Grow Hops In 2013


    There are Many Reasons to Grow Hops:Cascade hop cones

    • For brewing beer – homebrewing
    • Health benefits – mainly stress relief, relaxation and sleep
    • Privacy fence
    • A natural wall or partition
    • Cover for pergolas, gazebos, arbors, buildings
    • Shade or just plain beauty of the bines
    • Crafts – hop wreaths, hop pillows…

    Hops grow bines, similar to vines.  A vine has tendrils or suckers to wrap around anything it can to help support the vine.  Whereas a bine itself wraps around – rope, twine, a trellis or fence and has stiff hairs that dig into the supporting structure to hold them in place.  Knowing that tells you that rope or twine are the most efficient structure for them to climb.  They can easily climb over 20 feet if they have the structure tall enough.  Otherwise they will take what you give them so don’t worry you need 20 feet ore more of vertical space or supporting structure.

     Varieties of Humulus Lupulus

    If you are gardening for beer making / ale making, then you have 2 main categories to consider, bittering or aroma varieties of hops.  The bitterness balances out the sweet malt used in fermenting so it doesn’t taste like liquid candy.  The aroma quality is more for the “nose” or smell of the beer or ale…  There are many varieties of hops to choose from.  Some were bred for various American climates (offshoots of European varieties) and tend to do better here. If you are not gardening for home brewing, then the variety you choose is less important.

    Trimming Rhizomes

    Humulus Lupulus (Hops) grow like weeds and can be invasive (spread).  You just need to contain them by trimming their rhizomes after a couple of years.  The rhizomes generally spread out in all directions just below the surface of the soil.  Sometimes they will travel on top of the soil depending on soil conditions.  You simply take a spade shovel and cut a circle around the crown or root stock of the plant, then pull up the rhizomes on the outside of the circle.  Usually once a year is enough.  you can also pull up sprouts as they appear where you don’t want them growing.

    I have covered planting using rhizomes before so you can view that info here if you wish.  You can purchase plants or rhizomes from gardening stores, homebrewing shops or online.  Early spring is when they take orders and delivery is after March usually.  Depending upon your climate, you may have to store them in your refrigerator until threat of a hard frost is over.  Once established, the hops are pretty durable and you do not need to worry about frost and freezing.

    There you have it.  No reason not to be growing your own as long as your climate permits (see “info here” above).  If you click on the Sitemap towards the top of the page, you can see a listing of every article on the blog.  Most of the posts cover “how to” or status reports of my 4 years (so far) as a backyard bine grower.  Start a hop garden this year.

    Categories : Growing Hops

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