
picture of carrots. She is kind of from the
northeast corner of the state and she has carrots that really don’t look very edible at all. They have split open. She talked about
in her question, which we really appreciate, she talked about the
growing environment. First off, she has grown
carrots in this location before. Her soil sounds like it’s
maybe a little bit heavy. She also is– She’s mulching
with a wood pellet that has a mineral
additive to it. It’s kind of the standard
bedding material. She’s also using chicken poop. And she did not say
anything about whether that is composted
chicken manure, but if it is not, we never recommend using
fresh manure in a garden. While composted
manure of any sort, especially if it’s weed free, is usually a great idea. But the fresh stuff can burn, it can release too much of the
wrong nutrients for the crop. Typically when carrots
splits like this, it is a matter of really
inconsistent watering. And when they really split open and they look kind
of fleshy or gooey, what’s likely to have happened is watering was
inconsistent during drought. No water applied at all and then all of a sudden, a lot of water. So those cells actually expand, grow a little bit too quickly. Essentially the skin
cracks or breaks and you’ve got sort of this
cracked carrot showing up. So first of, you wanna make sure you till quite deeply
for the carrots in enriched soil, a
well-drained soil. Make sure that you are
not putting down too much fertilizer at any one time. Nitrogen, NPK, a
balanced fertilizer
will work really well. But be consistent in your
watering practices with carrots. We have one more story to
tell you this afternoon and it focuses on an
easy way to solve erosion as well as planting
native ornamentals. Kay Kottas from Prairie Legacy is here to tell us all
about ornamental plant mats. – So what we’ve done is, we have pre-planted local ecotype vegetation into coir matting. And then we grow
this coir matting for a number of months, until the roots become
very well established. Then that allows us to
roll this matting material similar to what you
would a sod roll. We bring that to a site and then we install that. What that helps us do then is to get this
instant vegetation, so that we can outcompete weeds. And we don’t have to worry about waiting for
seeds to germinate, we don’t have to worry about
waiting for those seeds to actually go through some cold stratification process necessary to break dormancy. We’ve already done that
before we’ve sown the seed. And so, we get this
very instant garden. So this sort of thing is very beneficial if you, for instance, wanna establish
a pollinator garden, we have what we call
the pollinator patch. If you don’t know what
species are true natives and you don’t what species
are weeds, for instance, you don’t have to worry about
that with this prairie patch. We can just put this mat out and you know that
every plant in there is a plant that you
want to establish. And because they
already have roots, they establish very quickly. So why is that better
than just buying a plant and putting that in? Well, you get more plants
per square foot in this mat than you would get if you
wanted to put plants out. And in addition to that, you don’t have to worry
about mulching around it or somehow keeping
those weeds down and trying to figure out
which plants you wanna keep and which you don’t. Okay, so the mats
we’re about to put down have a couple of different
types of species. We have brought our upland mats, which we call the Prairie Patch. And we have also
brought our mesic mat. And so we have a little
bit different species mixed in each based on
the conditions of the soil that they’re gonna be placed in. So in the mesic mat, we have species such
as monkey flower, which has a very
good root system. So we have that nice
rhizomatous root system that will really
establish quickly and grab the soil. We also have some marsh fern. And these are both
native species. They’re a local ecotype. In addition to that, we have some liatris
pycnostachya, or some tall gayfeather. And all of these
are well established for mesic areas. So once we get this
matting material placed, we’ll wanna water
it in very good, so that those roots
will head for the soil. After that, though, this already comes in a mat. It’s got this coir
material around it. So it really acts very
much like a mulch, so we don’t need to mulch it, because it’s already got this
matting material around it that’s holding the
moisture in the soil, it’s keeping the
roots protected. In other instances, you might want to put
some matting material out to keep water from eroding
along a stream bank or down in a water garden. And in order to do that, you’ve got to either
sow the seeds out and then wait a year for
those seeds to get the proper climate conditions to
stratify and then germinate, or you can take something
that’s pre-vegetated, such as this and roll it out. And it’s going to be
a little bit cheaper than putting plants out. This isn’t really a
substitute for seeding and putting out
matting material, this is a substitute
for planting already established plants and trying to get
something that looks good weed free in a short
amount of time. – Ornamental mats like these are really a great way to get
something started quickly, which could benefit
gardeners old and new alike. These plants have proven
to be hardy for our area, so your chances at
success are pretty good. Thank you so much
for joining us again for Lifestyle Gardening. Next time, we’ll be taking
a look at making compost and we’ll hear more
about hops breeding here in the state. We’ll also see what’s being
done about cedar trees invading our prairies. Don’t forget to check
us out on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. So good afternoon,
good gardening, thanks for watching, and we’ll see you all next
time on Lifestyle Gardening.