An image of the How Brew Beer.com logo.

Home  |  Beer Brewing Kit  |  Brewing Supplies  |  Kegerator  |  Beer Styles  |  Beer Recipes  |  Craft Beer  |  Hops  |  Beer Glasses  |  All-Grain Brewing

 

Canton, NC Hops Project.  Hops - Growing Hops - Hops Rhizomes - Beer Hops

Part 4

Back to Part 3  |  Back to Part 2  |  Back to Part 1

July 25, 2014 by Rick Morris:

So, I'm really starting to see the hops appearing on the bines.  Some plants have performed exceptionally well, while others are not producing at all.  Here are some images...

Chinook hops growing up the porch, to about 13 feet, before moving horizontally.   Cascade hops growing along the porch landing.   A chinook hops plant and a sterling hops plant growing up the side of my house in Canton, NC.

Hops growing in the garden.   Similar photo of hops growing in my garden.   Image of hops.

Small photo of hops growing on the bines.   Another photo of the hops growing on my porch.   Close up photo of hops.

Another Close up photo of hops.   Another Close up photo of hops.

Hops growing on a horizontal string after risining to about 7 feet off the ground.

Very close look at a hops flower I recently picked from my hop yard in Canton, NC.  These are almost ready to harvest.

In this photo you can see the hops flower I have sliced in half, showing the yellow lupulin and humulin deposits.

A decent view of my hops garden.  Notice how the hops are running horizontally after rising to about 7 feet.

Another view of hops growing horizontally on the bines.

These hops are almost ready for harvest. Image made July 12, 2013 in Canton, NC in the area of the 35 - 36th parallel.

Nice view of my Chinook hops in the garden.

More horizontal growth of my hops.

Beautiful image of hops.

Beautiful image of hops.

Hops, hops, hops.

First year growth hops plant.

All these hops plants are in my first year hops garden.

Photo of hops in Canton, NC.

More hops growing.

These are Cascade hops in my first-year hops garden.

As you can see by the photo, these hops are almost ready to harvest.  Can't wait to get them in a carboy of home brew!

Hops.

Another nice close-up photo of the insides of a hops flower.  Compare the size of this hops flower to the nickel.  And, notice the beautiful yellow lupulin and humulin.

2013 Hops Growing Results

Essentially, I learned a lot about growing hops in this, my first year.  The most important lesson is that hops grow best on a 20-foot tall line, as opposed to a partial vertical and horizontal configuration.  Some hops performed better than others.  Not sure if this is because of their location (i.e. beside the house on a tall growing line, or in the open garden on a horizontal setup.  Clearly, the winners - regardless of location or type of hop - were the ones that had maximum vertical growth.  Having observed that, I will create a 14-foot trellis system for all my plants located in the garden.  The others are situated by the house and some of these will receive a trellis as well.  I would prefer to go 20 feet high, but that is going to be an eye sore on my property.  14 feet will suffice and should produce well for me.

"The most important lesson is that hops grow best on a 20-foot tall line, as opposed to a partial vertical and horizontal configuration."

The best producing hop varieties in my Canton, North Carolina hops growing project were Chinook, Nugget, Cascade, and Sterling.  The Chinook I have growing up my front porch faces the Eastern sky and was the best performer of the lot.  Morning sun, perhaps has something to do with that?  Willemette, Columbus, and Northern Brewer were the worst performers.  Of course, these may eventually do well given optimum growing conditions.  For example, these all were initially among the smaller of the rhizomes I received.  Next, each of these were grown up 7-foot strings before being guided horizontally.  But, the more likely reason these didn't perform as well could be that these were located at the far-end of the garden and were often being "enjoyed" by the local ground hog (prairie dog) early on.  I'm thinking this limited their initial growth.  Accordingly, I'll ensure all the garden hops plants receive a protective barrier of chicken wire in addition to the new trellis.  I should then be able to determine their true growth abilities this year (2014).

"The best producing hop varieties in my Canton, North Carolina hops growing project were Chinook, Nugget, Cascade, and Sterling." 

Having said all that, I did get a total of about 6 or 8 dried ounces of hops from all these plants.  That was enough to learn some drying techniques.  After drying, they were bagged and placed in the freezer.  Unfortunately, I never used them in any brews.  I was worried about their discoloration and lack of aromas and size.

In summary, I learned that growing hops is fairly easy.  A tall growing system is best.  Use strong twine as the vines do get heavy by July/August - especially after a good rain.  Since I have only 20 plants, I'll probably go with parachute cord this year. 

Be a good baby sitter during the early growing stages.  Keep an eye on watering.  Know that hops can be deadly to pets, including certain breeds of dogs.  Mulch the hops to reduce weed/grass growth.  Develop a fencing system to keep out unwanted critters.  Watch out for the stinging Saddleback "caterpillar" bug when harvesting! 

Dry your hops as quickly as possible using a tried method.  You will want them to reach a certain dryness within about 24 hours.  Anything longer than that can reduce the bitterness and aroma levels. 

Store your freshly dried hops in a sealed container (plastic zip-tight bag is what we use) inside a brown paper bag, inside the freezer.  This year, I'm going to try to arrange for brewing several batches using hops from the vines. 

On a secondary note, I allowed my hops vines to remain on the strings through fall and winter.  I've heard this allows saps/nutrients to work their way back down to the rhizomes, providing food for the plant during the winter.  I read somewhere that some growers simple cut or mow over them a week or so after harvesting.  But, I figured that in the wild, this is how hops plants grow, die, and re-grow year after year.

My hops should live 20 or 30 years, as I'm told.  And, they will produce more and more each year as the root structure develops.  I'm hoping to get at least a few pounds this year (2014).  But, under optimum conditions (location, soil, hop variety, rain schedule, etc.) plenty of hop varieties can produce 1 to 2 pounds of dried hops each year.  Some have done twice that! 

April 8, 2014 - The hops are starting to spout for their second year. I have installed a taller growth system of poles for the garden hops and the three next to the house.  To see what is happening, continue reading about the 2014 hops growing season here.

         
 

Home  |  About  |  Contact

Copyright 2012 - 2014 - All Rights Reserved.  Two Monks Brewing - Canton, North Carolina