What's Growing On?
We're in the heart of summer, and the Worthy gardens are looking fantastic! Other than a couple of hailstorms, central Oregon has been soaking us with nothing but sunshine and warmth. The hot weather has contributed to excellent growth in our second-year hops. Still one year away from fully mature plants, they reached the top of the 12-foot trellis in late June. All are now flowering and forming cones, and a few varieties – Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Meridian, and Wilamette – are just about ready to harvest. This year, Worthy has recruited a team of local volunteers to help harvest the hop cones, which will then be dried and vacuum packed into plastic bags for later use in experimental brews. We're looking forward to making some new signature beers with our own stash of hops.
The hot summer has also been good to our kitchen garden. The beds are bursting with fresh herbs, edible flowers, and summer spinach, all of which are harvested as needed and incorporated into weekly, garden-centric specials. The spicy, slightly licorice-flavored 'Purple Ruffles' basil is the absolute stand-out favorite of our cooks this year for stellar taste and unusual appearance. They've been using it in salad specials and on the wood-fired pizzas, getting nothing but pleasantly surprised responses from restaurant patrons.
In the hop yard, kitchen beds, and beer garden, we've been using a new fertilization technique that we are very excited about. It's compost tea! Mr. Yon Olson from Accelerated Organics has been applying the tea throughout the summer with impressive results. Compost tea is a concentrated liquid that contains all the beneficial microorganisms normally present in soil. Through repeated applications, the tea improves the biodiversity, health, and fertility of our garden beds – leading to more naturally lush and nutrient-rich plants. And with all the heavy foot traffic on our beer garden lawn, the tea is the only thing keeping it green! So thank you, Yon, for your ingenuity and hard work.
Back in the greenhouse, our hydroponic table has produced over 10 pounds of greens and herbs for the kitchen in its spring crop, including kale, chard, spinach, parsley, cilantro, basil, and marjoram. We shifted over to a summer crop about a month ago (habanero and mini bell peppers) that will be the next to find its way onto a Worthy dinner plate.
It's been a very productive summer here in our gardens, and we're so proud of the progress we've made since our opening in 2013. Come by and check the them out for yourself, and don't forget to keep an eye out for our hop harvest celebration in mid-September!