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Growing hops from seed

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nagmay

nagmay

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Half of our experimental yard was first year plants - so I wasn't expecting much volume. Boy was that a mistake!
Several of the crosses had piles of huge cones. The volume quickly overwhelmed my homemade oast. Had to lay the rest out and borrow an industrial dehumidifier to get them drying. Guess we'll need to update our equipment next year.

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NitrogenWidget

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Half of our experimental yard was first year plants - so I wasn't expecting much volume. Boy was that a mistake!
Several of the crosses had piles of huge cones. The volume quickly overwhelmed my homemade oast. Had to lay the rest out and borrow an industrial dehumidifier to get them drying. Guess we'll need to update our equipment next year.

View attachment 643916
What are those?
Some funky green peppers? ;)
 
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nagmay

nagmay

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So, funny story. I've been focused on the the main hop yards that were started from seed back in 2013... but we also have another very small, second yard.

Nearly 400 seeds were germinated in 2016. Unfortunately, we only had room for a 60' run of trellis. So, we packed the little plants in every 2.5", put up some bird netting to climb, and walked away. The idea was to try a little darwinism, let them fight it out, and later see if anything good popped up.

hops - 1.jpg


Well, three years later and the trellis is quite a mess, but we have some contenders!

Out of the original 400, we picked 9 plants that are:
  • Healthy
  • Vigorous
  • Disease resistant (the yard has heavy mildew pressure)
  • With great smelling cones (we intentionally let them over-ripen to cull those with the garlic scent)
Digging out the crowns was a bit of an ordeal, but now we're ready to give them some real space and see what they can do.

hops - 2.jpg hops - 3.jpg hops - 4.jpg
 

marc_

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Anyone interested in trading hops seeds?

I've got some El Dorado cross seeds...
 

Sylvain

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for my 2019 hop seedlings.
an old man from my village kindly lends me the forest fence of a large plot where he grows oaks.
the sunny weather is not huge but ok, the land is clayey but very deep.
no watering system, nature will do the rest.

I have already installed my hybrid seedlings lupuloides and neomexicanus as well as lupuloides and lupulus.
it remains to replant the Neomexicanus

"pour mes semis de houblon 2019.
un vieux monsieur de mon village me prête gentiment la clôture forestière d'une grande parcelle où il fait pousser des chênes.
l'ensoleillemnt est pas énorme mais convenable, la terre est argileuse mais très profonde.
aucun système d'arrosage, la nature fera le reste.

j'ai déjà installé mes semis hybrides lupuloides et neomexicanus ainsi que lupuloides et lupulus.
il reste à replanter les Neomexicanus. "

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Sylvain

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West exposure, the axis of the fence is north / south
(exposition Ouest, l'axe du grillage est nord/sud)
 

Northern_Brewer

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Seems just about perfect, the health of the grass suggests it's good conditions for hops - not too hot, with enough rain to keep thirsty hops satisfied, looks like your conditions are pretty similar to Kent or Poperinge. Perhaps a bit more rain, so fungal diseases will be more of a problem, but that's not a bad thing when you are trying to select seedlings (as long as they don't _all_ die!). Deep clay is good, much of the best hop land in East Kent is on clay that historically was used for making bricks and tiles, although the underlying chalk does mean it drains OK.

The field of oaks in interesting - is he growing them for sale or to develop an oak forest?

I hope you're giving him some beer as rent!
 

Sylvain

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my region is the Vendée (French west coast), mild and sunny climate.
but we have to endure heatwaves and droughts in summer more and more difficult for wild flora and fauna.

"
ma région est la Vendée (côte ouest française), climat doux et ensoleillé.
mais nous devons supporter des canicules et des sécheresses en été de plus en plus difficile pour la faune et la flore sauvage"
 

Sylvain

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I put out my new sprouted seeds. but this morning it was a little cold (+0/1°C) and my potting ground froze for a few millimeters. Is there a risk that my seedlings are dead? Not necessarily frozen but that this drop in temperatures is too brutal?


