Hop Bine Update


    Magnum Hop Bines

    Hop Bines May 1st

    May 1st, just 2 weeks since the last post.  The hop bines were 10 inches tall on April 17, now they are over 5 feet tall!  I thought first year hops were fun to watch grow, this is insane!  They grew over 4 feet in 2 weeks and this is not even planting time for my zone (zone 4A).  Last year it was about June 7th before the hops reached this height (first year hops).

    I was going to double the ropes per hop plant this year but had no time to do it.  Oh well, they will be thick this year.  I expect the laterals to go crazy and at least double the harvest of last year of 4.1lbs wet.

    I have not fertilized or amended the soil at all this year.  I must have done a good job when I prepped the soil the fall before I planted the hop rhizomes.  The hop mounds were heavily mulched with grass and leaves over the winter and perhaps the decomposing grass and leaves were seeping a compost tea into the soil.

    What the hell is going to happen when summer comes?  At this rate, I may lose my garage to the hop bines.  I expect the bines to reach the top of their ropes(15 feet) by June.  I’ll keep you posted.

    I also started 2 container hop plants this year – a Fuggle and a Mt. Hood.  We’ll see how these do – only about 9 inches tall so far.  I am more interested or concerned about how long I can keep them in the containers as hop crowns and roots grow massively.  I also need to think about how to over-winter the containers as it can get to minus 30 during the winter here.

    Expect future posts of massive bines!

    Categories : Second Year Hops


    1. Jimi,
      Thanks for letting us know it is possible to grow hops in Arizona. I don’t have any direct knowledge about growing hops in your climate but would appreciate anyone in Arizona or similar latitude to share their knowledge and experience of growing hops in these climates. Looking for commentors with experience growing hops in these climates (Also looking for South American and Australian experiences too).

    2. Jimi says:

      On growing hops in Arizona. I used to work as a cook at a brewery. We had a sun cloth covered back patio with dirt planters. The Brew master had thrown some spent mash in one. During the summer we happened to notice that hops had grown up to about 20 feet. Although we smoked out there we really didn’t notice until we smelt them. Previously I thought it was the plant “Cat’s Claw” that grips to anything. They had grown up and used the stucco of the building for a trellis. They were beautiful, huge and smelt like beer heaven. I’m assuming the mash provided the needed fertilizer in that sandy soil. The owner had the Brew master cut them down and I don’t know what happened to the rhizome. If I’d had known I’d be looking to grow hops later I would have grabbed that root up. I’d like to have any tips on growing in AZ that anyone could provide. Barring that, I will use what I’ve already seen work and give it a shot.

    3. Cyrious,

      I do not have experience or knowledge of growing hops in AZ. You are on the edge of the growing zone which presents unique challenges like the one you express here. AZ hop growers – chime in! I would suggest searching out local home brew clubs and check with any hop growers in you area. I will do some checking and research into this. Anyone with experience in AZ – please chime in. Thanks.

    4. Cyrious says:

      I am growing Galena here in AZ and for my first year plant it has reached 12′, my question if you can is: What do I do after harvest since it does not freeze here? Do I bury the bine and keep watering? Do I cut it ground level and stop watering? I just do not know and have called several hop farms that cannot answer my question! PLEASE HELP!

    5. I don’t think the humidity would be a problem for hops, but I am not certain. Maybe we can get a Florida hop grower to chime in?

    6. Tim says:

      Hi, first time reader. Thanks for the info. I just met the grandson of the US’s largest hops grower back in the ’20s and ’30s. Very cool.Anyway, can hops grow in North Florida? Or, is it too humid? (Sorry of you’ve answered this before).

    7. Eric says:

      I live in Duluth and have been growing Cascade, Mt. Hood and Fuggles. Wondering if any one has put together alist of which hops grow the best in Minnesota? My fuggles grow the tallest, but the Mt Hood yield more then the other varieties. Wondering if others are having the same results?

