Kegconnection Complete Starter Kit and More Giveaway!


Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Hops Growing > First Year Hop Growers

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 05-03-2009, 03:47 PM   #1
Zulu
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 87
Liked 8 Times on 5 Posts

Default First Year Hop Growers

Year 3 of my hops project and I see so many repeat questions being asked. This is aimed at year one mainly.

1) Don't expect too much in year one, hops require 3 full growing seasons to stabilize to their full potential. If you get some cones in year one consider them a bonus

2) Planting requires a well drained soil with lots of goodness, they are gross feeders, heaped and or raised beds are definitely something you should consider.

3)New Rhizomes can be kept in a cold fridge for a very long time if you are not ready to plant, they should be sealed in a damp (not wet) baggie, I use a small piece of paper towel in a ziplock bag. I have successfully planted a year old rhizome.

4) Watering is one of the most important parts of successful hop growing, when young - first year- dont over water until you have 2 ft of growth, they need to build roots and stressing the plants will help them put out deeper and bigger roots. Allow the surface to dry out between waterings -if dry below 3" deep then they will need water. In the heat of summer an under watered plant will wilt, but can be revived easily with a good watering. DONT water too much until at least June / July when you have 2-3ft of growth. (not for later years- then you need plenty water)

5) If planting directly into newly prepared soil, plant at a depth of about 1-2" (deeper is not an issue but takes longer to break surface), I dig a hole , add a handful of potting soil, add the rhizome after dusting with rooting hormone, cover it with a second handful of potting soil and add soil to a mound over the surface, I then tramp it all down into a basin for water to gather in, compacting the soil helps the plants get established as roots do better in soil than air. I then cover the basin with mulch to retain moisture.

6) Bugs more than animals are your most likely enemies in these early days, companion planting - Marigolds are wonderful - they keep aphids away and if there are plant eating insects they will chomp on the Marigolds first. Rabbits , Ground Hogs and even squirrels (digging up plants) can sometimes be an issue. Mixed reviews about deer, some people say they have eaten their hops, but all around me and on our farm deer leave the hops be , have seen them eating grass right next to our hops.

7) Food - compost is great, try and put some down each season, for other feeding I use both Miraclegro and a balanced 10:10:10 fertilizer. I do this about every 3-4 weeks until cones start. Get a soil test done, local extension service usually offer a free service for this, Lowes and home Depot also sell a cheap test kit which will give you the basic idea too. Hops like Neutral soil, and require lots of Nitrogen in early growth , and phos later when cones set.

8) Cutting back- we could not find any commercial advice on this, but a horticulturist friend suggested leaving all greenery year one to promote root growth, we did and still got cones. Year two was gangbusters with early out the ground strong growth. Now we train 2-3 bines per rope and pull and cut out all other growth. Also cutting off leaves below 12".

9) Mark your plants - within a few weeks you will have forgotten what they are, also mark them well at season end as there is almost no evidence of where they are in winter

10) At end of season after frost kills them off, cut off the bines leaving only 1/2" -1" above ground, you will see the new shoots on the stems , dont cut all of these off.

11) Know what hop roots look like - they are like thin light brown carrots and are just below the surface , so careful when weeding.

I will add more later.

__________________

Our Hops Farm Blog
http://zenzele-brewery.blogspot.com/


Last edited by Zulu; 05-03-2009 at 03:52 PM.
Zulu is offline
4
People Like This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-03-2009, 04:31 PM   #2
david_42
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
david_42's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Willamina & Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,651
Liked 133 Times on 126 Posts

Default

I finally talked to Dave Wells (Freshops) about watering. He says a mature plant needs about a gallon of water a day during the main growth. He drip irrigates using 4L/hr emitters, once every three weeks for an entire day.

For new plants (once they get going as Zulu says), 5-6 hours once a week is better.

Mind you, this is for the Willamette Valley, where we can go all summer without any rain and 80-100F is the typical high temperature.

__________________

Remember one unassailable statistic, as explained by the late, great George Carlin: "Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!"

