Growing Hops Plants - Diary
There are many reasons to grow hops plants. You might grow them because
you are a home brewer. Or, perhaps as a cash crop. For many gardeners,
it's the challenge of growing something they've never grown before.
Maybe you're growing them because it an easy to grow perennial. Then,
there's my favorite reason "because I can".
So, simply "because I can", I embarked on my first endeavor to grow
hops. I do not make beer, or wine for that matter, at home or anywhere
else. I do have people I can give the fruits of my labor, in this case
"cones". So at harvest time, the bountiful fruits of my labor should not
go to waste.
So watch, as I document and display my immense gardening prowess at
growing hops in the diary below..........
May 7, 2019 - I just picked up a rhizome from a friend of my
oldest son. The shoots have begun to grow, about six of them. The longest
is already over an inch long. I was told to get it into the ground
tomorrow. The variety is "Cascades". It's used to make pale ales and
IPAs, adding a citrusy flavor. I'm gung-ho, let's grow!
May 8, 2019 - And, so it begins.... It's planting time! I prepared the
planting site, mixing in plenty of rich compost. I was told the roots do
not like to be in wet, soggy soil. So, I mounded the planting area
slightly. I planted the rhizome a couple inches deep in the soil, with
just the tips of the growing shoots poking above the soil. There's still a
risk of frost an cold weather for the next couple of weeks. I'll be
prepared to cover them up , if need be. Yes, my hops plant is going to
June 6, 2019 - About one month after planting, the new hops plant is
already about 10 inches tall (From now on, I need to bring out
the tape measure).There are two major bines. The plant is beginning to
climb up the rebar I put next to it. As it grows taller, I will train
one of the bines to climb up the corner post (see left side of picture).
June 7, 2019 - I applied a dose of general purpose fertilizer. The
tallest bine is not grabbing onto the pole by itself yet. A light breeze
knocks it free. I continue to train it. It's a smart plant, so I know it
will get the idea soon (lol).
June 19, 2019 - We've had a lot of rain and cool weather the past few
weeks. I'm glad I elevated the soil just a little, to avoid root rot.
I'm sure a lot of the action is going on underground, as the plant is
developing its root system. The plant is growing slowly, but steadily.
More bines are emerging.
June 25, 2019 - The weather is finally turning into summer. The hops
bine is growing strong. The longest has reached 3 feet tall. Secondary
bines are beginning to appear off the main. I'm going to have to put
additional stakes or rebar next to the plant, for the bines to climb.
The question is: will they be long enough? I don't think so. I also need
to mulch around the plants and add some more fertilizer.
June 28, 2019 - Numerous bines are emerging. The largest bine is growing
up the rebar and is four feet long. I've trained another one onto the
fence and it has begun its upward climb. Like vining beans, the bines
grow several inches up without seeing major grow of the leaves, so it is
hard to see about the top foot of the bines. I weeded around the plant,
and applied a thick layer of leaf mulch.
July 2, 2019 - Multiple bines are growing strong and quickly. They
are beginning to climb up the fence that is around two sides of the
July 3, 2019 - More bines are climbing the outside fence. Some are
already near the top, four feet tall. Applied general purpose fertilizer. It should help
to continue the fast growth. Pulled just a few small weeds. The thick
layer of mulch is helping to keep the weeds down.
July 6, 2019 - The main bine is almost to the top of the first rebar,
about another foot to go. I tied a second rebar to the wooden corner
post. It goes up 12-15 feet.
July 9, 2019 - The main bine has jumped from the top of the first rebar,
to the second taller pole. Growth rates right now are phenomenal. The
main bine is about seven feet tall. I wish I had recorded the plant
height on a daily baisis. Isn't hindsight great!? Many secondaries are
forming at each leaf node. I watered the plant, as it is a bit dry and
hot right now.
July 10, 2019 - The bines grow by the inches overnight! If my
calculations are correct, the main bine has grown over four inches a day
since early June. It's hard to see how tall they really are. The leaves
grow noticeably in size at a much smaller speed than the bine. The lower
leaves are getting more sizeable.
July 13, 2019 - It's hard to show this healthy, fast growing plant. (see
picture above). The leaves are still small and in the picture, they are
lost amongst the other lush plant leaves in my garden. But rest assured,
this hops plant is growing fats and looks great. The main bine is about
10-12 feet on the rebar growing beyond what's displayed in the picture.
Fortunately, getting a good picture is the only problem I'm experiencing
with this hops plant. Multiple bines have reached the top of the four
foot fence. I think I will train them to grow horizontally along the top
of the fence. Giving water regularly, as the weather is both hot and
dry. We sure could us a little rain for the whole garden. Today, mixed
in liquid fish and seaweed into the water.
Recipes: May we suggest: