The Sustainability Team has been growing hops for several years now. As the hops start to flourish in the spring sunshine across campus, here’s a whirlwind photo tour of our on-campus hop-growing adventures!
We grow four varieties of hops, East Kent Goldings, Brambling Cross, Early Prolific and Canterbury White Bine, which are located between Fleming and Moore buildings.
To our knowledge, Early Prolific and Canterbury White Bine are not grown anywhere else!
This year a new plantation has been started, next to the new Verena Holmes building, using cuttings from our existing plants. The Grounds and Gardens team have been instrumental in getting this project started, helping us to cut and place the poles and plant the cuttings.
With the arrival of spring, the hops are sending out new shoots which grow very quickly into climbing “Bines”. This cluster is looking VERY promising!
By late summer they should look something like this!
The ground around the hops is weeded regularly, but some “weeds” are allowed to remain because they are popular with bees. Biodiversity is important at CCCU, and encouraging a range of pollinators is part of this initiative.
When you return to campus, you might notice this on the bank between Old Sessions House and Verena Holmes…
This is the start of our new vineyard, currently awaiting the arrival of the grapes. These will be of historical varieties, including the Wrotham Pinot which has been in Kent since the Roman occupation. Maybe, in a couple of years we will be producing a wine to go alongside our ale, and hopefully our bee friends will give us a helping hand!
Each year we produce a wonderful Green Hop Ale, and this year’s brew, Hop Picker’s Tipple, is currently available from Touchdown if you’d like to try a taste of our local heritage and hand-picked hops.
by John Hills, Sustainability Projects Officer