"I would like to die on Mars, just not on impact." Elon Musk

david_42 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-03-2009, 04:41 PM   #3
buzzkill
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Green Country Oklahoma
Posts: 987
Liked 20 Times on 20 Posts
Likes Given: 15

Default

maybee just add one more. don't plant different types close to each other. I have found underground runners 7 feet out from the crown. They will run under the next mound and you will have a poporii of sorts. alot of the pix I have seen they are way to close.

__________________
buzzkill is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-04-2009, 12:47 AM   #4
Zulu
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 87
Liked 8 Times on 5 Posts

Default

David
Great information for me, we just finished our automated irrigation system this week after hand watering last year all 100 plants and each plant has a pressure compensated 2 gallon per hour dripper and currently programmed for 1 hour a day (2 gallons each day) . 138 plants under irrigation so far this year, have enough soft cuttings in greenhouse to expand that to at least 150

I will certainly go back and reprogramme them for every 3rd day and maybe 2 hours instead.

On the point about varieties too close - yes, they will spread pretty far , but also easy to control, you just root prune at beginning of a season , using a spade about 3 feet from the crown center, this will also yield new rhizomes that can be sold or planted.

We have our major varieties fully separated, and our experimental ones at least 5 feet away from a different variety .

__________________

Our Hops Farm Blog
http://zenzele-brewery.blogspot.com/

Zulu is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-16-2010, 02:20 PM   #5
Zulu
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 87
Liked 8 Times on 5 Posts

Default

To bring this back to the top...

Year 4 starting....

With very cold weather with no breaks right up to Mid March (first time in 20 years) the hops literally sprung out the ground after getting some warmth.

We are a month into growth, and have 3-4ft already.

Fertiliser , each plant got a large handful or 17:17:17, and will get Miracle-Grow every 2 weeks when irrigation starts next week. We have a few freeze damaged pipes to repair first.

All 138 Plants made the season, we harvested about 180 Rhizomes, sold I think 20, and have potted up all the rest, mostly Nugget and Cascade.

All test plants made the cut (Perle, Brewers Gold, Horizon, Glacier) , but unless our main stream Goldings do better this year they and the 8 x Willamette will get the chop end of the year. These are cool weather hops and we are obviously too hot.

Chinook, Cascade, Nugget, Centennial are all great producers in our climate, Mt Hood is OK.

The Experimental Sterling was fine, and rest were first year last year.

For new growers , keep records, it helps you decide what is worth putting efforts into.

Weeds continue to be a pain for us, and it requires the whole co-op out there weekly at present to get on top of them. Most of them came from compost we took from the farm I guess. Lesson learned.

Soil test still shows lower than required N, so hoping Miracle Grow will help some.

Happy to answer questions... and will update the blog this weekend

__________________

Our Hops Farm Blog
http://zenzele-brewery.blogspot.com/

Zulu is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-16-2010, 07:04 PM   #6
CaliBrewin
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Posts: 185
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default

This thread has been very helpful Zulu, thank you.

Will be planting my first 3 hops today. Very excited!

__________________
CaliBrewin is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-16-2010, 07:31 PM   #7
Randar
Damn right I got da brews
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
 
Randar's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Wheeling, IL
Posts: 28,467
Liked 4581 Times on 4486 Posts
Likes Given: 1996

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zulu View Post
Soil test still shows lower than required N, so hoping Miracle Grow will help some.
Have you considered ferts that have higher N than P and K content? Seems if you are Nitrogen deficient you really want to try to work on that more so than adding additional phosphate and potassium...

Various nitrogen-targeted options here and other info:

http://www.canr.msu.edu/vanburen/e-896.htm


Forgot to mention: Nitrogen fixing cover crops like beans, field peas, legumes, etc are also a great option. You can plant a fall cover crop and then till them in for the spring and plant another spring cover crop. There is a lot of material out there you can easily find on the interwebs about nitrogen fixing cover crop options.
__________________

Last edited by Randar; 04-16-2010 at 07:35 PM.
Randar is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-16-2010, 07:38 PM   #8
Randar
Damn right I got da brews
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
 
Randar's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Wheeling, IL
Posts: 28,467
Liked 4581 Times on 4486 Posts
Likes Given: 1996

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zulu View Post
6) Bugs more than animals are your most likely enemies in these early days, companion planting - Marigolds are wonderful - they keep aphids away and if there are plant eating insects they will chomp on the Marigolds first. Rabbits , Ground Hogs and even squirrels (digging up plants) can sometimes be an issue. Mixed reviews about deer, some people say they have eaten their hops, but all around me and on our farm deer leave the hops be , have seen them eating grass right next to our hops.
There are quite a few Japanese beetle threads and I have had luck with pole beans and rose bushes attracting the brunt of the attention.

