Hops in Planters - Austin, TX

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VVino

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Took a couple days vacation to spend time with friends visiting from NYC and was inspired to start documenting my attempt to grow hops here in Austin, TX. I've read a few stories about growing hops here in the central to south Texas area. Most have ended in tragedy.

The common source of failure seems to be the wicked central Texas summer. Temperatures commonly reach (and stay in) the 100s during July, August, and part of September. Sometimes this can start as early as June. To compound the problem, multi-week droughts are also common during this time of the year. Cloud cover is minimal.

To make things more interesting, I also decided to plant the hops in pots. This adds more potential problems: proper soil mix, drainage, overheating, dry-out, nutrients, root bound, etc. Planers were chosen not to make growing easier, but instead to add to the decor of our beautiful new cedar deck we had built earlier this spring.

First i'll address what steps I've taken to mitigate the both the coming central Texas summer heatwave and the growth in planters issues:

  1. Use really big pots (24" diameter, hold 3 cubic feet of soil).
  2. Used a 2:1 mix of Miracle Grow Moisture Control Potting Soil to Composted Soil.
  3. Drill multple holes in the outer base of planters.
  4. Plan to add mulch on top of soil after bines are trained.
  5. Water twice daily (morning and evening).
  6. Add miracle grow liquid fertilizer once per week.
  7. Start growing ASAP to harvest cones as early in the season as possible (before the heatwave comes!)
I plan to make periodic updates throughout the growing season, so more to come. I'm also very open to any suggestions anyone may have.

All hops were ordered from http://www.freshops.com

Wish us luck!
 
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VVino

VVino

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Beginning of Week 2
(Pictures taken on 3/28/2011)

Overview
(In counter clockwise order starting from the far left: Centennial, Nugget, Cascade, Mt. Hood, Willamette)



Willamette
(Clearly in the lead. However, was the only "jumbo" rhizome I ordered.)



Mt Hood
(Next largest growth. Second picture to show planter & drilled drainage holes.)




Cascade
(Emerged about 4 days ago.)



Nugget
(Last to sprout. Was a little concerned it was DOA but seems healthy now.)



Centennial
(3rd best growth. You can see our little garden and compost pile in the background :) )

 

Retrofit

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O think you have a good plan. Are you familiar with soaker hoses. There are versions that a just a ring, to surround a plant or tree. I suggest putting these on top of your plants and using a timer to keep them wet (assuming drainage is great).
Last year I discovered a new issue. The hops on the side of my house (cream colored siding) were getting burned by the sun reflecting off the hot siding. I point this out because heat is certainly an issue but sin light can be an issue depending on placement. The hops on the side of my house have a clean 20' to grow. The ones in the backyard only 10'. Some of the ones in back do better because they aren't suffering the burn from the houses siding.

Just more things to consider as you plot your success.
 

Retrofit

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Those are nice pots- envy. Another to point out if you keep at this after year two you need major trimming or even larger pots. Trimming is likely bettered suited to your home. Another thing to remember is they are all hops but they are diiferent hops. So if one is growing faster than another or producing more don't look at the slow low yield plant and think what's wrong? It's probably fine just different. My 4 year olds aren't even out of the ground. More envy. Good luck.
 

scsi

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Subscribed. I've been wanting to grow my own, but... well, haven't gotten around to it yet. Cant wait to see how yours turn out!
 

ashford

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Good luck with the hops! My single surviving Cascade from last year is happy this year and hitting about 4' now with three strong bines. The Houston heat pretty much shut growth down by mid July.
 
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I'm jealous you have that much growth in only two weeks. I planted three varieties a week ago and so far I have a single small shoot. I did build a mound over them for drainage, so it may take a while but I wish the others would start popping out.
 
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VVino

VVino

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I did build a mound over them for drainage, so it may take a while but I wish the others would start popping out.
I only put them 1-2" under. Most of the rhizomes had little buds sprouting out when I received them from freshops. I think I ordered them the first or second day they went on sale.

How deep to the rhizome is your mound?
 
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I only put them 1-2" under. Most of the rhizomes had little buds sprouting out when I received them from freshops. I think I ordered them the first or second day they went on sale.

How deep to the rhizome is your mound?
Several inches. They may be as much as six inches down, which is why I'm not concerned they haven't peeked out yet. Just jealous.

We are getting some rain this week so I probably won't mess with them but when it dries out this weekend I will probably try to carefully loosen the mounds and liberate any shoots I can find.
 
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VVino

VVino

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Week 3
(pictures taken 4/5/11)

Had to stain the cedar posts earlier than I though as the bines are already long enough. Having some problems training the bines onto the posts however, I think they're too large around. Will probably need to use twine, maybe drill holes through the tops of the planters and string them up. Want it to look as unobtrusive as possible.

Ideas?

Overview



Willamette



Mt. Hood



Cascade



Nugget



Centennial

 

Saccharomyces

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Having some problems training the bines onto the posts however, I think they're too large around.
I don't think so. They will naturally climb the posts, just give them time, they are too short at this point to climb anything.

I have a centennial rhizome that is three years old, it can probably be divided in two, if you want it you can have it, just need to come to Pflugerville and dig it up (and drink some of my homebrew). :D
 

chrislehr

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I love your deck and arbor. You build it or buy the house that way?
 
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VVino

VVino

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chrislehr said:
I love your deck and arbor. You build it or buy the house that way?
Thanks!

Bought the house last summer. The cement patio was there already but we had the cedar deck built this February. We're split on how we should finish the arbor.... my wife wants to leave it as is, I'd like to fill it out with a few more beams.
 

beerkrump

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The plants look great. Just a heads up on using Miracle Grow on a regular basis. It is acidic and salt based. The result is that the soil being treated will become more and more reliant upon fertilizer to support plant life. You are better off using lots of compost or manure.
 
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VVino

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Today I finally gave up trying to train the hops onto the posts directly and strung up some hop twine (coir yarn) that I had ordered from freshops.com earlier. The bines took to them very easily.

Before I strung them up on the twine, my largest bine on the Willamette twisted and split near it's base and also had its leading tip snapped off from getting smacked around on the ground in the wind. :mad:

I'm also having some issue with the leaves looking a little brown around the edges. The leaves also feel a little brittle. At first I thought it was from over-watering so I took a couple days watering break. Got worse so I plan to do lighter waterings at morning and evening starting tonight. Anyone have any experience with this?

Pics tomorrow!
 
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VVino

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Week 4
(pics taken 04/12/2011)

Finished staining the posts and arbor. Strung up some twine and trained the hops to it (very easy to do).

The browning leaf edge situation has gotten me to re-evaluate my watering and fertilizer schedule. I had been doing a heavy water once a day or every other day and giving a 2Tbs / 1 gal liquid miracle grow once-per-week. I'm going to switch to two light waterings per day and a more diluted miracle grow every other week. Open to suggestions here! I could also do some sort of composting/manure but I'm not really sure how to do this??

I'm also thinking of adding some sort of layer of mulch on the top to help keep water/moisture in. Finally, I may need to drill holes directly in the bottom of the pot as I have to tip the pots a little at an angle to allow water to drain out the bottom-side holes I drilled.

Side note: I'm impressed with how well the iPhone 3GS pictures look with lots of sunshine!

Overview



Willamette



Issue: some bug started eating my Willamette! I caught the little $#[email protected] and stomped him into oblivion. Also, before I strung up the twine, the tip of this particular bine snapped off from getting thrashed around in the wind. It has not grown any further. Luckily, as shown in the previous picture, the other bines started taking off immediately after the largest bine was damaged.



Mt. Hood



Issue: some browning on the edges of the leaves. Leaves also feel a little papery. Not sure if this is from under-watering, over-watering, or some sort of root rot issue.



Cascade



Nugget



Centennial



Other pics....

Vegetable Garden
(from far left counter clockwise: corn, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, green beens, compost pile)




Sunset at the 360 Bridge in Lake Austin

 

HARDHEAD

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good luck. it looks like slight fertilizer leaf burn.....cut back on MG

on a side note i to am trying this here in TX myself this year, i wont post pics to thread jack.....i may start my own just for $hits and giggles

anyway G/L

im trying cenntenial,willimete,fuggles

new to site, been brewing 5 years
 
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VVino

VVino

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good luck. it looks like slight fertilizer leaf burn.....cut back on MG

on a side note i to am trying this here in TX myself this year, i wont post pics to thread jack.....i may start my own just for $hits and giggles

anyway G/L

im trying cenntenial,willimete,fuggles

new to site, been brewing 5 years
Definately post or start your own thread.. either way!

I'd really like to see how people get their hops through the central and south TX summer heat.

Are you growing in pots or in ground?
 

HARDHEAD

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VVino

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Week 6
(Pics taken 05/01/2011)

It's been very hot and VERY windy over the last couple weeks. Some of the leaves were damaged by the wind. Overall the hops seem healthy except the Mt Hood, which suffered the most from my too-early fertilizing. Most of the early bines have had their tips turn brown and die, but there are some new shoots coming off the bottom of the early bines. The Cascade is the first to start producing flowers, as shown below.

The hop twine (coir yarn) has stretched out unexpectedly, shown in the first picture. I'll probably tighten it at the top of the arbor to get them closer to the posts.

This is the first spring in our new house in Austin, TX. Compared where we moved from (outside Chicago), its truly amazing how early in the season everything grows around here!

