About to order a bunch of hop plants, need some guidance

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Erik the Anglophile

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So, I am about to order a bunch of hop plants, of the following varieties:
Böle, Korsta, Bella, Gamla Källmon, Botten.
Now you have likely never heard of these, but they are old Swedish varieties found and genome analysed by a group of people traveling around old farm/homesteads trying to find and save old hop varieties from the old days, especially the ~1400's to 1700's when it was illegala to NOT be a homebrewer.
Most of them can be found in old Church and village records dating back to about the 1600's, but likely trace their lineage back to the middle ages or possibly even late viking ages.
As you understand I am doing this both as a fun project to have my own hops, and as a way to engage in a bit of "living history".
The thing is I don't know all that much about hop growing. I know how to grow things in general but not all the specifics of hop plants except they need a support to grow on, should be trimmed after harvest and kept protected from frost during winter.
Can someone recomend me any Good book or website where I can read about the basics?
I live in the far North of Sweden near the arctic circle where a meter (or more) of snow and winter temps of -30c are not uncommon, altough during summer temps up to +30-35c can happen and the sun never really sets for 4 months.
All varieties used originate/were found in the northern half of the country, so they should survive winter here, but I will likely need to take some precautions.
 

Murph4231

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Dude that sounds very interesting. While unfortunately I can't offer much advice for your part of the world. I will show you my trellis in the South Eastern United States. This was last year. A new small hop garden being established to supply hops for personal home brewing needs. IMG_20210714_122400479.jpg IMG_20210714_122350258.jpg IMG_20210823_173453565.jpg IMG_20210714_150708267.jpg IMG_20210806_180727815.jpg Good luck with your project.
 

madscientist451

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Don't over think it. Put the rhizomes in the ground and give them something to climb on. I grow mine along the south side of my house and run strings up the the shutters on the second story. If its dry there in the summer give them plenty of water. I grow Cascade and Brewer's Gold and don't apply any sprays or do anything special with them. If you are growing local varieties, you shouldn't have to fuss with them too much. The biggest chore is once established, keeping them cut back so they don't take over the whole area.
 

madscientist451

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The spot where I planted mine was already a flower garden, so the soil was pretty good for growing things. Like any gardening project, if the soil needs amendments, do that before planting. Also, since you are ordering plants from a local supplier, check with them to see if any have special needs, but avoid varieties that need a lot of spraying, like fungicides, to keep them healthy.
Also, here's a tip I forgot about: My hops plants emerge from the ground about the end of March, at the end of April, I cut them back to about 6-8" from the ground. This delays the growth by about a month, instead of the hops being ready near the end of July, they are ready to be picked end of August/early September. This is important for me because the end of August is very dry around here and hop cones seem to like the warm dry weather, June and July tend to be wetter months. So the first few seasons (you won't get many hops the first year) just observe how they grow and what your weather pattern is and make adjustments that suit your area.
.
There are also lots of you tube videos
 

Leezer

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Good luck with your project, it sounds very interesting. I bought hop plants several years back from Great Lakes Hops and found helpful information on their website. Might be worth checking out.
 

DuncB

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@Erik the Anglophile

I bought my hop plants here but there is really good info on the website as well as recipes for wet hops, worth a look.
Don't plan for too much yield first year.

 

Northern_Brewer

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The thing is I don't know all that much about hop growing. I know how to grow things in general but not all the specifics of hop plants except they need a support to grow on, should be trimmed after harvest and kept protected from frost during winter.

I live in the far North of Sweden near the arctic circle where a meter (or more) of snow and winter temps of -30c are not uncommon, altough during summer temps up to +30-35c can happen and the sun never really sets for 4 months.
All varieties used originate/were found in the northern half of the country, so they should survive winter here, but I will likely need to take some precautions.

I wouldn't get too hung up on frost thing once they're established - hops are temperate plants, most of the traditional hop growing areas see winter temperatures of -10°C to -20°C and in some cases lower and the hops don't die. The famous BB1 plant that was the parent of most of the Wye breeding programme and hence almost all high-alpha hops was found growing wild in Morden, Manitoba where the record low is -42°C. And assuming that you don't get those temperatures without snow on the ground, the snow will do a lot of insulating for you. But if you have young cuttings, then they will obviously need more protection. And you certainly won't have to worry about cones appearing in July!!! September is the main harvest season in the UK, in a heatwave it might start in mid August, some later varieties might run into October, but the public holiday on the last Monday of August marks the traditional start of the picking season.

