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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..........  

Hops plant rhizome

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!

Hops plant

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 be pampered!

hops plants

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 planting site.

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.

hops plant

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.    

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