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Old 04-03-2012, 01:31 AM   #1
quattro004
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Default Hop Yard Build 2012

My brewing friends and i decided to grow our own hops this summer to use in our homebrew. We are really excited to get the rhizomes in the ground and start harvesting our own homegrown hops!

Here is the link to Part 1 of the build posted on our blog.

Here is the copied post from the blog for those who want to read it here.

Hop Yard Build 2012 - Part 1
This past winter, the idea of growing our own hops to use in our home brew recipes came up several times. We were debating on where and what we could plant and whether or not it would be successful in a place like Minnesota.

My main resource for planning the hop yard

After a substantial amount of time and effort put into researching and reading up on methods and tips for growing hops at home, it turns out Minnesota is in fact a great place to grow many common hop varieties available to the public. We came across a family-owned and operated hop farm by the name of Northwest Hops located in Hubbard, Oregon, "Home of the Hubbard Hop Festival". They are a great resource for the home brewer or anyone looking to start planting and growing their own hops. Some of their strains of rhizomes have been said to be traced back over 80+ years so you know you are receiving quality product from them and the knowledge that comes with generations of farmers.
I borrowed a book from Philip which does a great job of outlining everything needed to successfully grow your own hops at home. It is called The Homebrewer's Garden, which can be purchased from Amazon as well as other bookstores. It has been a great resource for planning the hop yard.
I chose to start with Cascade and Centennial rhizomes. My reasoning for this was they are relatively resilient strains and do well in most climates. They are also fairly resistant against diseases like powdery mildew, downy mildew and some common virus strains that can affect hop plants as they grow.

Cascade and Centennial hops are also known for their citrus and floral aromas and flavors in beer. They are commonly used in American & English-style Ales as well as IPAs, Porters and occasionally in Wheat beers. Our home brew recipes are often one of these styles and thus it was an easy decision to start with these two types of hops.

5 Centennial & 5 Cascade Rhizomes ready to be planted.


Close up: Cascade eyes

The rhizomes arrived in early March, within a week or two of ordering. According to Northwest, rhizomes usually begin to ship out around the end of February into March depending on the weather and harvesting. They arrived wrapped with a damp cloth in plastic bags along with 60 feet of coir hop twine that is rated for approximately 75-100 lbs which should be plenty for each hop vine.


Centennial rhizomes just after unpacking.

In general, rhizomes can be kept in the refrigerator with a damp cloth prior to planting to prevent them from drying out. Two much moisture however is not ideal so it is best to limit excessive amounts of water in the bags they are kept in. Northwest Hops also suggests planting the rhizomes as soon as possible after receiving them to give yourself and the plants the best chance for success. They also recommend starting the rhizomes in standard, one-gallon pots filled with normal potting soil with the rhizomes planted eyes-up or horizontally in the soil about two inches or so below the surface.


Rhizomes planted

Although the weather has been unseasonably warm this year for March, I wanted to keep the pots indoors until they were well underway growing before transplanting them to the permanent hop yard out back. Fortunately we have a room on the south side of the house with two stories worth of windows that works great for growing plants or in this case, hops.


First day in soil.

The rhizomes will stay in the sun room until they have all broken the surface and the threat of frost is gone outdoors. This way they will get all the warmth and sunlight they need to grow.


First Cascade

After a week or so, many of the pots already have sprouts breaking the soil surface. The Cascade was the first to come up as I expected since they tend to do well in Minnesota. About a day later two of the Centennials begin to sprout up along with a few more of the Cascade pots. So far things are going very well.


First Centennial


Height as of today..Over 7" tall!


On to the hop yard itself..

The hop yard will be constructed out on the back side of the property over what has been used as a vegetable garden for close to 20 years until recently. The design consists of two 20ft long x 3ft wide rows with a 12 ft green treated 4x4 post at either end that will be sunk into the ground in holes 2-3ft deep. Twelve feet is a bit short of what is normally suggested (16ft.) but for our purpose at this point, the slightly shorter posting will make it easier to maintain and harvest the hops and since it was laying out back behind the shed I didn't have to go purchase new stuff. A cable or galvanized steel tube will then run the length of the row connecting to the top of each 4x4. This will allow 4-5 hills with rhizomes spaced roughly 4ft apart to grow up the heavy duty twine which is sunk into the ground near the base of the plant.


