Plants – Cheap or Free

Free plant story #1: Last weekend, while doing my normal Craigslist cruising of the Farm and Garden section, I noticed someone who was willing to trade strawberry and raspberry starts for poppies. Well, our yard produces crazy amounts of poppies (and they’re pretty, if short-lived, when I forget to weed-whack them down.) So I dug up a couple of them and ended up getting a bunch of strawberries, rasberries, and as a bonus, a rhubarb start in exchange. Everyone wins – we were both just getting rid of plants that were getting out of control in our yards.

Free plant story #2: Last November we were in Leavenworth for Thanksgiving. On one of our walks I noticed an entire hillside covered with hops (the plant that adds the bitterness and aroma to beer). I stole away for a half hour and scavenged a bag full of hops, and though they were pretty brown, they smelled really good. My extreme-brewing brother Alex was all for doing an experiment with them, but my scientist-brewing brother Ian was appalled at the sight. A few months later they remained unused, so my laziness decided for me that it wasn’t a great move to brew with them, and into the compost pile they went.

However, I didn’t only harvest expired hops that day. I also pulled up a couple chunks of root (hops spread like crazy and any part of the plant that touches the ground will send down roots). Over the winter I had a couple pots with these roots sitting in the back yard, and they just started sprouting. I installed some wires for the hops to climb on the side of the house, and by the end of the summer they should be 15 feet in the air, ready to make some tasty beer.

1 Comment »

  • I’m happy to see the right thing happen: “into the compost pile they went” :)

    If you can figure out what kind of hops they are, I’ll help you brew a harvest ale with them.

    Comment | April 21, 2010

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