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Growing Hops in Charlotte

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CarolinaMatt

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Hello!

Looking in to ordering some hop rhizomes (cascade) to try growing at home.

Any others have success growing hops at home in North Carolina or around Charlotte?
-Matt
 

CWood

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I grew Cascade in Raleigh for several years before moving back to the mountains. They did great. I would ask Jess at Alternative Beverage as he's been selling rhizomes for years out of Charlotte. Good luck.
 

BrewInspector

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Cascade do well here in Charlotte. Probably on about my 5th or 6th year with them. Even split off some rizomes for more plants in the hop garden over the years.

Willamette failed to produce and were generally not suitable.

Haven't tried any other
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CarolinaMatt

CarolinaMatt

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I grew Cascade in Raleigh for several years before moving back to the mountains. They did great. I would ask Jess at Alternative Beverage as he's been selling rhizomes for years out of Charlotte. Good luck.
Good deal! Yes, was planning to get them from alternative. Excited to try it out!
 
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CarolinaMatt

CarolinaMatt

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Cascade do well here in Charlotte. Probably on about my 5th or 6th year with them. Even split off some rizomes for more plants in the hop garden over the years.

Willamette failed to produce and were generally not suitable.

Haven't tried any otherView attachment 612123View attachment 612124
wow! What a beautiful sight! Did you have any crop from year one of your rhizomes? How many did you plant first year? Good to see success in Charlotte!
 

BrewInspector

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Started with 4 Cascade. Two at each of the end posts in the pic. Each year I will trim off some stray growth to start a plant in between. Now there are 2 rows, each with several plants.

First year I got a couple ounces. More in later years. I had around 3 pounds in 2017. Only a little more than a pound and 1/2 in 2018. Some years I pay more attention to the initial sprouts and selecting bines. Other years I just let them go and only cut back later growth.

Year 3 for a plant is usually their best. I'll spend some time during growing season training them on various configurations of string every few days. I want to create a taller more confined structure for them. Right now I just run some strings and rope to give them something to grow on and for ease in picking.

Usually pick 2 or 3 times before the season is over. Weigh and vacuum pack in 1 ounce packs to freeze.
 

CWood

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I also tried Willamette and Mt. Hood. Cascade definitely did the best. Hope to plant cascade and some noble-type hop this year if I can find one or 2 suitable for the higher elevations in NC. Good luck.
 
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CarolinaMatt

CarolinaMatt

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Started with 4 Cascade. Two at each of the end posts in the pic. Each year I will trim off some stray growth to start a plant in between. Now there are 2 rows, each with several plants.

First year I got a couple ounces. More in later years. I had around 3 pounds in 2017. Only a little more than a pound and 1/2 in 2018. Some years I pay more attention to the initial sprouts and selecting bines. Other years I just let them go and only cut back later growth.

Year 3 for a plant is usually their best. I'll spend some time during growing season training them on various configurations of string every few days. I want to create a taller more confined structure for them. Right now I just run some strings and rope to give them something to grow on and for ease in picking.

Usually pick 2 or 3 times before the season is over. Weigh and vacuum pack in 1 ounce packs to freeze.
Thought I'd check in -- how are your hops coming along? Mine are coming along decently. Ended up with 5 bines climbing up about 4.5 ft vertical so far and now they are starting their horizontal adventure.
 

BrewInspector

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Overwhelming. I have quite a wall of bines and starting to build a roof between the rows. Already have several cones and side arms. The current cones will age out before the real production starts.

They smell great. Pictures are a couple weeks old now. The "trellis" is a recycled trampoline frame with string coming up from 4x4s surrounding the bed.
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BrewInspector

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Latest pictures.
First photo looks much the same but there are several more side arms crossing that fill in between the vertical growth.

Better view of the newer row with generally the youngest plants. Most are first or second year
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A little hard to see them in the photos. They get lost in the green. The youngest are at about the same stage as you described with less side growth
 
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CarolinaMatt

CarolinaMatt

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Wow that looks amazing!!! I just finished creating/adding the second part to my trellis system so they can go horizontal. I'll try to get a better up close picture of the hops tonight. Seems like some flowers are starting to set it!
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BrewInspector

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Looking good.

They don't much like to go horizontal without help. Once on the rope they will generally stay but new growth may just shoot out and if left alone will double back and twist in on itself. While they are really growing just wrap them around the rope counterclockwise.

They do better on their own if there is a little upward slope. If you could raise the center it will help you with a little less training of the plants.

I usually have time to wander out everyday and do a little training. I'll unwrap any that I missed twisting around themselves and put them where there is an opening. If I skip a couple days there is usually noticable growth.
 
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CarolinaMatt

CarolinaMatt

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Looking good.

They don't much like to go horizontal without help. Once on the rope they will generally stay but new growth may just shoot out and if left alone will double back and twist in on itself. While they are really growing just wrap them around the rope counterclockwise.

They do better on their own if there is a little upward slope. If you could raise the center it will help you with a little less training of the plants.

I usually have time to wander out everyday and do a little training. I'll unwrap any that I missed twisting around themselves and put them where there is an opening. If I skip a couple days there is usually noticeable growth.
Ahhh good call! Yes I did have a little slope to it and have been wrapping it each day if it comes undone at all so it seems they are grasping their new task a little more each day! The rhizomes I got came from a 5 year old bine that was harvested in April. I assuming I fall in to the year one catergory for these though with what I'll get for output?
 
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CarolinaMatt

CarolinaMatt

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Yeh. Maybe little more than a handful. Expect a lot more growth next year.
as long as I get a few ounces for my wet hop session ipa I will be pleased! I did accidentally break off the tip of one of the bines. Any experience with this...It literally is the tip part that is leading the outward growth. Will it regrow and continue to go or will it stop and just focus on side growth?
 

BrewInspector

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Breaking the tip stops further growth. Side growth will continue.

Plan your brew for late July- Aug. When they should ripe. Unless you have a lot on the bines, expect to use store bought hops with yours as a bonus. It takes a LOT of wet hops to make a difference
 
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CarolinaMatt

CarolinaMatt

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Breaking the tip stops further growth. Side growth will continue.

Plan your brew for late July- Aug. When they should ripe. Unless you have a lot on the bines, expect to use store bought hops with yours as a bonus. It takes a LOT of wet hops to make a difference
okay shoot...I was quite sad when I noticed it broke off :( at least it will still hopefully produce!
 

lockrob2000

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Hello- I'm in Charlotte as well, and I am in the second year and not getting that level of growth.
Do you have yours in full sun or partial?
 
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CarolinaMatt

CarolinaMatt

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Hello- I'm in Charlotte as well, and I am in the second year and not getting that level of growth.
Do you have yours in full sun or partial?
Nice! I have mine soon pretty much from morning until about 4pm-5pm. Post a pic of them when you get a chance! I'm guessing BrewInspector is full sun.
 

BrewInspector

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Mine get good morning sun. After 5 or so there is a bit of shade cast by a neighbor's tree. The older row with the most growth faces mostly East, North East. The younger row is on the Western side.
 

lockrob2000

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Mine get sun most of the day, so I'm wondering if the issue is that I have them planted in large (5G) pots.
Maybe they need to go into the ground...
 
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CarolinaMatt

CarolinaMatt

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Mine get sun most of the day, so I'm wondering if the issue is that I have them planted in large (5G) pots.
Maybe they need to go into the ground...
Do they get enough drainage in the pot?
 

BrewInspector

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Drainage and water. They take a lot of water but you don't want them in a constant swamp.

Ground is good. Be sure they are where you want them, they do spread. The roots radiate outward and shoots can appear some distance away. I haven't had much of that growth appearing but the rizomes can be found well away from where they were planted.
 

Jerry Wofford

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Looking good.

They don't much like to go horizontal without help. Once on the rope they will generally stay but new growth may just shoot out and if left alone will double back and twist in on itself. While they are really growing just wrap them around the rope counterclockwise.

They do better on their own if there is a little upward slope. If you could raise the center it will help you with a little less training of the plants.

I usually have time to wander out everyday and do a little training. I'll unwrap any that I missed twisting around themselves and put them where there is an opening. If I skip a couple days there is usually noticable growth.
https://www.craftbeer.com/craft-beer-muses/the-secret-life-of-hops it's clockwise
 

BrewInspector

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Well that may be...
Someone needs to tell mine that.

Every self started and otherwise ignored since they are doing it themselves are growing counter clockwise unless my digital clock is in the wrong hemisphere.

Ok. The direction is as viewed from above looking down the twine. Not from my typical point of view. So yes. Viewed from above it is clockwise
 
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CarolinaMatt

CarolinaMatt

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Are we getting close to harvest? Going to grab one flower tonight to see how it is progressing along.
 

Stand

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Mine are starting to look promising. Not sure when to harvest, but I am waiting to brew.
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lockrob2000

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Do they get enough drainage in the pot?
Sorry for the late reply, but I think that the issue is t hat the pots get too hot.
They get enough water and the drainage is good. I just think that the pots (kind of) cook the plants.
The soil was arable and loose when starting, but within a short period it had baked into a hard rock.
That can't be good.
thanks-
 

BrewInspector

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Looks a little a early but hard to tell from a photo.They should be springy when compressed. A little papery.

I usually look for a little browning at some of the tips with a rustling sound and feel (paper like) when rolled in fingers.

Other than the already harvested early batch, I expect I will start harvesting some in the middle of August when I start to see some are ripe. Most will come in late August.
 

BrewInspector

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1 too soon (smells green, light color, soft)
2 nearly there (darker, little springy)
3 almost too late (springy, crunchy, browning)
4 too late.(brown, falls apart, crunchy)

Since they do not all rope at the same time I will end up with a slight mix of anything from 2-4 with most falling in the 2-3 range.

Squeeze one that you know is not ripe. See how it stays a little flat and how soft it was? Then squeeze one that has a touch of browning. It will spring back more and feel a little crunchy.
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CarolinaMatt

CarolinaMatt

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1234

1 too soon (smells green, light color, soft)
2 nearly there (darker, little springy)
3 almost too late (springy, crunchy, browning)
4 too late.(brown, falls apart, crunchy)

Since they do not all rope at the same time I will end up with a slight mix of anything from 2-4 with most falling in the 2-3 range.

Squeeze one that you know is not ripe. See how it stays a little flat and how soft it was? Then squeeze one that has a touch of browning. It will spring back more and feel a little crunchy. View attachment 638172View attachment 638173
this is amazing! Thank you for sharing! How do you dry your hops?
 

BrewInspector

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I use a food dehydrator.

I'll pick a bunch put in a bucket.
Load up the dehydrator, rotate the trays when the lower tray hops start to dry. (They will open up).
Dump dried hops in another container, refill the dehydrator then start weighing out 1 ounce of dried hops in a large bowl. Form a new bag and vacuum seal each ounce as I go along. I have to stuff the bag by hand squeezing them into a small area.

Start the cycle over again.

It breaks up the work to load the dehydrator and package then wait for the next batch to dry.

How long it takes depends on how much I place on each tray and I don't recall the specific amount of time it takes for them to dry. Weighing and packaging doesn't take much time at all. You'll be surprised how many dry hops it takes to make an ounce.

One trick for loading the dehydrator is to place a cover over the central hole (I use a Gatorade cap) to keep them from falling into the fan and heating element area in the base. Just remember to remove it before adding the next tray and when you are done.

Don't let the fresh hops sit too long. If you delay drying them they will start to decompose from the weight and moisture.

1 dried hops
2 bagged
3 sealed
4 dehydrator and sealed hops in 2017
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Stand

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Last year I used a box fan and spread them between two oversized kitchen towels to avoid heating them. It worked really well, but it was my first year. I didn't have that many to dry out.

This year I'm going to measure my box fan and buy cheap-o AC filters. I figure I can just buy more filters and keep stacking them depending on how much I get.
 

BrewInspector

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So far I have harvested, dried and sealed 17.5 oz for 2019.
I may get another few oz before I get them all.

Better than last year where I only got about 15 oz
Two years ago I managed just over 48 oz
 
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CarolinaMatt

CarolinaMatt

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alright... spring weather is upon us! Time to start of year two. I have no idea where to start. Do I need to cut back all of the old/dead vines? I never got around to that. I noticed last night that there was a shoot starting to come out of a "dead" vine just above the ground. Any tips would be appreciated -- thanks!
 
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CarolinaMatt

CarolinaMatt

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So far I have harvested, dried and sealed 17.5 oz for 2019.
I may get another few oz before I get them all.

Better than last year where I only got about 15 oz
Two years ago I managed just over 48 oz
realized I did not tag you in my post -- alright... spring weather is upon us! Time to start of year two. I have no idea where to start. Do I need to cut back all of the old/dead vines? I never got around to that. I noticed last night that there was a shoot starting to come out of a "dead" vine just above the ground. Any tips would be appreciated -- thanks!
 

BrewInspector

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I haven't done anything yet either.

First I will remove the old dry bines.
This year I plan to trim all of the initial shoots once they emerge from the ground cover.

I'll be waiting until that first batch of shoots is around 3-4 inches to trim.
I'll try to limit the second shoots to about 3 per plant that I will allow to grow.
 
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CarolinaMatt

CarolinaMatt

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I haven't done anything yet either.

First I will remove the old dry bines.
This year I plan to trim all of the initial shoots once they emerge from the ground cover.

I'll be waiting until that first batch of shoots is around 3-4 inches to trim.
I'll try to limit the second shoots to about 3 per plant that I will allow to grow.
sounds good - is it normal for it to have a shoot grow off the old/dead bine? Or should the new shoots come from the dirt/ground/rhizome?
 
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