Hop Rhizomes

General brewing information, questions and discussion. Topics that do not seem to fit elsewhere.

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Postby kevponce » Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:40 pm

Leg

I kn ow I'm late. Story of my life. But I figured I need to do some reading.

Shag

Got info for me???
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Info

Postby shaggyt » Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:47 am

Well kev, start with the basics. The Freshops link legman provided will get you started in the right direction. A lot of the free/web material I found was very similar with subtle differences.

"The Homebrewer's Garden" by Joe & Dennis Fisher is a good resource, but not super detailed. Nonetheless, if you can find this book for cheap or at the library, get it. I had to special order through Borders so for the content, it probably wasn't worth it. That said, it's a good basic reference covering all the steps from preparation to harvest. The oast by the way is a "hop dryer." This book contains directions on how to construct one.

Bill Velek's Grow-Hops group has some good info as well. There's a list of hop varieties sorted by grower which specifies location of grower, temperature zones, and other variables. I thought this list was helpful to see what folks are growing in my neck of the woods.

Other basic considerations would be shade and how much there is where you plan to grow. As posted previously in this thread, I have lots of old growth, giant trees in my backyard so I was kind of stuck with where to plant.

I'll step away from the podium now...there's lots of stuff out there.
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Preperation

Postby Legman » Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:16 pm

Kev,

Now is a great time to start planning!

First, you need to find a place with full sun (6-8+ hours). Decide how many you're going to grow and if you have the space for it. In general, "they" say plant same varieties 3 ft. apart and plant different varieties 5 ft. apart.
Next, you'll need something for them to grow on. Hops can grow up to 30 ft. if you let them. But really all you need is something 10-15 ft. high. Or you can grow them horizontally, but you have to continually train them.
Most importantly, as with growing anything, is soil preparation. Hops roots can grow pretty deep, so a loose, well draining, fertile, soil with lots of compost/humus is greatly beneficial.
Clay soils really suck for growing anything. This is what I have at my house. So what I did, is I dug a hole about the size of a 5 gallon bucket. Removed the the clay/rocks, and replaced it with layers of good stuff. I started off with placing a layer of wheat straw in the very bottom and some spent grains from a few brewing days. This stuff will all degrade and become good food for your plants. Then the rest of the hole I layered in mushroom compost, cow manure, peat moss and humus. I made a small mound at the top to account for some settling. This spring I took a shovel full of manure, added it to the top of the hole, mixed it in a bit and planted the rhizomes about an inch or so below the surface.
.......and tadaa.....I'm growing hops. :mrgreen:
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Postby kevponce » Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:52 pm

Leg

your pics are great. What did you use for those poles? How deep do they go and waht are they anchored with? Also I need to get some soil ideas. I read the Freshops but it is pretty non detailed and I suppose I need some gardening help.
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re:poles

Postby Legman » Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:30 am

The poles are actually the top rail for a chain link fence. They are 10' long and only cost about 9-10 bucks @ Lowe's. They also have a cap w/ an eyelet that I ran the strings through (tied on end to the bottom of pole/ other ends to hops). I can raise and lower them for harvesting and I don't have to climb a ladder to do it. If I decide to grow taller than 10', there is a coupler that I can put on the end and just add more length to it.
In the ground, I dug about a 2 1/2' hole with a post hole digger. Took a 5' piece of 3/4" galvanized pipe and set that into concrete. The fence railing just slides over the galvanized pipe that is sticking out of the ground.
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Postby Legman » Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:41 am

Suthrncomfrt1884 wrote:That last one concerns me a bit. All of my plants seem to be dying at the bottom of the vines. Is this just because more nutrients are needed at the top half to produce hops? Or have I overcrowded them?


Suthrn, I'm not sure what to say about that.....other than mine have some of that going on too. It doesn't seem to be really hurting anything. Some of it makes me think of disease, like powdery mildew (maybe). If you suspect disease, don't wait to long to take action. In previous post, I said I like to use neem oil. I've been spraying my hops with them about every 2 weeks. Neem kills powdery and downy mildew on contact. Maybe give it a try. :?
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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:35 am

I don't suspect disease. I've been out a couple times to inspect everything and I've been pretty good about spraying them. As you said though, mine don't seem to be affected by the bottom leaves not doing well. I've got flowers on two of the three plants. They're only about 1/4", but I'm fine with that for first years.
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Postby kevponce » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:47 pm

Suthurn. By the looks of yoursignature I want to come over your house for some serious appelations. !@#$!!!
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Loss of leaves at bottom not a problem

Postby billvelek » Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:54 am

Suthrn, unless you see other indications of disease, you are correct to not worry about the leaves at the bottom of the bines. Actually, it is recommended that the leaves be removed from the bottom couple of feet after the bines have good foliage above that; the lack of leaves at the bottom improves air circulation, which helps prevent disease. Good thread with some nice pictures and sound advice. My hops are doing extremely well, despite the very hot and dry conditions we've had until a few days ago. It finally cooled off and we've gotten some rain; in fact, it's raining right now.

