The extension guy is on vacation this week, and I've been trying to find out as much as I can about growing hops. The current large scale practice includes 16-20 foot poles and guy wires and so on, and I know I don't want to do that. I've tried searching the site and did not find a thread on hops in a guild or as a cash crop, but surely there is some experience around here regarding hops. I do have one dead tree I could grow a vine up, but I wanted more than that. I want to grow enough of a few varieties that my hips would be of interest to a microbrewer.
Can anybody help me out>
Consider how light rises and falls for the season and execute accordingly.
I was trying to find some photos I shot at a brewery that had hops just outside, the 'guild' or config was...Yakima hops, red russian kale, and marigolds with hardwood chips.
If you grow in # there is money to be made. Contact your local microbrewers and explain what you're doing. Grow hops that they tend to use most often.
Preordering is happening now. http://www.thymegarden.com/site/561124/page/217466
for hops - im for moment in country with lot of hops fields in north but i havent seen them much and dont have much idea how to grow them. i only know they need support for climbing but its not a problem - old trees or wire can do.
maybe those pages can help:
A few things to consider about hops are to explore which hops might grow better in your hardiness zone. There are hops that are more suitable to various climes. But I wouldn't worry about it too much, plant what you want and watch them to see what might do better where you are.
The Cascade hops pictured above are grown organically, came from about 6 rhizomes, and produced about a dozen large ziplock freezerbags full. And I didn't keep all of them when I harvested because I ran out of room in my freezer. This year there are more vines coming up and I am going to try to split up the rhizomes to replant and to sell some.
I grow them primarily for myself because I brew, but I would definitely check into your local homebrew supply as far as a source to sell to.
Another thing to consider is how are you going to harvest the cones. When that picture was taken last year I used wires to train the hops, but when I cut down the vines I had to separate the wire from the vines. This year I used jute to train the vines and I will be able to just throw it all on the ground where my hops are and let it sit there over the winter to be a mulch for next years growth. I also created more of a cross-patterning with the jute so the vines would shade the house better. I'll try to get a pic from this year before I harvest.
It is easy for me to just cut them down off the eaves whereas if they were growing up a tree might mean more work. What if you rune wire or jute or something between trees and trained your vines up to those wires?
They also give good shade to my kids room which is the south facing part of the house.
I have question about the height requirement. I found a nice hops growing manual online, can't give you the link but it is called "Small Scale & Organic Hops Production" by Rebecca Kneen, of "Left Fields, BC" It talks about 18 to 20 foot poles with guy wires for the trellising. I guess that is the current large scale method. She said that the commercial hops varieties, the ones brewers use, have been bred for this height.
I know I don't want to do that.... I don't know how much production would be decreased by having shorter vertical distance. I do want to get a big enough crop to get some income, and a reputation for high quality organic hops, but I don't have to eek every possible penny out of it. I figure the shaded understory will be great for something, if only pasturing poultry.
Got any experience knowledge insight on that?
There is a lot of factors in terms of getting income from them, so I would play with a few first, find out what you want and what you can sell them for and then go from there.
My chickens absolutely love the understory, BUT you want to give the vines a chance before you let the chickens at them.
Many hop producers trim each rhizomes growth back to one or two sprouts so all the energy is focused into the cones of just that growth. I think the belief is that you get better flavor and aroma from the lupulin glands because of this. My hops are just a few years old, here, and they are not as fragrant as I would like, so next year I MIGHT trim them back. I really like the growth I get from them though.
I guess one thing to do this year is pick hops and try to figure out / get good at getting the ripe ones. And practice drying them. I bet a home brewer experimenter type would want to mess around with the ones I have, variety unknown.
You know, that photo with all the posts and wires just does not look like my house. I am thinking about making a row of posts along a winding path. I have a ditch that parallels the pathway, and my first planting could just be that row. The next planting might be a row along the other side, making a lane.
In the winter, when the vines are down, I would probably love the look of the row of poles. I could probably put 16 foot poles with 13 feet above ground. I could reach the tops from my 12 foot orchard ladder. If I wanted to go higher, I could always get a 16 foot orchard ladder.
When I think about simply putting in single or double rows or poles, the project has a whole different feel to it. Later on, I could put in the yard that looks like the (public domain) photo.
