First time growing: Apartment hops in the High Desert
I've been wanting to grow for a while but I happened upon a great deal for some Brewer's Gold rhizomes so it's time to get started!
I live in a townhome style apartment with a patio where we've had success growing a couple veggies.
In order I take care of space issues I'm going to be employing something similar to this:
I might just stick with two stakes with zigzagging twine between them... just going to have to see how it all works out.
But I have a couple questions:
1) I have 15-30-15 water soluble crystal fertilizer. Will this do or should I use liquid or a fert with a 3-1-2 ratio?
2) Is there any way to improve on that structure, i.e., materials, positioning, etc?
3) Some things I read talked about hop twine. How thick should the twine be?
Thank you very much in advance!
1) No, just use synthetic ferts with any variation of a 3-1-2 ratio of N-P-K for container growth. To induce more prolific flowering, a reduced N supply will have more and better effect than the high P bloom formulas. When N is reduced, it slows vegetative growth without reducing photosynthesis. Since vegetative growth is limited by a lack of N, and the photosynthetic machinery continues to turn out food, it leaves an expendable surplus for the plant to spend on flowers. Plants use about 6 times more N than P, so fertilizers that supply more P than N are wasteful and more likely to inhibit blooms (since too much P inhibits uptake of Fe and many micro-nutrients - it raises pH unnecessarily as well, which could also be problematic). Popular "bloom-booster" fertilizers like 10-52-10 actually supply about 32x more P than your plant could ever use (in relationship to how much N it uses) and has the potential to wreak all kinds of havoc with your plants.
2) Looks pretty good - I want one! But I would definitely use a much larger planter.
The only other thing I'd be worried about is if it ever tipped over.
3) You can use any twine that doesn't cut through or damage the plant. Tie it looser than you think. A tight tie will restrict growth.
Much appreciated bobbrews!
Thanks for the plant biology refresher. I haven't taken that course in a couple years so it was a bit foggy. You're very right, though. I'll have to go get some different ferts!
And as for it tipping over, I've thought of several ways to weigh down the pot.
I'm getting the equipment set up and I just have a couple more questions. Sorry for the noobiness --
1) Will using Miracle Grow Garden for Flowers and Vegetables work? I know it isn't potting mix but I have plenty of perlite which is pretty much the only thing that makes potting mix different. (Images below for reference to what I'm talking about)
2) I found a fertilizer that has a 3-1-2 ratio. Now, am I supposed to feed it right away even though the soil comes loaded with nutes? And should I set a feeding schedule or simply feed them when they need it (i.e. show signs of deficiencies)?
For short-term plants, I usually use 5 parts partially-composted pine bark, 1 part spaghnum peat, and 1-2 parts perlite (along with a control-release fertilizer of NPK, plus something else that supplies all the minor nutrients, and some gypsum or lime).... However, hops are long term plants and for long-term container growth, you'll need something more stable that won't break down over time but still provide excellent drainage. The previous recipe is only good for plants that last for one season.
Here is the best recipe for long-term container growth that I've ever used. It allows for superior drainage and will last a very long time:
1 part uncomposted screened pine or fir bark (1/8-1/4")
1 part screened Turface
1 part crushed Gran-I-Grit (grower size) or #2 cherrystone
1 tbsp gypsum per gallon of soil
A 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer that contains all essentials and apply weakly, weekly (pun intended)
Control Release Fertilizer (if desired)
Source of micro-nutrients that supplies all the minors
1/8 -1/4 tsp Epsom salts per gallon of fertilizer solution every time you fertilize (if soluble, it is probable it does not contain Ca or Mg)
* Add the gypsum when you make the soil. It is added as a Ca source, or you can skip the gypsum and use Foliage-Pro fertilizer, which contains both Ca and Mg. You definitely should add it when using soluble fertilizers that do not contain Ca, so you need to read the label for contents. If you use gypsum as a Ca source when you make the soil, you should add Epsom salts each time you fertilize. The reason is because a high presence of Ca in the soil in relation to the amount of Mg can make Mg unavailable. The Ca:Mg ratio should be around 3 to 5:1, Ca:Mg.
This is what the ingredients look like... starting left/top and working clockwise... turface, perlite, fir bark, and granite chips...
The larger stones in the sharpee pics are what you want, not the smaller ones.
Cool, thanks for the info.
I didn't even notice your location before. What part of the Sierras?
I actually have no idea how that changed. I'm from NJ. Lol
The setup in your original post has pots that are too small. Here is a picture of my small space setup from last year:
The containers are 120L drilled out rubbermaid storage containers and for a trellis I ran a loop of twine to the upstairs balcony - when the bines hit the top i let out more string and hung the coiled up bines over the railing. This allowed them to always be growing up, doesn't require daily training like the cris-cross trellis in your picture does and allows for unlimited growth (mine were more than 20ft) Last year I grew 5 plants and that was way too many - it turned into a jungle. I gave a way 3 plants and I'm only growing 2 this year and I have the twine attached to 3 points to keep them from tangling when the laterals start to appear. When we transplanted the plants i gave away, it was clear that containers less than 100L are way too small. The plants in the 20" pots were root bound by mid 1st season. If you want to actually get enough cones to brew with, go with the biggest you can. ...and lots of sun, mine had direct sun from 15 minutes after sunrise until sunset.
Oh I'm going to be using an 18 gallon storage tub. I've done it with veggies. I'll post photos when I get them going Sunday.
Rhizomes came in today! Yay! Should I put the bag in the fridge until sunday or room temp?
Reno, you might try something like this.
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