Charlie returned recently from faraway conquests, and I can confirm that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Or was it the hop rhizomes he brought me that I mistook for love? These particular roots — Chinook and Wilamette — come from the garden of a northerly friend, from parent vines that have long produced delicious homebrew.

As always most of the work preceded the actual planting. First was site selection, and the options were limited. Next came soil prep; in one spot Charlie strangely found himself chipping through a thick plate of subterranean concrete. But we were committed, sunlight being so scarce around here, and did the best we could with ten gallons of compost, mounding the soil above ground level for better drainage. Then came lunch. Clearly we both earn our livelihoods sitting at desks.

The actual planting of rhizomes took about thirty seconds, and I’m hopeful that the combination of soil and sun will prove close enough to the mark for this hardy plant. Meantime, there are still plenty of good places to track down a delicious beer.