If any of you have questions that aren't answered here, my 'Grow-Hops' group currently has 3,053 members (including many commercial growers), and 9,083 searchable messages in our archive, plus lots of links to good hop-growing info, etc.

Cheers.

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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:52 pm

Bill, I heard that you shouldn't cut the leaves off the bottom few feet until the second year. Is that right? I was thinking about doing it this year, but I'm just sort of letting them go at this point. I want them to spread their wings.
Primary - Belgian Dubbel, Belgian IPA
Secondary - Cherry Lambic
Bottled - Bourbon Barrel Coffee Porter, Double Chocolate Raspberry Stout, Imperial Nut Brown, Apfelwein, American Amber Ale w/Homegrown Hops, Breakfast Stout
Kegged - Bass Clone, ESB
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Postby mule » Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:16 am

I have 9 varieties growing in pots, all of them I have had to pull a few leaves off the bottom just to keep them clean - I figured the damaged leaves could introduce disease into the plants. I have been watering inside the soil and not on top. I put drippers about 2" under the soil. I haven't seen any fungi/bacteria on any of them. Sad news though, the hail that came through CO last week stripped all of the leaves off of the two bines here at work. I have two here and 7 at home. I'll be posting pics of my setup in a few minutes in a new thread..... Most of my bines are about 8"-10' tall, one is about 13'.
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stripping leaves from bottom

Postby billvelek » Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:49 am

Suthrncomfrt1884 wrote:Bill, I heard that you shouldn't cut the leaves off the bottom few feet until the second year. Is that right? I was thinking about doing it this year, but I'm just sort of letting them go at this point. I want them to spread their wings.

I have read that, too -- can't remember where -- the idea being that there should be more photosynthesis and greater development of the plant, and hence the root system as well. Since I can't remember the source(s), I don't know how sound the advice is. I look at it this way: you can probably promote a bit more root development for the following year by not stripping the leaves, although I'm not sure just how much of a difference that would actually make, ... or you can minimize the chance of a disease that could kill your plant entirely, and I don't know how much the risk of disease is altered by stripping the leaves. All I know is that it is generally recommended; for instance, "The Homebrewer's Garden" -- which was my only source of info my first year growing -- says: "Diseases -- You can prevent or minimize most diseases with a few simple tricks. Morning waterings will allow the plants to dry out properly over the course of a day and not provide an easy, damp target for diseases. Spacing plants farther apart and thinning out leaves also helps by increasing air circulation, so leaves dry quickly. We suggest pruning off all leaves on the bottom 2 feet (60 cm) of the vine; do this when the plant reaches the top of your climbing twine." I will add that the book says nothing about first year plants versus older plants.

Now, that is just a suggestion -- not a 'must do' -- and I don't even know how 'authoritative' that book can be considered. I can't find the brochure that came with my Freshops rhizomes, and can't remember if it said anything like that. I also don't remember what commercial growers do, and don't have time to research it. My first year Fuggles grew like crazy, so I stripped the leaves from the bottom two feet the first year; the next year I dug up most of the crowns so that I could move them, and they were huge (I rolled the root balls into a wheel barrel to move, and I cut them at about 3' x 1.5', IICR). My other varieties (Centennial and Magnum) struggled the first year -- some never reaching the top of my 8' trellis and a few barely making it, so I wasn't about to cut anything off of them, so they weren't trimmed. This year I have been so busy that I haven't maintained my hop yard very well, and they've just grown wild and are all filled in at the bottom -- but no signs of disease. It might be that I've just been lucky, or maybe because it's been so dry here, or maybe because there are no spores for hop diseases in Arkansas.

Cheers.

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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:48 pm

So I now have hundreds of flowers on my first year rhizomes. They're all pretty small and a few are starting to form into cones from what I can tell. I'm wondering if they are going to grow much bigger than the flowers. My flowers were only maybe a 1/2". I'm hoping for bigger cones, but I suppose since I wasn't expecting anything this year...I'll take what I can get.
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Postby Legman » Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:13 am

Hey cool, Suthrn. :)
I might have a hand full on one plant, but like you said, wasn't expecting anything this year anyways.
I'll be looking forward to seeing what happens next year.
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Size of cones

Postby billvelek » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:39 pm

I've been told that there are two factors besides general growing conditions that will affect the size of your cones:

First, having too many bines; that makes sense if you consider that proper pruning of tomato plants, for example, will produce larger tomatoes.

Second, using too much nitrogen or applying it late (presumably right before or during formation of cones); this is supposed to cause a lot of foliage to develop and diverts the strength of the plant away from the cones.

Cheers.

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