Roof-top Hops

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How many dry oz of hops will I end up at harvest time?

  • None! You Suck! I KNEW IT WOULDN'T WORK!!!

  • 1-12 oz. Meh...Maybe next year?

  • 13-24 oz Cool! IPA TIME!

  • 25-36 oz JACKPOT!!! DIPA TIME!!!

  • >36 oz. OH MY DEAR LORD. YOU ARE A HOP GROWING GOD!!!


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MeetsCriteria

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Well, I have decided to try my hand at growing hops in planters on my roof. Ambitious? Yes. But I think it can be done. I live in San Diego, and have no yard. So, it is out of necessity I chose this method.

My rhizomes were delivered last weekend by Freshhops. Got 2 of Centennial and two Chinook.

The Centennials looked a little more robust and sure enough, after only 6 days in the soil, they are showing themselves!

I plan on running micro tubing up to the roof for automatic watering. Also, need to get my trellis going...

I'll post pics of the process as things develop, hopefully into success, but if failure, then others can learn from my mistakes!

Also for fun I've started a poll, where we can all "bet" the total number amount (in dry oz.) I end up with at harvest time. Remember 4 rhizomes on the roof. We'll close the "betting" in 30 days or so, and then we'll see what happens.

I'll put it out there now and say 32 oz total. Wish me luck!:rockin:

Cheers,

Mike

Day 6:



 
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BTW, don't feel bad to vote none. This is just for fun! We'll just see what happens!

Mike
 

SC_Ryan

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Your going to want to transplant them into larger pots if you want any yeild. Half whisky barrels seem to work well for people. The roots get huge. I started two zomes last year in pots that size. They grew to about 6 feet and didn't produce any cones. They were pretty well root bound when I put them in the ground last week. I'm looking forward to a good harvest this year.

I'm going to say 1-12 oz if you keep them in those pots and I like the 32 oz number for whisky barrels. They should do great on a roof in the San Diego sun. Just make sure to keep them watered. Good luck!
 
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Mike , when I visit the daughter in San Diego I'll help you harvest.:)
Sounds great to me! :mug:

Your going to want to transplant them into larger pots if you want any yeild. Half whisky barrels seem to work well for people. The roots get huge. I started two zomes last year in pots that size. They grew to about 6 feet and didn't produce any cones. They were pretty well root bound when I put them in the ground last week. I'm looking forward to a good harvest this year.

I'm going to say 1-12 oz if you keep them in those pots and I like the 32 oz number for whisky barrels. They should do great on a roof in the San Diego sun. Just make sure to keep them watered. Good luck!
I thought about whiskey barrels. We'll see what happens. These are 20" pots, which I guess is what Chris Colby talked about in his recent article from BYO:

Brew Your Own: The How-To Homebrew Beer Magazine - Story Index - Hops - Growing Hops in Containers

My set up will be similar to his. If not much happens, I will indeed move up to the whiskey barrels. Thanks for the advice!

Cheers,

Mike
 
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Just to clarify: There are 4 pots. The other two wouldn't fit in the frame with my 50mm lens! So 4 rhizomes, each in a separate pot. An nothing on the 2 Chinooks (yet).

I thought I was clear, but if I wasn't I apologize.

Come on Chinook!

Mike
 

JarrodH

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I am in san diego and was growing Tet and Northern Brewer last year. I only got a couple ounces per plant in the half whiskey barrel containers. As stated above, make sure to keep up on the nutrients and water in the SD sun.
 

cuinrearview

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Maybe an oz. or two if you're VERY lucky and drone-like with the watering/feeding. I don't see the pot thing producing more than 4-6 ozs. per plant even the second year, then there's too much root and it's time to split the plant and start over.
 

david_42

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I only got a couple ounces the first year from ten plants, in the ground. Also, the heat on the roof could fry the roots.
 

Fingers

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I didn't even bother harvesting last year (my first year). I had some cones on a few of the plants but I just let them be. I didn't even bother with a trellis. This year I'll string them up and harvest the bounty.
 
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I only got a couple ounces the first year from ten plants, in the ground. Also, the heat on the roof could fry the roots.
I thought about the roof thing. I may put some sort of shielding around the bases. At least it is kind of white, so it reflects some heat.

This was also part of the reason I put them on the east side of roof. They'll be shielded from the late afternoon sun / heat which is magnified by the roof. It's a flat roof, but behind me in the picture is a 3rd story, which casts shadow around 3pm.

