My First Attempt At Growing Hops.

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shrews824

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Hey guys/gals,

So, this year is my 3rd year of homebrewing. I decided to have a go at growing some hops. I'm going to try to grow them in buckets and if things work well I will try to build a more permanent structure of some kind next year.
I bought a rhizome of Cascade and Centennial. They arrived on April 8th and I planted them on April 10th. I live in Kentucky and we've had some really nice, warm weather here over the past week or so. It's been in the 80's with lots of sunshine.

I just used regular potting soil and have watered only when the soil begins to feel dry. I'll probably add some liquid fertilizer at some point soon.

The Centennial started to show itself the next day (April 11th), while the Cascade peeked through on April 18th. I'm eager to see what these things can do growing in buckets with a homemade trellis. I'm not expected a super high yield, but If I get a few ounces off of them this year I'd be very happy.

Here is the Cascade:

Cascade1.jpg


Cascade2.jpg


Cascade3.jpg


... and here is the Centennial:

Centennial1.jpg


Centennial2.jpg


Centennial3.jpg


Anyway, just wanted to share and show a picture or two and I'm open to any suggestions or advice.

Cheers,
Scott
 
My wife wanted to be involved so she decided to grow the hops for me. Our first yield last year was not huge, but I ended up using the Cascade that I had as an addition to Cascade Pellets the recipe called for. The Cascade I got about a half ounce of. Chinook and Cascade started sooner but the Columbus ended up giving me the biggest yield. Last year, as a first year, I got about an ounce of Chinook and Columbus and a tad over a half ounce of Cascade. I have read and been told that the more years they grow the more you get, until they start growing like weeks so to speak. My wife moved then to bigger containers and I think that is going to be their homes for the foreseeable future as I don't have a big area to plant them. Either way, it was fun harvesting, but I can see it being a bit of a pain once they get more cones on them. We will see. I am in the San Francisco area and we got a ton of rain this winter, so we will see how it goes.
 
Plant your hops in a somewhat isolated and controllable area. I had Cascades planted in a mulched area which ran the length of the house. Runners made their way under the mulch and came up in the wife's day lilies. She ruled capital punishment with no option for appeal. Did get a few years of excellent yield.
 

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Very cool! I've always wanted to grow hops myself.

Following along to see the progress throughout the spring and summer!

I'll do my best to keep the pictures coming as we go along. Cheers.

My wife wanted to be involved so she decided to grow the hops for me. Our first yield last year was not huge, but I ended up using the Cascade that I had as an addition to Cascade Pellets the recipe called for. The Cascade I got about a half ounce of. Chinook and Cascade started sooner but the Columbus ended up giving me the biggest yield. Last year, as a first year, I got about an ounce of Chinook and Columbus and a tad over a half ounce of Cascade. I have read and been told that the more years they grow the more you get, until they start growing like weeks so to speak. My wife moved then to bigger containers and I think that is going to be their homes for the foreseeable future as I don't have a big area to plant them. Either way, it was fun harvesting, but I can see it being a bit of a pain once they get more cones on them. We will see. I am in the San Francisco area and we got a ton of rain this winter, so we will see how it goes.

Yeah, I'm not expecting much. Just wanted to get my feet wet so to speak. It'll be a fun little project this summer and if I get a small yield I'll be happy. I'm just using buckets because I'm not sure I want to put a ton of time and money into building something permanent if I don't have much luck or it's too much trouble harvesting.

Plant your hops in a somewhat isolated and controllable area. I had Cascades planted in a mulched area which ran the length of the house. Runners made their way under the mulch and came up in the wife's day lilies. She ruled capital punishment with no option for appeal. Did get a few years of excellent yield.

For sure. Yeah, we have plenty of room for me to grow them. The soil isn't the greatest, but I believe they might do ok in some raised beds or something. We'll just have to keep an eye on them this year and hopefully I can get enough hops to do a brew with.
 
I wish you all the luck with the right soil and climate for the plants you choose..
I use to live about an hours drive from Hallertau. as a hops fan you have hear of that place.
A place where as far as the eye can see an all directions hops reaching 10 meters into the sky and the aroma.
When I moved to the Great White North and saw the price of recycled tasting Beer OMG, a 6 pack was more expensive than 20 1/2 litres bottles.
I started to grow my own Hops. After 5 years of TLC with 10 plants I think I harvested a total of 1 kilogram. The soil and climate play such a big role in the quality and quanityof your harvest.
 
