Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Growing Hops At Home

Spring has sprung and the hops have started to shoot out of the ground.

Hops Shoots

This year is the celebrated “Year 3” of my hop growing. All the resources that I read talked about the third year being a magical year of crop bounty. The root system should be fully formed and the bines should be primed to produce a good amount of hop flowers.

I had a good harvest last year. My goal is to get a pound of hops from this bad boy. Maybe this will be the year.

To help my efforts, I bought two more rhizomes to plant this year. If I am lucky, I will have Cascade and Willamette hops to harvest too.

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6 Comments

  1. Kenneth Schauer

    I’m having a devil of a time with my hops. I had a buddy last year cough up an established hop plant for me, so I took it home and stuck it in the ground. I used compost and watered it well, but I’m afraid it’s given up the ghost. One of the things I’m looking for, that I’m going to look for on your site btw, is tips on how much sun I should be giving my poor lil hops, and what a good strategy is for ensuring it survives the winter. I’m hoping that I can revive my plant, but if you have suggestions, I’m all ears!
    -Ken

  2. Hi Ken,

    The hops plants should get a lot of sun. I think 7 to 9 hours of direct sunlight a day is optimal. I think home growers in southern states have to be careful of too much sun, but I haven’t had any issues where I live (MA). I water fairly regularly – once a day during dry spells.

    After the harvest, I cut the bines down and leave 1 inch nubs sticking out of the ground. I cover these with some grass clippings for the winter. All the sources I have read say that these plants are pretty hardy. Last year, they sprouted out of the ground around April 1 so they are a little ahead of schedule.

  3. Kenneth Schauer

    Hey John!
    Thanks for getting back to me. I’ve been reading quite a bit about hops, but these suggestions are some much more succinct then some of the resources I’ve found. I’ve been watering my plant faithfully, and it’s sprouted nicely! Then today we got snow! ACK! So I covered the lil gal with a bucket and then a bigger bucket to try to keep it alive. Tomorrow we’re supposed to hit 60 again, so hopefully this won’t kill my progress.

    My grand scheme is to build a kind of wall of hops along my back fence. I’m an electrician by trade, so I thought I’d build trellises out of something sturdy like unistrut. The nice thing about strut is that it already has holes so I can run twine to the ground, and up through the hole… then back down to a tie off point so I can lower the vines down to a good level to harvest… I don’t know if this is actually a good idea… but it seems saucy.

    So my question would be, how high do you tie your bines up? At what level roughly is your tie off point for your twine?

    Thanks for your patience with me. Hops are a whole new level of brewing, and you cover them often!
    -Ken

  4. Hey Ken.

    Cool, glad I could help. Hop bines can grow up to ~20 feet tall. My first year hop bines only grew to 10 feet tall – second year was 16 feet. My hops grow up string along the south side of my shed, which is about 12 feet tall at its tallest point. So I have a 4 strings from the ground level to the roof. From the roof, I have string that is tied to a nail on the edge of the roof, swings around a tree branch that hangs over the shed, and attaches back to the roof which gives me more room for the bines to grow.

    One thing about a trellis that I just read about is that metal may not be the best material for it since it will get really hot in the sun and that may be bad for the hop bines. Now if you build the structure and can keep the bines from touching the metal, I think you’ll be in good shape.

  5. Ken Schauer

    I’m growing my bines next to the back fence, and I had planned to just run a pole up, and run a string back to the ground… but, I can’t guarentee that the bines wouldn’t latch onto the pole. So, after reading your comment, I think I’ll run two poles up (using half inch EMT, I am an electrician, so this should be easy for me to find.) Then I’ll do stub 90s at the top, and tie those together with a three to four foot chunk. That’ll make something that looks like a goalie post, just tall and narrow. I’ll post pics on my blog.

    Sorry to plague you with so many questions, but finding some of this information is a bugger. So here’s my final question for a week or two… 🙂 The plant has exploded out of the ground, and she has like twenty shoots. I know I should trim some back… Should I trim every one but one or two bines? This is the first year at my house for this plant, and I have no way of knowing if it’s up to two bines yet or not…

    Thanks for your time!
    -Ken

  6. I would trim them down to two bines. That’s what I did in the first year of my hops and cones grew from those shoots.

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