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Northern_Brewer

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Adult hops generally benefit from a bit of frost, the worry in the UK is that we haven't had enough frost this winter. Obviously your babies are at their most vulnerable stage and you might lose the odd one, but they'll probably be OK.
 

Sylvain

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For the Neomexicanus seedlings I reassure myself as I can by thinking that in their original environment it can freeze until the end of May at the beginning of June.
so it should go well......

well, I hope !!!
 

bonecitybrewco

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For the Neomexicanus seedlings I reassure myself as I can by thinking that in their original environment it can freeze until the end of May at the beginning of June.
so it should go well......

well, I hope !!!
Yes I would be hopeful they will be just fine.
 

Sylvain

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no problem with the cold. everyone is fine.

here in photo my best seedling 2019 (it is a daughter of Amalia)
 

Abejazon

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Exciting! And a beautiful red dobie to boot!
I know you guys have painstakingly worked to start your own hop breeding, so what is going to be the easiest way for me to get started?
I’m starting rhizomes for the first time this year but would really like to start cross-pollinating and get some seeds for next year.
Is this a realistic goal?
Are there any members who share or sell seeds, pollen, or male plants?
I understand I could order some seeds from USDA, but I’ve also read here about some of the issues people have run into trying to bring those seeds to germination.
 

Sylvain

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there are some USDA batches that do not germinate. and other batches that are depleted (empty).
I have some Neomexicanus seeds or hybrids, but it is very difficult to send something from France to the USA.

I think there will be someone in your country who will want to send you seeds or a male (rhizome).

bonne chance
 

Abejazon

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Merci buku! Appreciate the good thoughts!
I would love to work with some neonexicanus. Is nm you’re preferred cross partner to start with? Any other varieties to recommend as a male partner?
 

Sylvain

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for me, the genetic complexity of Neomexicanus makes it an excellent candidate for cross-breeding. especially if you live in California
 

Apimyces

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It's probably a fair idea to start with some stocks that are adapted to your local growing conditions, including latitude and season length. And cultivars you appreciate.
 

Abejazon

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I’m in Northern California where there used to be a lot of hop production before prohibition. I know there have been successful feral hop harvests in a few different locales, but for my purposes...around what time of the season do male hop plants flower? That would be awesome to find my own pollen
 
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nagmay

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...around what time of the season do male hop plants flower? That would be awesome to find my own pollen
It all depends on location, but the males need to release pollen just as the female plants are starting to develop burrs. - so look for signs of those.

If you do find wild males, try to bag the male flowers just before they open. I have done this with simple brown paper bags. A few days later, give the bag a tap/shake before removing it to collect the pollen. Each cluster of male flowers will produce quite a bit of pollen.
 

Abejazon

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I submitted a request with GRIN (USDA) to get some neomexicanus seed, but was rejected because I’m just a home gardener. They are sending me “educational seed”...but not sure if that’s what I want to use.
Btw...I think they just released the latest accessions they collected from Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico if you’re considered a researcher or educator. Would love to get my hands on some of that!
I did make contact with the current owner of the old Hops-Meister hop farm. Trying to coordinate a day to go out there and take some cuttings. Any tips on trying to identify a male hop plant pre-flower?
 

Sylvain

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it is a pity that the borders between France and the USA are almost impossible.
I have a male Neomexicanus
 

Apimyces

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In Fall I would expect to get a decent seed crop from Neomexicanus seedlings (2nd year).
 
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nagmay

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Nagmay, where are you on your project?
How are your crossings going?
Going well. The 8 contenders from the original crosses are now mature and producing a ton of cones. All taste good, but some of the flavors are really unique. Brewing IPAs about every other weekend to compare and contrast.

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We are also working with 9 new crosses (out of 500 seedlings) - with heavy neo genes. Though, none of them have been tested for alpha/beta.

Now, we just need to think about where to go next with this project...
 

Sylvain

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I would love to see your hops and feel them. It must be amazing.

Have you been contacted by professional hops?
 
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