Hop Sprouts Break Ground

    Cascade hop sprouts 2014

    Cascade Sprouts 2014


    The hop sprouts have sprung.  We have a later start this year.  Six days ago we had 8 inches of snow, thankfully it didn’t stick around long.  This has been a winter from hell for us – Minnesota.  It has been colder and snowier than normal.  I was starting to wonder if it would ever warm up.  We had our first 70 degree day in six months yesterday.  Starting this Sunday, it looks like another week of high 40’s to low 50 degree temps.  There is still hope for a summer here.

    This is hops growing season number 6.  I have had a few challenges over the years from “abnormal” weather to a boron deficiency that almost killed my Magnum hop plant (2 years in a row).  Luckily, the second occurrence, I knew what it was and treated it before it damaged the bines too bad.  I had found a spray with boron in it to treat the condition.  I couldn’t find any 20 Mule Team Borax – I have been told that is a good source of boron also.

    Magnum hop sprouts 2014.

    Magnum Hop Sprouts 2014

    These sprouts are few and small.  Shortly there will be several dozen per hop crown and I will have to thin them out to 3 to 5 per rope.  You can eat the sprouts, they are kind of like asparagus – try it, I have.  You can eat the sprouts, make a calming tea from the cones or a relaxing hop pillow, a hop wreath and of course – make beer and ale!  What a wonderful plant!  Hops make a great cover for gazebos, arbors, privacy fence over 20 feet tall if you let them.

    Nugget sprouts 2014

    Nugget Sprouts 2014




    Eighteen to 20 feet is optimal for most varieties, but they will take what you give them.  It is best to harvest them from the ground so have a plan as to how you will do that.  Harvesting on a ladder is dangerous and near impossible.  Either cut them down and harvest or use a pulley system like I do.  I have also used hooks and eyelet screws to thread ropes from the ground to a high point on my house or garage and back towards the ground to tie off (tie cleats work good).  Here is how I rig hop bines.  If you are already growing hops, let me know how they are doing.  Hop on!

    Categories : 6th Year Hops


    1. Susan says:

      20 mule team borax can be found near laundry stain removers in stores. It comes in a box.

    2. Luke, Congrats on surviving the winter from hell. Sounds like you are getting great harvests. Yeah, whole hops take more than pelletized hops. Not sure if it is the ground up consistency of pelletized hops, or the geography/soil of commercially grown hops. As long as you can make them work – it’s all good. Best of luck on this growing season.

    3. Luke says:

      I have Cascade, Mt. Hood, Nugget, and Willamette, and yes, winter was hell here. They all look about the same at this point, but the Cascade is the most vigorous. I got a whole pound of dry hops off of that one plant last season, and it was just the second year. They are not very strong; I am using them at 4X strength in brewing.

    4. Luke,
      Purple and/or red, they are different looking. What varieties do you have? Or did you stick with one variety? I believe you had a rough winter like we did in Minnesota.

    5. luke says:

      Mine too, in Milwaukee, WI. Not quite as numerous, but they are only 3rd year. It’s crazy to me how they are purple when they first come out.

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