Growing Hops in cold climates? (Alaska)

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takedown

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I don't know much about growing hops but am interested in trying to grow them. Has anyone on here tried starting them inside to avoid cold winters? I would imagine our summer would work well since they grow well in the N. West but not sure how they handle the winters.

Where can you buy seeds or starters?

Kevin
 

david_42

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You order the rhizomes in March/April. No reason you can't start them inside the first year, but you really don't want to be digging them up every year. Some people grow them in half barrels and take them inside. Others mulch heavily after the Fall die-back.
 

pilotdane

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Where are you in Alaska? There is a big difference between Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau.

My brother-in-law lived 2 1/2 hours out of Fairbanks and had a nice greenhouse to extend his season.
 

Kershner_Ale

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From what I've heard and seen, hops grow really well in south central Alaska (Anchorage area) but it seems there is not enough of a day / night cycle during summer time to allow the cones to fully develop. That, and our growing season is really short so when the days start getting shorter we could easily get freezing temps and snow that'll pretty much end the cone development. But, I'm still not 100% convinced it can't be pulled off up here. I say go for it and let us know how it works.
 

david_42

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A good idea is to plant the early maturing hops, like Fuggle or Hallertauer mittelfrueher. Freshops.com has a link to the USDA named hop list that includes Maturity.
 
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takedown

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I'm in anchorage and will give it a try and let everyone know how it went (or didn't). Thanks for all the info
 

cheezydemon3

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Container growing with some grow lights could extend the season on both ends if you have the space.
 

brewmonk

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Hi, you will probably need a BUNCH of light watts to get this to work.

I just hooked up a 175w halide over my hops (in 5 gal buckets) in my basement. I have a 150w sodium standing by in case it need it - for either output or spectrum (two separate sources reduces shadows, too).

[p.s. those are the two kinds of street lights - bluish, and orangish.]

The buckets (with drain holes) will get plopped in a hole dug outside when temps are right (it should also help keep the rhyzomes from migrating.)

If these things start growing like they are supposed to, you/I/we may have to rig up a big cone of rabbitwire over each bucket. you'll be able to train the bine(s) up in a big, expanding spiral.

I might leave the buckets outside permanently, you may be bringing them in anually. Drop an empty bucket in the hole to overwinter and not have to redig. for lots of snow MARK THE HOLE (just a guess) :^)

- - -

If you start indoors, and move outdoors for better growth, you might try cutting them back early so they can bush out a little. If you can cone-trellis them you could bring them back in (check your dimensions) to flower and cone out (maybe).

They would have to be small enough to fit them under a few lights hanging from your ceiling, but it may be better to have a few good hops than a bunch of dead leaves - keep em for aroma.

a few bines trying to flower inside might need 2 or 3 lights (400-600 watts). getting them in that tight spiral will make your foot candle (or candellas, or whatever else the fancy words are) usage be much more efficient, I'd think.
 

brewmonk

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I now have one halide and one sodium bulb 2 feet above the buckets.
There are a total of 4 rhyzome cuttings.
I may have tried to force them too early, growth is slow.

I won't say non-existant - there are more than a dozen shoots that I can see, tinged with green, but all less than an inch high, most still barely out of the soil.

The tallest sprout seems to first be developing it's growth site - instead of looking like a tiny pointed stick, it's top is now more like a mini-asparagus. I think it's the nodes prepping for the growth season.

recap: middle of winter, 400watts, balanced spectrum, slow goin'.
 

brewmonk

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400 watts, slow going, a dozen tiny green shoots, now reaching ONE WHOLE INCH!
 

brewmonk

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not moving much at all here. i'll post when something actually happens (feb-march?)
 

brewmonk

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if they DID stop by, I could probably ask them for some better lights. (just not blue and flashing)
 

EO74

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I live in Roockland Ma and i wanted to do a similar thing in large pots bringing them inside during the winter.I was at a lhbs and the kid working there told me if you keep them confined in buckets or large pots the root system will choke itself out???I dont know if he was full of s##t but he sounded like he knew. My question to u is have u ever heard of someone doing this or did u just have the same idea i did???I also dont want them to spread too much and if we move i wanted to take them with me.
 

brewmonk

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look, if they are going to CHOKE THEMSELVES IN A POT, then it's a one quart size that no-one would ever use. hes right, but talking about the wrong SCOPE/SCALE. get a 5gal bucket and you will prevent the neighbors from suing you (at least that is what *I* hope).

a 5gal bucket with drainage holes is big enough for a 6 yr. rhizome ball, and if planted 4" above soil line, give you auto-drainage.

and yes you can take them with you - they're in a bucket already. all i do is put an empty bucket in the hole to keep it open all winter - swap out in spring.
 

brewmonk

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WE HAVE *LEAVES* !!!!

dey ain't nufin above 1 inch, but the tops of all of them have started to bud. I'm going to try adding a flourescent to the mix, different spectrum is supposed to be good for roots, as well as COOL temp wise (no wilting/burning).
 

droopy

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keep up the good work... Heading back up that way in the next year or so. I was thinking I would need a greenhouse to get hops to grow.

400 watts should be plenty of power at least at this stage... 5000- 6500K bulbs I believe is sun light spectrum for sprouting plants. Add or change to 3000K as plants grow and especially later when they flower.. Give 'em good soil, easy on fertilizer so not to burn roots... you can add flowering fertilizer when the time comes...

HO (high output) fluorescent are good lights to work with as well. Make sure they have good individual parabolic reflectors!
 

brewmonk

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well nothing I did really got the sprouts to grow early. they waited patiently under bright lights and in moist soil until early march, then just shot themselves up.

not sure what else I could do, but they over-wintered in the basement just fine.

once they sprouted the lights helped, but jsut for a bit till I noticed, and put them on my sunporch.

they're now outside. ymmv.
 
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