In 1557, Thomas Tusser provided us with “Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry.” While covering a range of diverse topics, he managed to slip in a little poem outlining tips for growing hops.
“Chuse soil for the hop, of rottenest mould,
Well dunged and wrought, as a garden plot should;
Not far from the water (but not overflowne),
This lesson well noted, is meet to be known.
The sun in the south, or else southly and west,
Is joy to the hop as a welcomed guest;
But wind in the north, or else northerly east,
To hop is as ill, as fray in a feast.”
The advice must have been good, as a whopping 310 years later a correspondent to The Canadian Farmer felt it important to remind hops farmers of the wisdom contained in the verse. Much of the discussion among Victorian hops farmers around the world centered on sheltering and manuring, as it was believed that soil quality and wind were the two main factors affecting the success of the harvest, as well as the susceptibility of the bines to mould and pests such as the much hated hops aphis.
On a side note, Thomas Tussler is probably best known today for contributing the proverb ” A fool and his money are soon parted.” You can read the full text of his book here with thanks to Google books!