I've contacted a few of the local microbreweries. The one I don't like anyway said they would not e interested, so that's fine. All I am asking at this point is if they have any favorite varieties for limited edition and special occasion brews. I think if I grow something good, then someone will want it. Even just a commercial hop broker, but I bet there are forums like this one for home brewers, and THEY would LOVE special hops, and the small stores that supply them might also be interested. Right?
As per this crude drawing:
Did you draw that picture? That is sort of what I was thinking, that the posts would be along the sides of the pathway, but the plants would be over by the water. I had thought of putting a stakie and a string, but I just happen to have a "trellis" along the ditch. Prefab picket fence panels on steel T posts. They are about shoulder high. I could put the vines up those, then let them follow a string over to the tall posts. If someone else has been doing that, it is more likely it will work. I ten to have ll kinds of ideas, and I get 25 to 75 percent success on the first try of a wild new idea. Given a few years to fine tune and adjust, I get a little better success rate, but this just ups the chance it will work well the first time. It was that manual I read that said if you don't have them climb 20 feet of vertical, they won't bear as much.
I had another idea too. There are some sunflowers, annuals, that grow more than 12 feet high, and root in deep and solid. They have stout stems too. I could plant a row of those somewhere, and try some hops up the standing stalks the next year.....
The one big hop plant I have is just a mass all over the ground...... been that way for about 3 seasons now. I do plan to get a trellis up, but for now, it smothers all weeds beneath it.
I'm glad to hear that a similar arrangement has brought success to others.
The first gives brief descriptions of 76 varieties.
The other (from Purdue) gives a lot of general info.
Good luck with the hops growing!
kane Abbott wrote:One small interesting note with hops is that it is compatible for grafting to cannabis sativa, this can help elucidate problems with growth, disease and adaptibility to certain soils or climate. Neither of the medicinal properties are tranferred from root stock to parent plant, or parent to rootstock. Note this graft can be done in reverse. Depending on you location this may or may not be legally viable, but i thought id throw it in for something to think about....
Good luck with the hops growing!
iD LIKE TO SEE A picture
They are quite similar in that the flowers contain oily crystals
Healthfood guru Daniel Vitalis suggests this amazing book, Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harrod Buhner, which explains much about 'beers' i had no idea of but appears to be very important indeed. The thing is that 'beer' can be utterly nutritional and because of this it is more than a quaint interest. A good fermented brew contains just about every vitamin there is, including all amino acids. The term "liquid bread" doesn't even cover how much it offers. The micro organisms that convert the sugars to alcohol produce enzymes and make the parts of the process that feed us, which is the whole point of such 'drinks'. And the alcohol in such brews, usually much less than commercial beers to begin with, can actually be HEALTHY to the body, including the liver, in stark contrast to the limited products full of unhealthy extreme alchohol we have come to expect from commercial products.
The most important matter appears to be that the 1516 'Beer Purity Act' made healthy beers illegal, much like the Codex Alimentarius is going to try to make all kinds of healthy things illegal in our time.
According to GMO Compass.org:
"Beer making is an ancient process that traditionally uses only three ingredients: water, malted barley, and hops. The malt is the carbohydrate source, and the hops add flavour and act as a preservative. The beer purity act decreed in Bavaria in 1516 is still observed by German breweries today and restricts brewers to these three ingredients. Another important ingredient in beer is yeast. Although not originally added in the beer making process, it was always present and is responsible for converting sugars to alcohol. Beer makers now use yeast cultures custom tailored to specific types of beer."
So beer makers will tell you a "beer" has to contain hops or it's not a 'beer', which is actually a legal idea that, unfortunately, after centuries of suppression is assumed by almost everyone to be something inherently connected with beer.
The truth of the matter is that many healthy fermented drinks used to be produced but have become almost unknown in the West because of this ancient political contrivance. Fact of the matter is that fermented drinks like beer can be extremely nutritional and beneficial to health but most people will never even have tasted such brews. Which is why i took Daniel Vitalis' knowledge seriously and ordered the book by the herbalist Mr. Buhner.
It's basically false to speak of "beer" when referring to all these interesting brews because "beer", by law, contains only certain ingredients, among which the very estrogenic hops. The "beer purity act" of 1516, according to some (conspiracy buffs...) was about taking a healthy invigorating drink and bringing it down to a drink with one of the most estrogenic herbs in the world [hops] that makes those who drink it docile, sleepy, and less vigorous (including sexually).