I wish you all the luck with the right soil and climate for the plants you choose..
I use to live about an hours drive from Hallertau. as a hops fan you have hear of that place.
A place where as far as the eye can see an all directions hops reaching 10 meters into the sky and the aroma.
When I moved to the Great White North and saw the price of recycled tasting Beer OMG, a 6 pack was more expensive than 20 1/2 litres bottles.
I started to grow my own Hops. After 5 years of TLC with 10 plants I think I harvested a total of 1 kilogram. The soil and climate play such a big role in the quality and quanityof your harvest.

Thank you so much. Yeah, the soil on my property is not the greatest. Very, very wet. I'm afraid that I will have to resort to raised beds or something moving forward.
 
Thank you so much. Yeah, the soil on my property is not the greatest. Very, very wet. I'm afraid that I will have to resort to raised beds or something moving forward.
Hops will grow 30 feet high if not more if you let them. They like a well drained loom.
That is where we went wrong, trying to grow them in clay. Our best growing crop is stones which you get to harvest after every rain.
 
I've read several places and watched videos from hop farms, stating that initially it's not necessary to cut out the bull shoots since you're yields are minimal during the first year. It's more important to establish a good plant with a healthy root system early on. Then cut out the bull shoots beginning year two. To be fair, I've also read and seen recommendations to trim the bull shoots every year, including the first. Seems there's some conflicting information out there, and I'm not sure how to proceed with mine. I'm leaning towards letting everything grow this first year.
 
I vote for “let it grow”. At least for the first year. Second too, if the plant is struggling.

A strong plant (grown in the ground) should throw more shoots than you can train by years two/three. Then you will need to start making choices on bull shoots. Growing in buckets could limit crown growth and strength.
 
I have a power pole in my backyard like that. It supports the wires from the electric utility coming to my house and the neighbors house. I got a letter in the mail from the utility company (PG&E) last month with a picture of my hop vine growing up a piece of twine fastened to the pole. They said it was a hazard for workers that had to climb the pole. I have lived here for 25 years and nobody has climbed that pole yet. They demanded that I remove the hazard or they would and send me a bill for the work.

I removed the twine this earlier this spring and filled out their form stating that I had removed the hazard. I put it back later, in time for the vine to grow again this spring. We will see how long it takes them to send another letter.
 
Drainage holes in the bucket I hope, hops don't like wet feet.
But they need plenty of water and food.
If you take one of the bines and bury a portion of the stalk in the soil within a week or two you can separate it and you'll have another hop plant.
If you do prune any put them in water and they root fast and can also be potted on.
 
I've read several places and watched videos from hop farms, stating that initially it's not necessary to cut out the bull shoots since you're yields are minimal during the first year. It's more important to establish a good plant with a healthy root system early on. Then cut out the bull shoots beginning year two. To be fair, I've also read and seen recommendations to trim the bull shoots every year, including the first. Seems there's some conflicting information out there, and I'm not sure how to proceed with mine. I'm leaning towards letting everything grow this first year.
Yeah, I think I'm just going to let them grow. Maybe trim some of the bottom leaves just to keep air moving and to limit bugs. Otherwise I'm going to let them take off.
I vote for “let it grow”. At least for the first year. Second too, if the plant is struggling.

A strong plant (grown in the ground) should throw more shoots than you can train by years two/three. Then you will need to start making choices on bull shoots. Growing in buckets could limit crown growth and strength.
I would prefer to grow them in the ground but I have some pretty poor soil here. Very, very wet. This is basically just a trial run to see if I can grow them. If things go well I'm going to build some raised beds next year and build a proper trellis.
I have a power pole in my backyard like that. It supports the wires from the electric utility coming to my house and the neighbors house. I got a letter in the mail from the utility company (PG&E) last month with a picture of my hop vine growing up a piece of twine fastened to the pole. They said it was a hazard for workers that had to climb the pole. I have lived here for 25 years and nobody has climbed that pole yet. They demanded that I remove the hazard or they would and send me a bill for the work.

