Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hops: Planting

Its all about the alphas

You may know that I also make some home brew beer. While I don't like hoppy beers, I do know a deal when I see it. When I heard of hop prices going up again due to shortages, I contacted my local brew shop to but me on their "buy a hop plant" list for 4 different types.

Last week I got my hop rhizomes. I bought: Norther Brewer, Nugget, Brewer's Gold, and (x2) Cascade. With freezing temperatures still looming, each different kind of hops went into a medium pot. I used regular organic potting soil. I got a little daring and planted one of my Cascade in the ground.  

Remember that hops are a though fast growing evasive plant. Think of them like a weed, if left unconfined for years, there roots they will start spreading new plants as far as they can. This is one of the reasons I put most of them in pots. They like lots of water, but well draining soil. If in pots remember to water them daily. If directly planting into the ground, then build a soil up about 4inches (to make a little raised garden bed). Hop plants are also highly resisted to frost damage. A great benefit of those of us starting in cold areas (such as zone 5a). However if planting in the ground remember they will need something to grow on and support 20lb plant vine and will need as much sun as they can get.  

Most people recommend that you lay them horizontally in the ground, when planting, for the best results. And that you space them 3 to 5 feet apart. Cover with mulch, hay, or any other ground cover to help keep the soil from drying out.

In about 2-4 weeks you should see your hop plants growing up through the soil.

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