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Hop Growing in So Cal anyone?

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gonzo brewer

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I am seriously considering growing hops in North Los Angeles County (Santa Clarita).
I am in zone 18 (Western Garden) and have a East facing slope area. My soil is a little clayey, but can amend the heck out of it and get some good drainage - no problem.

Has anyone been successful growing in this climate? I'm thinking of planting in late Feb, which should be safe from any frost.
 

derogg

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I live in south Orange county and was thinking of the same thing. I know a guy who grows some, but I have yet to discuss this with him in detail. I think if you have a nice sunny area, and keep them watered you should be fine. - Dirk
 

APendejo

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Many years ago my uncle who lived in Anaheim grew hops on a trellis on the west side of the house, he said he made tea with them. I didn't really understand what they were back then but when I would rub the little cones in my hands they sure smelled like some other thing I was familiar with at the time.
AP
 
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gonzo brewer

gonzo brewer

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Thats what I'm thinking. I would hook up a drip system to take care of vacation times.
I'll let you know if I follow up this season.
 

gwood

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I've often wondered how well they'd do out here too. Hops sure love sun so we have that one checked off the list and as you mentioned, soil is an easy fix. Temps are really the key IMO. It gets so damn hot in the summer.

If you could ensure good root growth with regular watering and good soil structure I'd venture to say that you'd have some hops in a couple of years. I've read that Cascade might be a good choice for our area and have been thinking about it more and more as of late (tis that time of year), the issue I would have is rigging up 20ft of vertical space!
 
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gonzo brewer

gonzo brewer

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I just got a tig welder at harbor freight. I have 1.3 acres, so space is not an issue.

I just need to design the poles and braces. I'm think to plant 4-6 different varietals along a line about 25 feet long. Steel braced poles (about 20' high) at each end and plastic coated wire for the span.
 

gwood

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gonzo brewer said:
I just got a tig welder at harbor freight. I have 1.3 acres, so space is not an issue.

I just need to design the poles and braces. I'm think to plant 4-6 different varietals along a line about 25 feet long. Steel braced poles (about 20' high) at each end and plastic coated wire for the span.
I have a decent sized yard but really don't have anything to take advantage of in terms of vertical support. I suppose I could just sink a massive 4x4 into the ground but it seems silly. The other thought I had was to rig the lines to a telephone poll but I'm not sure that is legal.
 

raceskier

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My LHBS (Culver City Home Brewing Supply Co.) has a number of different hop bines going every year. They are in planters behind the store. They have cables from the planters to the top of the second story building and train the bines up the cables. Give them a call and ask about varieties. I don't remember exactly which ones they grow.
 

Germey

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The Nov/Dec issue of Zymurgy has an article talking about a "wall of hops" stating that very good yields can be had just growing the plants like a hedge or a bush.
If I do it, I am planning to have them grow across my back fence. That is pretty much my only option with the HOA (that other SoCal buzzkiller)
 

david_42

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Hot is good, as long as there is enough water. 100F for weeks is common in up here and Yakima is even hotter.
 

gwood

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Bobby_M said:
Put some eye hooks up high on the house and string heavy twine or cable to stakes in the ground near where you plan. They'll climb that.
That was the idea I had cookin but I'd like to rig something that is a bit higher up (single story bungalow).
 

MR. Zak

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you could always look into dwarf varieties that only grow about six to ten feet and if put into a planter (say an old 15 gal. extract drum cut in half) you can move them to any location to get better sun or to keep them out of the elements as well i use the extract drums cut in half and keep them in front of my garage and move them inside when it gets cold
just a thought!
Z
 

gwood

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MR. Zak said:
you could always look into dwarf varieties that only grow about six to ten feet and if put into a planter (say an old 15 gal. extract drum cut in half) you can move them to any location to get better sun or to keep them out of the elements as well i use the extract drums cut in half and keep them in front of my garage and move them inside when it gets cold
just a thought!
Z
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll do a search for dwarf varieties tonight!
 

pjj2ba

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It is not how much light is needed. To get hops to flower they need a short night. If the night is too long, they won't flower no matter how much light you give them during the day. The general rule of thumb is hops don't flower well south of 35 degrees latitiude and a quick check shows Santa Clarita at ~34.

I posted some stuff on a thread about growing hops in southern Florida you might want to check out for more details.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=52264
 

gwood

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pjj2ba said:
It is not how much light is needed. To get hops to flower they need a short night. If the night is too long, they won't flower no matter how much light you give them during the day. The general rule of thumb is hops don't flower well south of 35 degrees latitiude and a quick check shows Santa Clarita at ~34.

I posted some stuff on a thread about growing hops in southern Florida you might want to check out for more details.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=52264
Thanks for the info. I'm sure I could trick them into a longer day without TOO much effort (hence a shorter night) - I have an old HPS and a metal halide but I think that would be a bit much :)

I'd be concerned about the squirrels more than anything else. Our area is just infested with them at every turn. They have caused quite a headache already in our gardens and have been a constant battle.
 

pjj2ba

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gwood said:
Thanks for the info. I'm sure I could trick them into a longer day without TOO much effort (hence a shorter night) - I have an old HPS and a metal halide but I think that would be a bit much :)

I'd be concerned about the squirrels more than anything else. Our area is just infested with them at every turn. They have caused quite a headache already in our gardens and have been a constant battle.
I'd watch the threads on this board in the summer and wait until I'd heard reports of other people plants having cones starting before worrying about adding the lights.

I've got lots of squirrels around and they leave my plants alone. Of course there is plenty of other food around. The rhizomes get big pretty fast so I wouldn't worry about that. They might however go after your first new shoots. Once there 12" or so I don't think you'd have a problem anymore
 

gwood

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pjj2ba said:
I'd watch the threads on this board in the summer and wait until I'd heard reports of other people plants having cones starting before worrying about adding the lights.

I've got lots of squirrels around and they leave my plants alone. Of course there is plenty of other food around. The rhizomes get big pretty fast so I wouldn't worry about that. They might however go after your first new shoots. Once there 12" or so I don't think you'd have a problem anymore
I would hope they'll be fat and happy between our two gardens and the orange tree next door!
 
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