I will also mulch, and have a drip watering system on a timer, adjusted as appropriate for conditions. And that will be supplemented by timely feedings with miracle grow.

I'll feel better about my chances when the chinook emerge...

To get enough for a batch of beer the first year, I'll consider it a reasonable success. But I'll start off with high expectations and adjust downward as conditions / the season progresses. Guess I am just a beer half full kind of guy! :)

Appreciate the guidance, keep it coming!

Mike
 

toastbrew

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my mother (works at a greenhouse for 10 years) says this about vines... 1st year they sleep, 2nd year they creep, 3rd year they leap. ive been told that hops dont produce much at all the first season.
 
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Still thinking positive--5 shoots up on one of the Cents and the first shoot up on a Chinook! Happy Days friends...happy days...

Cheers,

Mike
 

eroth

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MeetsCriteria,

what are you planning to use to allow the hops to grow up?

My rhizomes are on the way to me here in Chicago, and i'll be growing them in containers on our roof deck. (Hopefully planting this weekend, if the cold weather moves on)

We've got a 10'-12' deck up there, with a wood railing on 2 sides, which I was thinking about building a 6' high T-shaped structure with some eyelets for twine, since I could easily just screw it right to the deck railing. If the plants make it up that far, then I'd do the same at 8' at the other side of the deck and twine between them (which would also...wishfully thinking...give us some nice shade up there).

I'm just curious if they'll grow that much in containers. And then on the other hand, how much will i piss of the neighbors for obstructing their view of the skyline with my hops....
 
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MeetsCriteria,

what are you planning to use to allow the hops to grow up?

My rhizomes are on the way to me here in Chicago, and i'll be growing them in containers on our roof deck. (Hopefully planting this weekend, if the cold weather moves on)

We've got a 10'-12' deck up there, with a wood railing on 2 sides, which I was thinking about building a 6' high T-shaped structure with some eyelets for twine, since I could easily just screw it right to the deck railing. If the plants make it up that far, then I'd do the same at 8' at the other side of the deck and twine between them (which would also...wishfully thinking...give us some nice shade up there).

I'm just curious if they'll grow that much in containers. And then on the other hand, how much will i piss of the neighbors for obstructing their view of the skyline with my hops....
I haven't entirely worked out my trellis system. I know at least part of it is going to involve an outrigger pole (used for fishing) which is about 15' long, is telescoping, and has eyelets every 5' or so. I'll probably make a base for it (quick-crete in a 5 gal bucket) and then run lines to it. Enough to at least support the Cents. I'll likely just use the method proposed in the BYO article referenced early in this thread for the Chinook. In that article Chris Colby claims his vines get over 20' long using his method (though that's unlikely first year growth).

Your method sounds reasonable for your space. I'd be hooking the neighbors up with some homebrew to keep 'em quiet!

I'll be sure to post pics of the set up, will likely get time this weekend to work on it some...

Mike
 

Talloak

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If you find that your current pots are too small, and you likely will, you should consider building a planter instead of buying half barrels. Building your own allows you to make them as large as you like. You seem to have unlimited space on your roof? Could be more cost effective as well.
 

eroth

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If you find that your current pots are too small, and you likely will, you should consider building a planter instead of buying half barrels. Building your own allows you to make them as large as you like. You seem to have unlimited space on your roof? Could be more cost effective as well.
How big a planter would you build then? Per plant, or just a big one for all of them?
 

Talloak

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If it were me, with the 4 plants you have right now (two chinook, two centennial). I would build four large planters - one for each plant.

A planter 30" x 30" by 18" deep will give you over 9 cu ft of soil. That's over 60 gallons, if you think in terms of pot space. A very large hop plant will grow in 9 cu ft. Especially if you dote on them.

I just planted my rhizomes into 10 gallon pots. Very small. But I did this because there is a possibility I will be moving across the country soon. They are mobile. Otherwise I would have built something like this.

The question of cost is more about the potting soil you will have to purchase to fill the planters. I just bought 4 bags of 1.5 cu ft for $3.50 at Walmart - decent stuff - no extra water holding capabilities - you don't want that anyway. I also mixed into my 4 bags of potting soil one $4, 40lb bag of manure/organic matter (50/50).
 

eroth

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Talloak,

that sounds like a decent plan actually. What did you use to build the planters? just normal treated lumber?

i'd love to see plans for something like that. might mean i start the rhizomes in some 16" pots i have, and go to planters.

but of course, anything needs to be checked with the wife, as to it's appearance on our deck.
 