I removed the twine this earlier this spring and filled out their form stating that I had removed the hazard. I put it back later, in time for the vine to grow again this spring. We will see how long it takes them to send another letter.
Yeah, I wondered about that myself. This pole is behind my house and no one is ever back there. I do have some string attached to the pole about halfway up. We'll see I guess.
Drainage holes in the bucket I hope, hops don't like wet feet.
But they need plenty of water and food.
If you take one of the bines and bury a portion of the stalk in the soil within a week or two you can separate it and you'll have another hop plant.
If you do prune any put them in water and they root fast and can also be potted on.
I do have holes in my buckets. I'm just trying them in buckets this year so I can watch the process and see how they react and how they behave. I'm hoping to be able to establish a decent base for next year when I build my raised beds.
 
@shrews824
I have my hops in half 50 gallon barrels planted October 22 ( our spring) . Seen with the wood clad disguise in picture
I copied the design of the IBC planter beds for them seen to the right of the growing hops.
Basically I got hold of a plastic pallet and cut it to fit in the bottom of the barrel this makes a reservoir space abut 5 inches deep. Covered that with weed matting which poked down into the " holes " where the pallet legs are and then a layer of sand about 2 inches thick which filled up the holes poked down in the matting and a layer on top.
Then another layer of weed matting. Drill a hole in the side of the barrel just above the weed second layer of weed matting that a pipe about 6 inches long can go in, I used a piece of 20mm water pipe . Attach a piece of weed matting to the inside of the pipe cable tied on, so the pipe is half in and half out. This is your overflow drain.

You can attach another piece of pipe that runs from the bottom of the barrel to the top ( you might need an opening in the pallet) to just above the top secure again with cable ties at the top this is for watering into.
THen fill the rest of the container with soil and manure and plant your hops. One per pot or one type.
Have to admit I don't water down the fill pipe just water from the top. Feed regularly as well as water.

The cladding I made from a cable drum to make a fake barrel. The pumpkin and tomato in the pot were unintentional self planters from the compost. Both did well, I did prune out the bull shoots and trained it, got about 90 g hops year one.
This year much better growth and got 500 g built a proper frame but think they got a bit dehydrated when away over christmas even though I'd set up an automatic waterer.
Hops year one.jpg
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My pole is in the backyard also. The guy came in my yard when nobody was home and took the picture. Kind of pissed me off. I guess the right of way allows them to do that.

Yeah, I guess they could do that. If they do, I'll comply, but I'm going to let them run for the time being. I have built a makeshift trellis that will allow for about a 20' run of hops and then tied onto the pole about 10'-12' up. Maybe they won't get that big the first year. We'll see I guess.
 
you got burrs. do your happy dance.

Those things popped out in about a day. I checked on them the day before and I didn't see a thing. Now they are all over the place.

Both plants have really done well so far. They are right at two months old and they are about to head up the line!!!

hops.jpg
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My first year with cascade I jury rigged a large temporary arbor setup that was waaaayyy overkill. We got enough hops to fresh hop a few gallons of a cal common.

I read, after the fact, that the first year hops grow they spend much of their energy on establishing the root/rhizome structure. Not sure if that is true but the 2nd year, this year, we can't keep up with them (picture is from this year). For reference the middle plant is from this year and it is way smaller than the other two.
 

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My first year with cascade I jury rigged a large temporary arbor setup that was waaaayyy overkill. We got enough hops to fresh hop a few gallons of a cal common.

I read, after the fact, that the first year hops grow they spend much of their energy on establishing the root/rhizome structure. Not sure if that is true but the 2nd year, this year, we can't keep up with them (picture is from this year). For reference the middle plant is from this year and it is way smaller than the other two.

Well, as I said earlier in the post, I'm not quite sure what to expect. It seems like mine are getting at it pretty well. Of course, I have nothing to compare it to, but time will tell.
 
Plant your hops in a somewhat isolated and controllable area. I had Cascades planted in a mulched area which ran the length of the house. Runners made their way under the mulch and came up in the wife's day lilies. She ruled capital punishment with no option for appeal. Did get a few years of excellent yield.
This is the last year for my hops here at the house at least in the ground. They are too aggressive and push out about a 6 foot radius from the center of the crown. Think I will take cuttings and put in large pots to contain these beasts. Chopping shoots in the middle of the yard gets old. They also intrude on my neighbors side to the west.
 
As the weather gets warmer you'll have to start fighting the heat. Those buckets will get hot in the sun and harm the roots which will damage the plant all the way up. If possible, it may be necessary to pile up soil or mulch around the bucket. You may find that you need to water daily at the top of the season.

