Hops!

This Spring, I am [planning to] grow my own hops. This is not something I’ve ever done. I received my rhizomes and pretty extensive instructions in the mail yesterday. I purchase 2 Centennial and 2 Cascade rhizomes. I’ll keep this page updated with photos. According to what I’ve read, you can’t really rely on estimating alpha acids with homegrown hops (it’s trial and error), and therefore should really use them more for aroma, flavor, dry hopping, etc; not bittering. Had I known that I might not have bought Centennial. But I’m looking forward to experimenting. Planning to plant in next couple weeks. The weather here has been odd lately, so I want to try to avoid planting when there’s still frost coming.

4/23/16

Planted. The soil here is really terrible and rocky, but I dug out a couple of trenches about 9″ deep, filled with gardening soil blend, and made mounds on top. I planted the rhizomes about 1-2″ below the surface of that.

5/16/16

I think the growth rate seems a bit slow. I got 2 rhizomes of each hop variety and I may have planted them a bit too close. For each type of hop, it seems only 1 or the 2 rhizomes is sprouting. The weather has still dipped into quite cold temps here at times. The tallest Cascade is about 4-5″ tall. When they get about 12″, I will pick the best 2 and prune the rest. I need a support system of some kind too, to wrap the vines around.

5/21/16

The Cascade is ahead of the Centennial and almost ready for some kind of support system, I think. So I ran some twine:

7/20/16

Flowers… which will soon be cones?

8/3/16

Spotted the first cones! These are the Cascade.

9/3/16

Decided to finally harvest the cones that didn’t look like they were getting any bigger. They had the springy, papery feel that they are supposed to. Only got a few Cascades, and got NONE from the Centennial plant. I’ve read not to expect much the first year while the root system is being established, so I’ll see next year. I’m air-drying now, then will freeze them. Maybe I’ll dry hop with these Cascades.