After 4 months of growing hops in the backyard, I was able to reap the benefits of homegrown hops. All the spiny flowers transformed into cones very quickly and grew and grew until they started to dry out a bit on the bine.
Maybe I’m lucky, but I was able to get some cones from the first year of the bine.
I have been picking the cones in batches. I started with the ones that were are the top of the bines first. They were pretty big and seemed to be more mature than the ones lower down…probably because they got more sun.
I still have hops on the bine to pick but I will get to them once they are ready.
Here are some things that I learned along the way:
I watered mine with a light sprinkle every day, especially in the early months. My bines did pretty well with frequently watering.
I did use some plant fertilizer every couple of weeks. The plant reacted well to it.
Get as much sun on the plant as possible. Find a spot where it can get 8 to 10 hours of sun a day. We had a really sunny, dry summer this year. I think it was the biggest factor in the plant’s success.
Let it grow. I did some pruning of the lower leaves in late July. I am not sure it was necessary. The more I just let the plant grow in all kinds of directions, the more flowers bloomed…and the more cones I got.
If you like to follow along on this homegrown hops odyssey, start in May and work your way up: