Growing Hops

April 21, 2010

I seem to be rubbing off on my husband with the idea of growing plants for use. He recently bought and planted some hop rhizomes. A rhizome is sort of like a flower bulb or tuber, and in fact, Irises grow from rhizomes.

Living in Washington State, hop rhizomes cannot be sold by mail order, but instead appear be done locally. Our local homebrew store was selling hop rhizomes from Yakima, WA, and my husband decided to buy three varieties: Cascade, Golding, and Fuggle.

Hops grow to be about 15-25 feet tall, and do well with some sort of guide to climb, such as twine or wire. At the SE intersection of NE 15th Ave & Fremont St in Portland, OR, there are some hops growing up the metal grounding wire on a telephone pole. Admittedly, hops grow better on the other side of the Cascade Mountains, even wild at times.

The hop vines grow upwards, and eventually begin to put out vines growing sideways, which will bear flowers called hop cones. These cones will eventually be picked and dried for brewing beer.

Our local homebrew supply store provided a four page document on how to plant the rhizomes, grow and care for the hops, and harvest and dry the cones.

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