    8. BaltimoreHops,
      Yep, organic whenever possible. Sounds like your hops are doing well with just a little organic help – good to hear. There are quite a few homebrewers and hop growers here in Minnesota like your neighbor said. Amazingly hops do fine here as long as you mulch over them over the winter. My hop bines survived a couple of good frosts (I lost a container hop to wind (broke the bines right off – hoping for more to sprout)). A frost killed the tip of another container hop – a new shoot just popped. Long winters make for many a beer tasting parties… Keeps us out of the frozen tundra.

    9. Matt,
      Welcome to the hop growing club! 4 feet by mid-May for first year hops is awesome – congrats. They will climb as high as you let them. Give us a status report from time to time. Hop on!

    10. Matt says:

      Great site. I planted hops for my first time this year. Four planted this year (Nugget, Kent Golding, Cascade, and Chinook). I am pretty excited. They have been planted for about 4 weeks now. Was concerned I put them in too early but when tehy came in the mail earlier than expected I put them in. We have been lucky to have a real nice April and May in Michigan. Bines are now about 4 ft tall. I was not expecting that much growth this fast for the first year. Will keep you all posted on the progress.

    11. Congrats! I would have never guessed you could achieve that growth from that size pots. You must be doing something right.

    12. Nathan Harms says:

      Just to let you know, I started hops from rhizomes in plastic pots (~ 10 in diameter, 1 ft. deep) and they are doing fantastic! I planted them in late march, and the fuggles are already > 12 ft. high with tons of lateral growth. The Cascades are around 10 ft. tall and producing flowers. I make sure to use liquid fertilizer every two weeks in hopes of keeping the roots happy. So far, so good. One problem I have with pots is that I have to water more frequently. Other than that, they work great! If youd like more info or pictures, email me!


    13. It does make sense not to trim bines on first year hops for establishing the crown. It depends if you want a first year harvest of hop cones or not. I trimmed back to 3 hop bines per hop plant and harvested 4 pounds of hops my first year on three hop plants. It is up to the hop grower whether they want a first year harvest of hop cones or not. There is no right or wrong answer to these options.

    14. matthew spraker says:

      wouldnt it make sense the first year to let all bines, strong and week grow out, instead of trimming back. that way there is more leaves to make food, which in turn should help establish the root system. i have first year cascade and santiam in the ground here in southwest virginia. we just had a big time freeze and both survived to my relief. however the cascade, which i naturally composted, is blowing the santiam away, which i just used potting soil and miracle grow on.

    15. Great Blog! I wish I had more time to blog about my Hops. They just grow so stinkin’ fast. Good to see someone going to organic route of growing them. I use a combination of Home brewed compost and the big stinker Fish Emulsion until end of june/july/when I see the little fuzzy flowers. My second year Nuggets have grown to 10’+ and gone horizontal. My Fuggles are not far behind, they got a slow start. I also have Cascade which pretty much grow wild, they were there before I moved in. I tried to harness them but they just grow way to fast and spread like mad. They like the trees better than my home made trellis so I feed them and let them go. My Neighbor is from Minnesota and said he had a few friends that brewed and grew their own hops and really had some climate challenges. Good to see another organic grower!


    16. The climate is challenging and frustrating at times but believe it or not, it has benefits. Smaller and fewer snakes, spiders and bugs! And there are far fewer poisonous ones. No gators or crocs, you can swim in the lakes and rivers without worry of Water Moccosins or gator bites. It can get to 100 degrees in the summer believe it or not. On the minus side, besides frostbite and freezing your arse off, we have a shorter growing season.

    17. Eliza says:

      Zone 4a sounds like it would be too cold for life! 🙂 I’m so glad you’re able to grow hops there, too.

    18. Mel,
      Thanks for the tip. I have not heard of these but they will help with starting hops and tomatoes a month earlier than normal (we had a freeze 2 days ago). I am sure other’s can use this too. Thanks for sharing a great cold climate tip.

    19. Mel the Mailman says:

      Up north in Dakota the days are wet and can get really cold still. April was a tease and so I planted one of the rhizomes early that was showing exceptional growth. It was too big for the pot anyway. My dad showed me a trick he uses with his tomato plants in our climate. The product is called a Wall-o-water and it is basically small columns of water arranged in a cylindrical shape around the plant. The water heats from the sun during the day and disperses heat energy at night to keep the soil and small plant warmer. I am convinced that the wall-o-water is keeping my small chinook rhizome with two small bines alive during these 29 degree nights in the past week or so. GH, i know your bines are well beyond this stage, but if anyone else out there is struggling with the colder temperatures, try the wall-o-waters to get a few extra growing days.

    20. Congrats Jay,
      Take a break and sip on a cold one. You will be glad you worked the soil. Your organic approach should keep ’em thriving. We would definitely be interested in updates and photos. I am interested in your hop bine rigging also. Sounds like you have your work cut out for you. Best of luck!

    21. Jay says:

      Looking Good GH!
      I am finally completely planted. My schedule for the 1st years’ went Fuggles, Goldings, Mt.Hood/Nugget, Centennial and finally Zeus/Chinook. The Fuggles, Goldings, Nugget and Mt.Hood are certified Organic….I planted from April 23 until May 3rd, and on May 3rd I replanted my 2nd years Nugget, Fuggles and Goldings and 1 Zeus. These were kept in containers in my cellar over the winter and are far ahead of the 1st years. I trimmed some of the initial bines back, but left some – it’s cool to watch them turn from white to green. I have a total of 65 rhizomes and have just ordered my drip irrigation from BC. I spent a lot more time with the soil this year in early March, working it and adding composted sheep manure, then working it again. I am topping all the hills with a good dose of our own composted chicken manure/hay which should continue improving the soil structure. Very excited to free up the time spent watering to figure out how the hell I’m going to harvest efficiently. Once I have some decent growth (tallest is about 1 foot) I will take a picture of the setup and post a link. Thanks for the great blog! Jay

    22. Stuart,
      I am trying to stay organic for the most part. I may spray them once or twice with Miracle Grow (before hop cones), but at this point I don’t think they will need it. I mulch with compost and occasionally give them compost tea – I may water with a diluted fish emulsion also. I worked the soil pretty good the fall before I planted the rhizomes. I dug a good foot down and 2 feet in diameter and mixed in compost, grass and leaves. Sounds like you had a blast from your Dark Lord Day 2010 post – I am jealous.

    23. Same here with my hops. I am basically at eye level with one bine. I marked the string with a marker at the beginning of last week and by the end of the week it was 1+ food taller. What kind of fertilizer do you recommend? I planted three more through out our yard and used some cow compost but would like to add some more as the year progresses.

    24. I am in Minneapolis and 30 below zero during the winter is not uncommon. Unfortunately, my garage is not insulated so that will not do. I will probably surround the containers with bags of leaves and bury them in snow for insulation. Congrats on your hops – hope it is going well for you.

    25. Patrick says:

      I’ve heard that you can winterize the container hops by leaving them in the garage. Not sure where you’re at, but I’m in Chicago and that is my plan. This will be my first year growing hops (Nugget and Mt. Hood).

    26. You can buy hop rhizomes online <== here. April/May is the time for zone 5 up to June 1st. It is late to buy but you may find one of the vendors from the above link may still have hop rhizomes for sale. If not, find a local hop grower - friend, someone from a home brew club, local Ag club, place a local ad... Best of luck.

    27. Jennifer says:

      Where you can you buy hops from online to grow, and when is too late too start growing hops in hardiness zone 5?

    28. I would amend the soil with some organic material, leaves, grass, compost, composted manure… Hops do require nutrient rich soil as well as lots of sun (and water the first year). It is best to loosen the soil where you plant the hop rhizomes or plants. Best of luck!

    29. Jeff says:

      we are about to plant our hops, we have a rocky soil, is this ok to plant in or would like a potting soil work better?

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