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Old 09-19-2012, 04:02 PM   #1
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Default Hop Growing in Wisconsin

I was considering giving hop growing a shot next spring. Just was curious if Wisconsin is conducive to growing? If so, any particular variety that is better? I seem to use Cascade often, and maybe growing a more expensive one like Citra would be ideal.

I am located in the Green Bay area specifically. I don't know, thought it would be cool. Then again I don't know how much work it entails so maybe not worth the hassle. I do have a trussle or whatever those things are called.

Any helpful tips are appreciated!

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Old 09-19-2012, 04:26 PM   #2
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Google wisonsin hop exchange and wisconsin charter hops growing, I believe it is ghorstvalleyfarms.com. Wisconsin is trying to reestablish hops growing back in midwest area.

They are pretty easy to grow, just need vertical room. Gotta get the height above say like 12' or so, other people could tell you better. Also they take a couple years to establish, mine did okay the first year but I'm still hesitant to use them as they aren't super aromatic. I had like 15' of vertical room made by a wire between two poles. My 4 different varieties were EKG, Sterling, Hallertau, and Centennial. Centennial and Sterling kicked the most but this year, but I would say better to gauge which variety is best next year, since plants are mostly growing roots in year 1.

If you do decide, there is some reading material that helped me. Vol. 14 is hops growing.

http://www.agroforestry.co.uk/publorders.html

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Old 09-19-2012, 04:32 PM   #3
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Do it!

Direct sun in the spring/summer/fall, maybe some mulch over top in the winter to keep the roots from freezing. They're a hearty weed, and will climb just about anything -- I've seen lots of people just run a line up to the eaves of their roof. Keep 'em watered, fertilize once in a while, they'll pretty much grow themselves.

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Old 09-19-2012, 04:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feinbera View Post

Direct sun in the spring/summer/fall, maybe some mulch over top in the winter to keep the roots from freezing. They're a hearty weed, and will climb just about anything -- I've seen lots of people just run a line up to the eaves of their roof. Keep 'em watered, fertilize once in a while, they'll pretty much grow themselves.
From everything i read this seems to be the common opinion. Got some in the yard that were planted for decoration and they like water and sun. I've used them for brewing, we have no idea what variety they are so they are mystery hops for mystery brew.
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:29 AM   #5
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First, thanks mbobhat for the mention. This is Dan from Gorst Valley outside of Madiwon, WI. ( You were close. Its gorstvalleyhops.com)

Hops grow perfectly well in Wisconsin. The only challenge we have is a little more moisture than the Pacific Northwest, so watch out for mold. Historically speaking, there was a brief time after the civil war when 25% of the world's supply grew here.

What grows well? Cascade grows well everywhere. During "normal" years (cooler temperatures and plenty of rain) our growers had a lot of luck with Mount Hood, goldings (EKG) and cascades. This year with the extreme heat and drought, the "older" breeds like Brewer's Gold went nuts. Old world hops (saaz, halitaur) never do well. Sterling fairs well. But we are still experimenting and what we have found is due to all the microclimates across WI, what does well at our farm doesn't fair as well a couple of miles away. So pick what you like to brew with, throw it in the ground and see what comes up.

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Old 09-20-2012, 01:59 PM   #6
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Thanks for all of the information. I think my biggest issue will be the height hops go, if we're talking 10'+. I have a garden trestle which is probably 7-8' tall, our fence is only 6' and going against the house really isn't an option. The north side gets no sun hardly, the east side is the front, the south side is pretty close to the neighbor, and the west side is a possibility as it's the backyard but I don't think the wife would approve. I still will look into it. I think it would be cool to use your own grown hops.

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Old 09-22-2012, 02:23 PM   #7
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simple earth hops grows commercially in wisconsin

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Old 09-22-2012, 02:26 PM   #8
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If you want some rhizomes in the spring, head 2.5 hours north and bring some buckets and a shovel. You can have all the halleratauer you can carry, plus lots of cascade and some chinook. I'll even pour you a couple of beers and probably feed you.

The centennial may need to be trimmed, too, but I won't know until spring.

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Old 09-22-2012, 05:14 PM   #9
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Yes, natefrog, just do it.

I am a first timer outside the Madison area (very close to Gorst Valley actually), and I bought 'starts' from a neighbor that had established plants. The 'starts' were already established shoots between 3 and 9 inches long with roots and all, dug right out of the ground of a very large crown/established plant. I got Cascade, Nugget and Centennial. The Cascades blew up, for a first year I harvested almost 2 pounds of wet hops (about 10 oz dried). The Nugget did very well, even though there was a snafu getting them established, but they finally took JULY 1st, and I still got an ounce (dry). Both Nugget and Cascade are still growing and putting out burs into late September.
The Centennial were my 'worst', and I think I could list a dozen reasons why, but all things considered even with no cones, the roots/crown established itself so mission accomplished anyway.

I did not do anything special to get them going, like Dan said, they are weeds they will grow. I dug a hole, put them in and watered them almost everyday in this drought of a summer. I did use some miracle grow soil after a while, and mixed up some garden miracle grow (blue solution) and treated them every 7-14 days as directed. I will admit that the Japanese beetles and spider mites would have taken a significant bite if I didn't stay on top of them, but there are easy methods for control. You probably have to be a little more sensitive with frost/freeze being more 'up nort'. Have at it!

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Old 09-22-2012, 10:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natefrog255;4425997[...
I seem to use Cascade often, and maybe growing a more expensive one like Citra would be ideal.[...]
Any helpful tips are appreciated!
Don't waste your time looking for Citra. It is still a proprietary hop strain so there's no legitimate way to obtain them for growing without getting the proprietor's approval.

If you like Cascade, definitely plant some of those, and consider some Centennial and perhaps Chinook, all of which are in the citrusy/piney zone, and seem to be easy enough to cultivate...

Cheers!
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