For Aphids, marigolds, daisies, aster are all great options. It's not so much that they keep aphids away (they do attract some types of aphids), but they will attract beneficial insects as well. Additionally, peas are a wonderful and I use them as a cover crop. They attract ladybugs, which are your best friend in the aphid-control fight.

Here is a nice link about encouraging natural predatory control of aphids and using companion plantings targeting aphid-eaters:
http://www.small-farm-permaculture-a...ol_aphids.html

I've never had mildew or mold/rust issues so I can't comment on those.
__________________

Last edited by Randar; 04-16-2010 at 07:42 PM.
Randar is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-16-2010, 09:58 PM   #9
Zulu
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 87
Liked 8 Times on 5 Posts

Default

We have over-seeded the field with Red Clovers for N benefits, but still see low Nitrogen issues each year. When i mow , it is mulched right back into the field.

Miracle Grow is HIGH N (12:4:8), which is why I use it and I will investigate other fertilizers this year. Too many real life issues as well.

As for bugs, we have no issue, marigolds have worked for us, and Japanese Beetles have not been an issue. With drip irrigation , and feeding via the drip system, we took a bunch of maintenance out of the hops yard last year, system is on a computer and the well is on demand. Just weeding remains a chore.

__________________

Our Hops Farm Blog
http://zenzele-brewery.blogspot.com/

Zulu is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-16-2010, 11:13 PM   #10
B-Hoppy
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
B-Hoppy's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ohio
Posts: 1,260
Liked 124 Times on 99 Posts
Likes Given: 215

Default

two points:

1) when talking about water requirements it is difficult to suggest amounts without taking into account the type of soil they're growing in and how old the plants are. hops grown in heavy clay soils will generally need less water than those grown in sandy soils as the clay has a much greater ability to hold moisture. over the past 20 or so years i've only HAD to water a handful of times throughout the growing season (we usually average an inch or so natural rainfall per week during the growing season). once the plants are well established they produce some scary big and deep roots which are very efficient at obtaining moisture from deeper in the soil profile.

2) please make sure to clarify when you are speaking about roots and rhizomes. i've seen posts where many newer growers are apparently mistaking one for the other and don't understand that the rhizomes are a primary way for the plant to self-generate (they have buds/eyes) and are usually found relatively close to the surface. the roots, which will grow laterally (somewhat) but mostly in a downward direction, are structures designed to secure water for the hops and are not capable to regenerate new plants.

growing hops is a blast but i'm finding that a lot of the FORMAL information on the internet has been provided by sources like the hop commissions of Oregon and Washington, two of the major growing regions in the U.S., which is great. the only problem is that most of that info. is geared toward commercial production methods used in those regions and commercial farmers have to cultivate their thousands of plants in a much different way than us as home growers can. we can provide a little more individual attention which ends up producing much healthier plants that are capable of producing greater yields than an individual plant growing in the midst of thousands of others in a 200 acre hopyard. so for all the newbies out there, if you try a technique or method that someone suggested and it doesn't work for you, don't give up. instead, keep in mind that what works for one may not work for others considering climate, soil, environmental stress differences from their growing location to yours. but most of all, remember to B-Hoppy! and obviously have a cold one.

__________________
B-Hoppy is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
CT Growers? a_w_taylor Hops Growing 2 04-03-2009 07:03 PM
So first Year Hop Growers - how'd it turn out ? Mutilated1 Hops Growing 78 10-11-2008 04:07 AM
Attn. First year hop growers hopboy Hops Growing 7 07-03-2008 08:10 PM
PA growers...anything yet? CatchinZs Hops Growing 16 04-23-2008 11:48 AM
any nj growers? wrangler Hops Growing 11 03-27-2008 04:47 PM