This is the last year for my hops here at the house at least in the ground. They are too aggressive and push out about a 6 foot radius from the center of the crown. Think I will take cuttings and put in large pots to contain these beasts. Chopping shoots in the middle of the yard gets old. They also intrude on my neighbors side to the west.

I have four hop plants in half barrels that I dug into the ground leaving about eight or so inches above the ground. I haven't had issues with runners escaping. I ended up burying them because I found the roots were drying out by leaving the barrels exposed to the sun and no ability for a taproom to develop. My yield is smaller than people around town with free growing crowns; but with four plants and about twelve feet of vertical growth I'm barely making it through my harvests before the next one.
 
I've got 12 plants ( 3 each of Comet, Cashmere, Centennial, Cascade ) that i think I'll take the crowns up to thew brewery next year. Probably going to burry 3/4 55 gallon drums in the ground and set a bunch of telephone poles with cabling between them to create some privacy for the back outdoor seating. I think the front outdoor seating with pergola won't get enough sun to grow the hops.
 
As the weather gets warmer you'll have to start fighting the heat. Those buckets will get hot in the sun and harm the roots which will damage the plant all the way up. If possible, it may be necessary to pile up soil or mulch around the bucket. You may find that you need to water daily at the top of the season.



I have four hop plants in half barrels that I dug into the ground leaving about eight or so inches above the ground. I haven't had issues with runners escaping. I ended up burying them because I found the roots were drying out by leaving the barrels exposed to the sun and no ability for a taproom to develop. My yield is smaller than people around town with free growing crowns; but with four plants and about twelve feet of vertical growth I'm barely making it through my harvests before the next one.

The heat in the buckets is definitely something I worry about. That was one of the warnings when I began reading about using buckets. I was going to paint the them black, but that was a big no-no as well obviously. Haha. They are covered by some shade during a small portion of the day so that may help. I'll just check the moisture and water like crazy if I have to.
 
Quick update.

My Cascade is looking nice at the moment.

Cascade3.jpg

Cascade2.jpg

Cascade1.jpg


I didn't include any pictures of my Centennial because I'm somewhat embarrassed.

I'm not sure what's going on with them. I swear, it seemed like I had some hop cones that were ready to be picked by mid June. Granted, and forgive me since this is my first time growing, I'm still learning, but they were papery, pulled from the bine rather easy, and when opening they were full of lupulin and smelled fantastic. However, they weren't all ready at the same time. I might have had 20 hops that were ready and 20 more that weren't, and 20 more that weren't even close. Plus, I thought, "This is way too early to be picking hops around here!!!" Anyway, they have pretty much gone passed the point of no return I'm thinking. That's ok though, it's been a blast watching them grow. I wasn't expecting much in the first year anyway. I'll give it another shot next year!!!

The Cascades look much better anyway and there are so many more cones than the Centennial. They also seem like they are on schedule. I'm just going to concentrate on them for the rest of the summer.

Cheers.
 
First year growing hops. I transplanted some cascade from my brother-in-law. I also have some Chinook. However, about 1/3 of the leaves are wilting and so too seem to be the corresponding hop cones. They're in full sun and get watered regularly. Any idea what might be causing this or what I can do turn the plant around?
 

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Looks systemic, like no fluids are traveling up the stem. Check the stems near the ground for borers.
Otherwise, this is prime time for aphids and spider mites. Check the underside of leaves for suckers and/or webbing...

Cheers!
 
My first year's harvest went better than expected. My sterling died early on, but the Vista and Cascade did great. I got 5oz dried (on left in photo) from the Vista, and 7oz dried (on right in photo) from the Cascade. I look forward to using them in a brew soon, and figuring out what variety I'll choose to replace my dead Sterling with next year.

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My first year's harvest went better than expected. My sterling died early on, but the Vista and Cascade did great. I got 5oz dried (on left in photo) from the Vista, and 7oz dried (on right in photo) from the Cascade. I look forward to using them in a brew soon, and figuring out what variety I'll choose to replace my dead Sterling with next year.

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Sterling are notoriously difficult to grow. I have a five year old plant that is just this year starting to produce a crop of usable hops. It's the most and most watered of my four plants. Unless you really, really like sterling, definitely better to replace it. If you're looking for something closer to a noble hop that grows more easily, mt. hood is a good one. I also grow it and get almost as many cones as I pull off my cascade.
 
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