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Old 12-01-2012, 07:56 PM   #1
mrbeer1991
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Has anyone tries growing hops Indoors using some kind of hydroponics system? I know that the grow to be large vines but you can have the vines grow on strings and guide them where to go can you not?
How long does the vine have to be to start producing hops?

 
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:16 PM   #2
day_trippr
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Now that you raised the question, you can see a couple of related threads at the bottom of the screen...

...which isn't nearly the number of threads involving hydroponic hop growing. For that you need to use the forum Search tool, or use Google with a string like "hydroponics + hops site:homebrewtalk.com", sans the double quotes, of course...

Cheers!

 
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:27 PM   #3
HollisBT
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I read into it once before, but didn't go too in depth with my research as the topic quickly got well above my head lol.


From what I read, it *is* possible, but rather difficult. The root systems for hop vines need a lot of TLC, and are rather specific to their needs(at least when you try to grow them without dirt...), from what I read. One person had some luck with supporting the root ball in vermiculite, and using a mist-spray system for watering/feeding. This is not a true hydroponic system, but rather a slight departure from it, and a somewhat costly one I believe.

A google search should get you a few results, but I don't think there has been a lot of research on doing this yet, maybe you should pioneer it . A year round supply of fresh organic hops would be HUGE for the craft beer revolution that is happening at present.

 
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HollisBT View Post
[...] A year round supply of fresh organic hops would be HUGE for the craft beer revolution that is happening at present.
I don't think it makes any difference what kind of media is used to grow hops, they're still attuned to the sun cycle. So unless one creates an "artificial sun cycle" to simulate the lengthening and shortening of "daytime" with the seasons, a single harvest cycle is bound to result...

Cheers!

 
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:05 PM   #5
HollisBT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by day_trippr

I don't think it makes any difference what kind of media is used to grow hops, they're still attuned to the sun cycle. So unless one creates an "artificial sun cycle" to simulate the lengthening and shortening of "daytime" with the seasons, a single harvest cycle is bound to result...

Cheers!
Right, I thought that was more or less the concept behind hydroponically growing anything though... To move the growing area out of the natural surroundings and into a falsely created environment where you could simulate ideal conditions to nurture the plant...

As for the media, I'm not certain, but from all of my readings, the root system needs support, which just using a floating hydro system does not support. And that makes sense to me since we are talking about a rhizome and not a traditional seedling.

 
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:03 AM   #6
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I've never tried, but others have posted about mild success such as in this thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f92/aquaponic-hops-119624/.

I agree with the previous posters' comments. The biggest problems I see are:

1.) The massive root crown that develops and must be supported. You have tap roots that could go down as far as 10 feet or more. Rhizomes that will shoot out 7 feet or more.

2.) You need to provide it a way to grow at least 12 feet, preferably 16 ft or more straight up. This is on top of the room you left for the root mass below. (Starting to become a pretty tall building.)

3.) You need to simulate the sun's lengthening and shortening of days. I know this is easily achieved but at what cost?

4.) You should probably find a way to give it a cold dormancy period. I'm not 100% convinced this is needed, but its the way the plant experiences life in nature. I guess you could just chill the water down to 40F for an extended period or something similar?

 
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:08 AM   #7
AurenLamben
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GVH_Dan View Post
2.) You need to provide it a way to grow at least 12 feet, preferably 16 ft or more straight up. This is on top of the room you left for the root mass below. (Starting to become a pretty tall building.)
I've done some poking around and I know that the big commercial operations do vertical growing almost exclusively... But would horizontal growing negatively affect the crop or is it just a matter of yield?

 
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:22 PM   #8
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I'm not a botanist, biologist or horticulturalist...but this is the simplest way it was explained to me by some of those people.

In the wild, plants want to spread out as far as possible. They don't want to choke themselves out with their own offspring. If a hop bine were to produce a bunch of pollinated cones while it was lying on the ground, it would just produce offspring that would eventually compete with itself.

Instead, it waits until it can start growing up. Then it can catch windborne pollen from up to a mile away and it can drop its seeds farther away. Therefore, until the plant turns and starts growing up, it won't produce much for cones.

 
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:45 PM   #9
HollisBT
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I've always heard that the vines like to grow vertically, and do best when they climb. But I can't think of any reason why one couldn't try training the vine horizontally (as long a it is elevated and gives the vine something to grow on), on a slight incline, or even into any other shape (a spiral comes to mind for space saving, but this would require some effort to train and place the vine where you want it instead of where it wants to go.

 
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:01 PM   #10
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Hollis, as long as it goes up...you are good. An angle can be fine and there is a fair amount of research out there looking at different angles and effect on productivity. I believe a slight angle can help. But if everything or a significant amount of growth is horizontal, it won't do well.

A spiral may work, but it will take a lot of manual intervention unless it is a large spiral. When you are done with the season, it will also be a pain getting the old bine off of it.

 
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