Hello Mucko Family Farm
We began our journey with the primary aim of growing hops. As a result Skull Gully Hops was born. While we really love this brand, as we began to broaden our farming ventures we felt we needed a whole of farm brand.
Unfortunately, this means we will retire the Skull Gully Hops brand.
It is not only the brand that is new though, so too is our hop yard. Our initial trial site for growing hops proved problematic. With poor soils, difficulty getting water and being highly exposed to winds, we took the decision after the failed 2019 harvest to move the hop yard to a different location on the property. We spent many months on soil preparation and trellis construction through the winter of 2019 prior to transplanting crowns from the Skull Gully yard and planting some new varieties purchased from other growers.
The new yard, located near to existing sheds on the properties, is watered from tanks fed off the sheds, but which could also be filled from dams nearby if necessary. These sheds also provide some shelter from the winds which can damage young bines and dry out flowers before they are ready.
After our all works at transplanting the yard, we were very encouraged by the yields achieve from the 2020 harvest. Many of the rhizomes were small, and quite a few did not survive, but after a cool and dry spring resulting in a slow start to the growing season, our per plant yield was well up on our first harvest in 2017. For 2021 we will be looking to consolidate the good start, fill in any gaps from, fix the trellis (it sagged a fair bit more than I expected under the weight of hops) and begin soil preparations for future rows. We'll also look at harvesting rhizomes during winter and, in spring, propagate new plants from cuttings, in readiness for planting prior to the 2021/22 growing season.
So while this is the end of Skull Gully Hops, it's a new and bright beginning for Hops from Mucko Family Farm,