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Old 09-09-2013, 08:38 PM   #1
CroptimusPrime
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Default Organic deep water culture hops (HYDRO HOPS)

Ill be building a contraption for this four site current culture h20 system.

Currently I'm deadest on brewing my own Scottish maple style ale.. I've never brewed beer, I've never grown hops either however I do understand botany and in theory know EXACTLY what this plant wants considering its relatives. Now...
Does anyone have experience with this? One thing I've been wondering is how will we continue these hops, there's no winter for them to sit in ground and chill.. Do I just go back to a early summer photo period and let it "revegetate" or is a dormancy period a necessity. Also a Q to anyone currently growing hops indoors where is over kill regarding PAR/lumens/watts? Does quality increase with wattage? And is there a oz-lb/watt average youve noticed in your system. Ill update as things progress ill be doing a rather unique screen of green for this system.

any recommendations on good hops to grow for this style please let me know. I'm more interested in "land race" hops but there doesn't really seem to be any. Personally long term I'd like to breed hops.
I'm definitely growing fuggle, that's about all I got so far.

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Old 09-10-2013, 05:26 PM   #2
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Hops arent like growing their cousins. Their cousins grow in a fairly neat confined space that can be pruned and kept clean.

Hops need 15+ feet of (vertical) growing room to reach their anywhere near their full potential, unless you plan to string your hop plants under 20 feet of grow lights its not feasible. They need to go vertical as well, or else your in for a lot of mess as they fall over on themselves trying to grow vertically. At a minimum you need to have your support line holding the plant up slightly vertical so it can climb. Its a vine plant that grows like crazy.

During the prime season hop plants can grow several inches a day.

I dont really know of anyone that has successfully grown hops indoors, there are a few who try by windows or what not but they quickly realize their plants are horribly stunted not only by the lack of root space but by the lack of light.

Have you actually looked at and seen how hops look when they are growing on this forum? I have no experience in hydro but i understand the basics and can see now real feasible way to do it.

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Old 09-11-2013, 02:15 AM   #3
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I don't know much about its cousin beyond what I see growing in the ditch...I don't know much about hydroponics, beyond the information on this forum...but I can tell you Fuzze is right. Heck, when you grow a hop in a 20" diameter pot at 3 feet high after the first year that pot is almost 1/3 root mass. By the third year it is choking itself to death.

If you do achieve normal growth in your hydro system, you'll need much bigger containers than those.

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Old 09-18-2013, 02:11 PM   #4
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Damn your ambitious, never brewed a batch but ready to grow their own hops. I admire that, learning to brew was ambition enough for me!

I heard of hydroponic production of hops but that was some company out west doing it in a 30 ft greenhouse. I don't think indoor production is worth all the expenses that go into it. All that energy sucked by the grow lights; the expense of building/maintaining the hydro system. Plus they can grown 20 ft long so your going to have to develop a horizontal trellising system to prevent them from getting scorched by the grow lights. Why bother when you can have an awesome organic yield outside with half the effort?

But on the other hand you will have less disease (unless the rhizomes just rot in your DWC) and pests. Also since there isn't any seasonality would the hops just produce all year? Or would they just become exhausted from the constant pressure of production? Hops have adapted to colder climates than their cousin. That is probably why they have a rhizome and not just simply roots.

You might be setting yourself up for disaster, or you might be onto something. If you do decide to press on, I'd be really interested in following your grow! Good luck.

Oh and GVH DAN is right. That system is way too tiny for rhizomes to even fit. If you dig into a hop patch you will find rhizomes an inch or 2 under the soil. I imagine if the stems growing out of the rhizomes are in water they would rot. Maybe DWC isn't the way to go. Have you considered a system more like NFT?

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Old 10-03-2013, 03:08 PM   #5
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Day-8 Hydro Hops

Heys guys!

We appreciate all the support and feedback you've given us so far. The hops we chose to run are Fuggle and Teamaker. Fuggle seems to be doing much better but has had no sun burn. all are pushing up top and growing roots down below. As the sun hits plants and buckets they heat up quite a bit. We added a water chiller and banner to block the sun. We seem to be doing much better in just two days.


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Healthy Fuggle

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burnt Teamaker

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Is this a good temp for the root zone?

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Wait till I add rooting hormone!


As for vertical growth we plan on using trellis netting or string and would like to try and keeping bending them over. We will be using two 600watt LED's for the lighting and a huge south facing window. We figure that the lights alone should do the job. When the roots eventually out grow the system there are 13 and 35 gallon units we can use. Currently they are only in 8 gallons of water.



Our budget is not a huge issue since we are a hydroponics shop. We are just enjoying a new challenge! Our hops knowledge is limited and would love any feedback. Thanks guys


image-4262130457.jpg

Full system

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We still have at least 9' vertical

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Old 10-03-2013, 03:22 PM   #6
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What are you using for fertilizers and at what PPM/ec? It looks like they had a hard time adjusting to a hydro setup. Were they transplanted straight from dirt or rooted rhizome cuttings?

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Old 10-03-2013, 04:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CroptimusPrime View Post
Is this a good temp for the root zone?
Who knows...I would pick something close to typical soil temperature in the upper midwest but that changes as the root goes down. I can tell you they go pretty dormant when air temperatures (and corresponding soil temperatures) rise into the 90 Fs and above.

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Originally Posted by CroptimusPrime View Post
As for vertical growth we plan on using trellis netting or string and would like to try and keeping bending them over.
The plants definitely understand when they are growing "up" and when they are not. They need a certain amount of "up" to actually start producing. There is a fair amount of research on the best angle, the best height, etc. but I'm not a horticulturalist so I can't spout that information out.

I do have a number of plants I keep in pots for the purpose of transporting around to homebrewer talks and the like. I'm limited to a pole about 6 feet tall. I have tried a number of things to boost production in those pots, though it will always be less than something in the ground simply because its root constrained. But here's what I have found:

- Worst: let it grow up the 6 feet and stop. It results in an ugly hop bush.

- Better: Hang twine from the top of the 6 foot pole and train it to the twine. When it reaches the top, drop the twine down 3 feet and let it continue to grow. I get more production out of the top but the bottom 5 to 8 feet is all in a coil sitting on top of the soil in the pot, spilling out and generally a disease magnet.

- Best, so far: Same as the last. I keep dropping it down as it hits the top. But instead of leaving it where it falls, I start wrapping the bine and twine around the pole in a barber's pole fashion. So now I get 12 to 15 feet of growth compacted into the first 2 to 3 feet of the pole, its all going "up", nothing is in the soil. It just seems happier. Eventually though, it turns into an ugly bush at the top because side arms are going in every direction and tangling themselves up. But I guess beauty isn't priority number 1 here, right?
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Old 10-06-2013, 02:26 AM   #8
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I'm quite familiar with guano/compost teas, but I never heard of a teamaker. Whats that all about?

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Old 10-07-2013, 04:08 AM   #9
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Teamaker is a low alpha variety of hop. Good for making a tea since its not that bitter.

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Old 10-08-2013, 10:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FermentNEthinG
What are you using for fertilizers and at what PPM/ec? It looks like they had a hard time adjusting to a hydro setup. Were they transplanted straight from dirt or rooted rhizome cuttings?
No nuts for 2 weeks. Ppm is at 120. Yes straight to water.
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