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If it were me, with the 4 plants you have right now (two chinook, two centennial). I would build four large planters - one for each plant.

A planter 30" x 30" by 18" deep will give you over 9 cu ft of soil. That's over 60 gallons, if you think in terms of pot space. A very large hop plant will grow in 9 cu ft. Especially if you dote on them.

I just planted my rhizomes into 10 gallon pots. Very small. But I did this because there is a possibility I will be moving across the country soon. They are mobile. Otherwise I would have built something like this.

The question of cost is more about the potting soil you will have to purchase to fill the planters. I just bought 4 bags of 1.5 cu ft for $3.50 at Walmart - decent stuff - no extra water holding capabilities - you don't want that anyway. I also mixed into my 4 bags of potting soil one $4, 40lb bag of manure/organic matter (50/50).
Great advice, no doubt about it. My thought is that for year one, either way, I'm probably not going to have a banner year. I'm going to do my best with what I've go so far. I may go this route next year. I'll definitely consider it. I've made raised beds in the past, and had great success. That's pretty much what we would be talking about here.

I'll let the roots fill out this year, and depending on how things go, may indeed transplant to something larger, as you suggest next year. One slight variable is that I am renting where I am, so despite likely being in the area for the next few years or so, one never knows what the morrow brings. That's the only thing that holds me back...

Thanks for the thoughts though. I may indeed do this, at some point!

Cheers,

Mike
 
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Oh, and another thing. The 4th chinook has sent up it's first shoot! One of the cents has 7 up so far!!!

Which brings me to a thought...

I see that many trim back the growth until they get a few really spry bines, and then let those 2-3 really take off. Wonder what the communal thought is on trimming back the first growth, especially in first year hops, in pots such as I have?
 

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I want my Centennial to look like that. I still have to drag my plants in each night here in MI. Only have one tiny purple sprout.
 
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Well, a lot has happened, since my last post.

We ended up moving, (which was unpredicted at the time), which pretty much shot my whole experiment to heck.

My new place has a small back yard, but it faces north. So, I only get afternoon direct sun here is SoCal.

I can't figure it out, because one of the plants really took off, while the others lagged, and may lost. They certainly are stunted if nothing else. Maybe overwatering, combined with too little sun now. Not sure. Thing was they were all under equal conditions, with equal watering when on the roof, and the one that really took of started showing itself as a performer early on.

Somehow, it was the last one to come up, and was a rinky-dink Chinook rhizome when it arrived. I thought there was no way it was going to do anything. Yet, it was the one that took off, and boy, did it ever. It's now over 7 feet tall, and gaining significantly every day. It has climed to a level that gets more sun, so I think it's kind of a postive feed-back thing: More sun, = more growth, which results in greater sun exposure and more growth. Who knows...

So, unless something changes very soon, all my hopes (for this season) rest on my one Chinook! Of course, they're not even on the roof, so again I think it's a bust. I hope it's good for late additions / dry-hopping! I've never really used them in this manner. We'll see I guess!

Here is what I am looking at now:

Chinook #1:



Chinook #2:



Cent #1:



Cent #2:



I'll continue to update on the progress.

Cheers,

Mike
 
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Hop Harvest 2009:

Well, ended up with just the one Chinook producing. 3.37 oz total. Guess that earns me a solid "meh". Of course, that's just the one, so if the others would have done something, I would have been in business. One other chinook suddenly started to take off...we'll see if I get anything out if it...

'll get a batch out of it, really more as I'll use for late additions only. Going to do the barley wine out of the Zainasheff book as like my next batch or so, and that's an oz right there.

Guess there's always next year! Happy harvesting everyone! :mug:

Here's pics from the harvest:





 

chrislehr

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I gotta bump this. Those look awesome and beautiful. So sad this thread didnt get love when you posted it!
 
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Thanks! Unfortunately, I think part of it was that the original premise of "roof-top hops" didn't pan out because I had to move. Then again, when you think about it, moving the hops and getting what I did out of them was amazing.

One lesson I learned is that I suspect I wouldn't have gotten the production I did up on the roof...mainly because the hop plant (Chinook) that really took off, grew through the bottom of the pot and into the ground...something that wouldn't have happened on the roof obviously.

This year, the Chinook are really going off. That plant has 4 bines vs the 1...already up to the balcony. The other chinook actually started off even better but has slowed a bit.

Thanks for the love!

Cheers,

Mike
 
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