In general, their vigorous production of leafy growth makes hops hungry and thirsty - they love deep clay soils such as those in East Kent. But while they like their roots to be able to access water, a damp atmosphere will promote fungal diseases, particularly downy mildew ( Pseudoperonospora humuli), whereas powdery mildew (Podosphaera macularis) doesn't need water for infection but is helped by conditions where the hop is producing lots of tender growth. Landraces in particular are rather prone to diseases - a big part of the Wye programme was trying to breed better disease resistance.
 

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If I lived in an area as cold as yours I would progressively add layers of straw over them until snow prevented me from adding more. I also would get it back off of them in a hurry in spring
So, I am about to order a bunch of hop plants, of the following varieties:
Böle, Korsta, Bella, Gamla Källmon, Botten.
Now you have likely never heard of these, but they are old Swedish varieties found and genome analysed by a group of people traveling around old farm/homesteads trying to find and save old hop varieties from the old days, especially the ~1400's to 1700's when it was illegala to NOT be a homebrewer.
Most of them can be found in old Church and village records dating back to about the 1600's, but likely trace their lineage back to the middle ages or possibly even late viking ages.
As you understand I am doing this both as a fun project to have my own hops, and as a way to engage in a bit of "living history".
The thing is I don't know all that much about hop growing. I know how to grow things in general but not all the specifics of hop plants except they need a support to grow on, should be trimmed after harvest and kept protected from frost during winter.
Can someone recomend me any Good book or website where I can read about the basics?
I live in the far North of Sweden near the arctic circle where a meter (or more) of snow and winter temps of -30c are not uncommon, altough during summer temps up to +30-35c can happen and the sun never really sets for 4 months.
All varieties used originate/were found in the northern half of the country, so they should survive winter here, but I will likely need to take some precautions.
 

bwible

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I have never heard of any of those hops. I know alpha acid percentages vary from year to year by weather and amount of rain and such, just like other plants. So when you harvest your hop cones, you won’t really know how bitter they are unless you send some out and have them tested. From what I understand that is difficult and prohibitively expensive at the homebrew level. So people always say grow your aroma hop varieties and buy your bittering hops. Hopefully many of those ancient varieties are good aroma hops.
 

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Welcome to growing hops, Lots of good advise here. I grow varieties in Western Montana, where we have have cold and snow. Advise, Hops like to visit each other, both growth and rhizomes, so leave enough room to keep these buggers separated. Also, Once you have hops, you have hops, they are a very hardy plant if they have room. I have mine on the West side of a high shop wall, using masonry string for them to climb on, When I harvest, the cord just goes down with the bines. Attached is a old manual that I used, Hope it helps
Cheers
 

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bwible

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Don't over think it. Put the rhizomes in the ground and give them something to climb on. I grow mine along the south side of my house and run strings up the the shutters on the second story. If its dry there in the summer give them plenty of water. I grow Cascade and Brewer's Gold and don't apply any sprays or do anything special with them. If you are growing local varieties, you shouldn't have to fuss with them too much. The biggest chore is once established, keeping them cut back so they don't take over the whole area.
I know a guy in the city who grew his on a regular clothesline.
 
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Erik the Anglophile

Erik the Anglophile

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The plan is to use them as aroma hops, mainly for hopstands in my bitters and historically inspired stock ales and such, the bittering charges will be commercial hops with known alpha levels.
On the website I plan to buy from it seems they are good aroma hops, they are also homebrewers and test all the hop varieties they cultivate.
I have tried two old Swedish hop varieties in beer, and a common theme seem to be a subtle fruityness mixed with old world hop flavours/aromas. Sort of if the slightly piney citrus-y flavour of Styrian Goldings had a bastard child with frutier English varieties and traditional noble hops.
I have my hopes up for these once I get any yields to talk about.
 
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Erik the Anglophile

Erik the Anglophile

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So, one each of "Böle" "Gamla Källmon" 'Bella" and "Korsta" ordered, delivery due to sometime early April.
Will keep them inside until the ground is not frozen anymore and the frosty nights are gone. We have a bunch of chilies we are cultivating with 2 plant lamps to be planted outside later this spring so they should do fine.
 

ehall

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what latitude are you at? hops do best between 35 and 55 degrees. there are exceptions outside that range depending on how temperate or not it is. They will need all day sun where you're at too.
 