Initial layout and dimensions


Digging up grass, weeds and existing weed liner


Post hole digging

The current layout allows for expansions in the future if we need them. I left approximately 7 feet between the rows to allow for walking space and, since we are growing two different types, this should be enough separation to keep the vines from mixing.

If we do decide to grow more there is room for new rows on the outer side of each current row. Twine can then be run up to the main overhead cable at a 45 degree angle allowing 4-5 more hop hills to grow on each existing trellis.


Work.

This area is also far enough from any substantial tree cover so it gets sunlight nearly all day long, which is great for hops! Also, since this was previously used as a garden area, water systems and piping are already in place and will make for easy watering.

This should be the first of many posts throughout the summer so look for updates once the trellis is completed and the hops are transferred to the ground!

Cheers!

-Adam

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Old 04-03-2012, 01:42 PM   #2
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Nicely doumented!

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Old 04-03-2012, 01:50 PM   #3
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Greetings,

One question for you...I just recently got two crowns and have started watering them in containers I have had them outside for 2 weeks total, but brought them inside once due to a pending frost. My question is how long until I should expect to see some sprouts? I am worried that they are not well as I have seen no sign of life.

Saeva

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Old 04-03-2012, 02:05 PM   #4
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I got a bit concerned about mine the first year too. It took a few weeks to get tips coming above the soil....although I started with fairly small rhizomes. If you let the top layer of soil dry out a little, you can gently dig around with your fingertips to locate the growing shoots and judge how they're doing.

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Old 04-03-2012, 04:08 PM   #5
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I can't wait to brew with some of those home grown hops! Let me know if you need a hand man!

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Old 04-04-2012, 05:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaevaVeritas View Post
Greetings,

One question for you...I just recently got two crowns and have started watering them in containers I have had them outside for 2 weeks total, but brought them inside once due to a pending frost. My question is how long until I should expect to see some sprouts? I am worried that they are not well as I have seen no sign of life.

Saeva
They will vary on the time it takes to break the surface. Those ones in the pictures above are by far the most vigorous of the 10 planted. There are still two that have not broken the surface and it has been about 1 to 1 1/2 weeks so don't get too concerned yet. Also I recommend keeping them inside regardless until they are well underway growing. They need to be acclimated to the outdoors slowly. You should try and do this over the course of a week or so, for only an hour or two each day. Keep the soil moist in the pots but not soaking and hopefully you will start seeing some growth! Also, warmth (70+) degrees is important before they sprout, then after the break the surface they need lots of sunlight.

Hope this helps, good luck growing!
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Old 05-18-2012, 03:25 PM   #7
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Update time! I posted Part 2 of our build on our blog last night. Click here to check it out.

Also as before here is the copied content from the site if you just want to read it here.

Hop Yard Build 2012 - Part 2
Update time for the hop yard build! As of this past Saturday, the trellis system is built, rows are dug and formed into mounds, the irrigation system from Mister Landscaper is hooked up and running and the hops themselves are all planted.

Picture Time!


Finished trellis structures.


1" stainless steel flange


Pipe was a foot too long so we improvised with some old bolts.


Ready for some hops.


Sketch up of the proposed watering system design.


Do it right or do it twice. Full auto watering system by Mister Landscaper.


Test fit of controller, anti back-flow valve, psi regulator, & filter.


Fully customizable.


1/2" poly drip lines.


Initial test fit complete!

Planting the hops, Finally!


Turning over soil after sitting bare for a month


Compost/manure mix from Lowe's. We bought 11 40lb bags which worked out perfect.


Luke doing WORK.


Old reliable.