Overview



Willamette



Mt Hood



Cascade



Flowers beginning to form on Cascade:



Nugget



Centennial



Our vegetable garden...



Peas are ready!

 

VanHorneDog

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hey wow thats really cool. I was thinking about doing hops in a planter too. Need to plant soon probably. hahah.
 
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VVino

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Week 8
(pics taken 05/15/2011)

Overview

Cascade and Nugget have reached the top of the arbor (~9 foot of growth). I just put up some twine across the top to see how long these plants will get in their first year!

Flowers started forming on the Cascade about two weeks ago. Today there are hop cones larger than an inch. Flowers started on the Nugget 5 days ago and Centennial 3 days ago. A few very small cones are now on Nugget.

Mt Hood is continuing its recovery from the early fertalizer burn. Willamette is also gaining height after many of its leaves were thrashed by the high winds. Centennial seems to have some bug issue. Will spray it for a second time today.

It rained for the first time in a several months last week. If I had not been watering 1-2 times per day, these plants would have died long ago...





Willamette



Mt Hood



Cascade



Cascade cones!



Nugget



Centennial



Corn



Tomato

 

HARDHEAD

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looking good, ive got cones as well

i have to show off a lil here....8.5' tall tomatos

picked these last night
 
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VVino

VVino

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Wow great job! What kind are those and what's your secret?!?
 

carrotmalt

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looking good, ive got cones as well

i have to show off a lil here....8.5' tall tomatos

picked these last night
Hey Hardhead, why pick so many green ones? They're so much better ripened on the vine. You fryin em up?... green salsa maybe? Just curious.
 

HARDHEAD

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Wow great job! What kind are those and what's your secret?!?
lol, been growing for years
manure,worm castings,chciken **** tea,peatmoss,cal-mag,plus general nutrients hydroponic fertilizer.
check PH and adjust and watch em grow, and do i mean grow over 70 tomatoes per palnt. some softball size. this is 8 plants brand is celebrity

i can send ya some pics via PM dont wanna whore ur thread

i picked several green ones to make green tomato relish, like bread and butter pickles. plus birds are pecking holes in em.
 

pola0502ds

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Wow, I can't believe you are getting hops so soon.

Question for you, since you have more than one species, how did you figure out how far to space them apart. I planted hops for the first time this year. A buddy of mine gave me 7 different species and since I had a limited area to plant them, they are only 2-3 feet apart. basically, I planted them in a circle pattern. The trellis is the middle which is a long pole and each string goes from the top of the top down to each plant. Will I have any problem with 7 different species planted so close together?
 
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VVino

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Week 12
(pics taken 6/14/2011)

Overview

Willamette, Cascade, Nugget, and Centennial have all reached the top of the arbor with 10-15 foot growth. None of them like to train themselves horizontally so they must be hand trained at the top. As an experiment, I let the Nugget flop over on itself to see how far it would grown down. Looks like it got about 5 more feet. All have produced 1st year cones except the Mt Hood.

Hops were watered every day except during 3-day stretch during Memorial Day weekend. Unfortunately, Austin got to 98-100 degrees with moderately high winds on all three of those days. When I got back they looked pretty dry with many leaf edges turning brown. They've grown very little since they but have recovered a bit.

I've been watering them with a shower hose about 2-4 gallons each per day. I essentially saturate each planter once per day. Sometimes at morning, sometimes at night. 2-3 times per week I mist the leaves themselves in the evening.

The Mt Hood has recovered from its early fertilizer burn quite nicely. Looks like it will reach the top of the arbor after all. The Cascade seems to have had the worst time over the 3-day no watering event, but has produced the most cones. Centennial has grown the longest. Nugget has the most total growth (distance * total bines).

I made the decision a couple weeks ago to not harvest any cones this year. Most look a little under-developed and I'd like the first year to be more about rhizome growth than production.





Willamette



Mt Hood



Cascade







Nugget



Centennial



 

Fletch78

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I think I saw the face of Michael Myers in the window of your neighbor's house.
 
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VVino

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They look about the same as my previous post about 2 weeks ago.

Bines have stopped growing in in length, apparently stunted my the daily 100 degree heat that began nearly 4 weeks ago. However, side runners are continuing to grow and multiply, as well as a couple of new bines emerging from the soil on the cascade and centennial last 2 weeks.
 
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I've got some hops going in Austin as well. Mine are suffering pretty bad from the heat as well. This is what they look like:
stalkoffennel.imgur.com/hops

I think they're suffering a bit from spider mites and probably some nutrient def. from watering them with out wicked 9.5-10.0 pH city water. I've started to fill a 55 gallon barrel with water and add vinegar to it till the pH is near 6.0. I think that's helping a bit. Still the sun.. omg the sun...
 

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