Saunassa

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what latitude are you at? hops do best between 35 and 55 degrees. there are exceptions outside that range depending on how temperate or not it is. They will need all day sun where you're at too.
Well being in northern Sweden he more or less has 24 hour sunlight for a good part of the summer.
As to the cold, here in northern Minnesota my hop plants usually have 3/4 meter of snow over them and temps of -45c has not had an affect on the nugget and Willamette that I grow. Biggest part is keeping them watered during the hot dry days of summer without waterlogging them.
 
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Erik the Anglophile

Erik the Anglophile

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I am at laritude 65. But as said these varieties are from up here, and most of them were growing "feral" at old abandoned farmsteads/homesteads when they were found, so they should do fine and not require any extreme maintenance.
The alpha acid for all of them seems to be rather moderate, can probably expect something like 3-7%, they are not to be bittering hops anyways.
But the oil levels seem to be pretty high for most of these older varieties, so they should be ecxellent for use in flameout and hopstand additions.
 

Miraculix

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Great plan! I would do the same, if I've had a garden. Congratulations! Any idea about potential alpha content of the old varieties?
 

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I grew hops in a raised bed in Wisconsin, where we regularly had stretches of winter at -20 to -30C. The rhizomes never struggled to come back in spring despite the soil containers being exposed to the air on both sides. Hops are extremely resilient, you shouldn't have too much trouble.

Some tips:
The plants will get heavy towards the end of the growing season. Use either very heavy duty string or a metal line, and make sure whatever you are anchoring the lines to can hold the weight.

The bines will grow extremely quickly in midsummer. 10-20cm per day is typical. Nothing you really need to do about it other than enjoy how cool the plants are.

They are pretty thirsty but also need good drainage. Make sure to water them often.

You want to leave the green growth attached to the base until first frost so the plant has time to pull nutrients from the leaves back into the roots. If possible, a system where you can unhook or untie the climbing line, lower the bine, harvest the hops and then reattach the line worked well for me.

You'll want to trim back the first few bines that come up in spring. They're known as "bull bines" and they don't have the same strength as later growth.
 

Homebrew Harry

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Welcome to growing hops, Lots of good advise here. I grow varieties in Western Montana, where we have have cold and snow. Advise, Hops like to visit each other, both growth and rhizomes, so leave enough room to keep these buggers separated. Also, Once you have hops, you have hops, they are a very hardy plant if they have room. I have mine on the West side of a high shop wall, using masonry string for them to climb on, When I harvest, the cord just goes down with the bines. Attached is a old manual that I used, Hope it helps
Cheers
Good info. Thanks for posting this !
 
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Erik the Anglophile

Erik the Anglophile

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And the hops are in the ground.
I planted them this weekend, after a few days of letting them sit outside in the pots during the days, then a few days of having them outside during nights also to harden them a bit.
the Summer so far has been kinda sh1tty, so I will have to see how big they get this first year. But I saw some new leafs developing when I put them in the ground so I have some hope, hops are tough little bastards.
The 2 varieties that come from the Southern half of the country I might have to limit to 2 bines each summer so they have a chance to grow cones and get ready for winter before the weather gets too cold, but on the other hand we found a hop plant on our property that has likely stood unattended for decades, have counted 5 bines coming from it already so it seems to thrive here in the unforgiving North...
 

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Erik the Anglophile

Erik the Anglophile

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As a bonus: The mystery hops are coming along nicely, there was an old trellis by them that I will guide them to when they get big enough.
Come fall I will see if they develop any cones, if they smell "grassy" they are not intended for brewing right? And if they have that distinct hoppy smell to them I should be good to just harvest, dry and chuck'em in the freezer.
Tbh it would be fun to brew a mystery hop test beer...
 

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Erik the Anglophile

Erik the Anglophile

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A little update.
I think I kept them in the milk cartons for a bit too long, and in a window on the top floor, so they got a little sun burnt and under nutrioned.
Some leaves and 2 bines in total (on 2 plants/1 bine each) have seem to died, along with the top part of several bines.
The good news are that the lower part of the bines look green and healthy, and they have started to shoot new branches and leaves, so they probably became invigorated by being planted outside and with access to lots of fresh soil.
I will chalk it up as a rookie misstake as it's My first try at hops.
Luckily as I understand it is pretty hard to manage to kill these little bastards...
The weather right now is kinda shifting between (somewhat) warm and sunny, and rain, wich along with 24h daylight should be perfect for them in this growth stage, lets hope it gets a bit warmer and sunnier later on during summer.
I don't really expect any harvest this year, but to just let them get a good foothold and maybe a decent harvest next autumn. But I look forward to seeing if the mystery hop plant produces anything worthwhile, I have counted 7 about 50cm long bines so far, almost 1cm thick...
 

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