Cut and bent some small gauge wire from a tomato plant cage.


Test fitting the V-shaped design for the twine the hops will use to grow up.


Mock up complete. Still need to retie knots more securely.


Homebrew break.


Luke and Philip training up the plants.


Close up shot.


Homebrew break.


Hops are in the ground!

With it being relative warm since planting, the watering system is set to turn on twice a day (7am, 7pm) and run for two hours each time. Our drip system has adjustable nozzles that allow for 1 GPH to 10 GPH (gallons per hour). For now about 1-2 GPH seems to be enough but that may be adjusted as needed. With it being hot out and having some intense sunlight for about a week straight, some of the leaves on each plant have burned a bit and wilted. In the long run I think they will be fine, so for now we are just hoping they can adapt quickly to life outside.

Look for Part 3 sometime soon once the hops really start growing and updates on how they progress throughout the early summer months.

Cheers!

-Adam

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Old 05-19-2012, 01:05 AM   #8
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I love the Hop yard. Also I love the truck brings me back My dad had an 86 toyota truck . Those things run forever.

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Old 05-19-2012, 05:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kylito87 View Post
I love the Hop yard. Also I love the truck brings me back My dad had an 86 toyota truck . Those things run forever.
Thanks, I'm hoping for some much needed rain this weekend to help the roots spread. Yeah ours is an '88 with the 2.2l and 5 on the floor, which makes it as old as I am. Been riding in it and/or driving it ever since I can remember. Love that truck.
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:09 AM   #10
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Default Hop Yard Build - Part 3!

Hop Yard Build 2012 - Part 3
Wow, it's already August! Summer flies by when you are having fun growing hops and brewing beer along with all the other fun stuff to do. In the last update back in May, we had finished the trellises, laid manure, formed the hills and finally transferred the hops outdoors to their real home. I had mentioned last time that with all the hot weather we have had this summer, it took some trial and error to find the right balance of watering to keep the plants happy. Many of the larger plants had a bit of a setback due to the sudden change in environment. We are happy to report that they have all made a full recovery and are doing very well, especially the Cascades. Some of which are easily 14-15 feet in length!

The largest Cascade plant


Lots of leaves!



Around the third or forth week of July, we began to notice many of the plants starting to form their first hop cones. This was very exciting because not only did it mean we had managed to keep the plant alive and strong enough to make it to this point in the growing season, but it also means that hopefully come fall, we will have some fresh homegrown hops to experiment with in some of our home brews! As of now, each of the 10 plants are starting to produce hop cones to some degree. The Cascades are producing substantially more cones. Likely due to the fact that they are much larger and have many more leaves at this point in the season. I consider it a success already that we have made it through a very dry summer with all of our bines still looking healthy and growing each day.

Cascade Cones!


Foreground: Cascades, Background: Centennials

A few side notes thus far this summer. The Mister Landscaper automatic watering system was definitely a good choice. There was no way we would have been able to keep up a consistent, hourly watering routine with our many busy schedules during the last few months. The system has worked very well. I have noticed the nozzles at each plant need to be adjusted every so often, most likely due to the fact that the water out here is relatively hard and can clog the screens and filters throughout the system. Having said that, they have provided ample water to each plant each day all summer long. Also, weeding has been easier than originally anticipated. In general, it has only needed a decent once over every 1 1/2 - 2 weeks to keep things under control. I think at the end of this season or next spring I will add some sort of barrier between the grass and the hills to limit the amount to which the yard grows into the drainage areas on either side of the hills.
Overall at this point I don't think we could have asked for much more out of this experiment. The plants are healthy, the bugs and mildew are almost non-existent, and the hop cones are well on their way to amounting to a great first season harvest. We will have to wait until the end of summer to find out exactly how well it ends up.

They just keep growing, and growing, and growing...


Strongest Centennial



Until then, Cheers!
-Adam

As always, here is the link to the page on our blog if you would like to read about it there. http://fluke-brewing.blogspot.com/20...rt-3.html#more

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