Wednesday, May 4, 2011

2011 Hop Gardens

It's growing...
I have added another garden this year. Our good friend's Dan and Meagan have agreed to grow some hops for me this year. He even started a webpage called Hoppy House which will have a lot more pictures and updates on growing hops at home. Dan is a big fan of American hoppy beers and coincidentally a fellow QUAFF member and beer blogger at Chillidamos, Sean was just digging up a few of his "C" hops. Sean has a pretty serious hop farm with about 30 plants and this year he was adding a few new kinds. He was kind enough to give me rhizomes and crowns (the original rhizome that propagates more rhizomes) of Magnum (Hallertauer), Centennial and Chinook. As evident on Sean's website the Chinook and Centennial really like Southern California and produce well.

This year I will have the following hops growing (click the names to see Freshops website which has great details on every hop):
Cascade - Dad's
Centennial - Dan & Meagan's
Chinook - Dan & Meagan's
Goldings - Mom's
Magnum (Hallertauer) - Dan & Meagan's
Halfway through the season I should be getting a few more rare and vintage hop varieties.

Dad's House:
Third Year Cascade plant. This meant that we had to chop a few rhizomes. We gently dug all around the plant, then each rhizome and chopped them off at the crown. Since this is growing in a raised bed we made a border to make sure the hops don't take over the whole garden. I believe we cut off 5 healthy rhizomes.

Cascade 05.03.11

06.28.11 - The big crown just is not producing. I had high hopes for this hop. It must be putting energy into more rhizomes. It is only about 6" tall.

Mom's House:
It looks like only 1 of the 2 Goldings planted last year is going to make it. I really have not had success with English varieties, but I want to keep trying since I use a lot in my homebrewing.
Goldings 04.28.11

06.28.11 - Not much to report , never took off still just a couple inches high. I think I will transplant to a shady spot.

07.25.11 - I went to transplant this hop and I found out why I haven't had much success at my mom's house. The neighbor's giant succulent prefers the soil and watering that I give my hops. The rhizome had one tap root that was an 1/8" thick but went down over 3 ft before I broke it off. It was trying so hard to make it. So next year I need to dig the whole area up and make a new retaining wall.

Dan and Meagan's House:
All three hop varieties (Chinook, Magnum, Centennial) were transplanted from a hop crown. So they are very healthy. Also we decided to plant them in 20" planters. We used 50% potting soil and 50% compost (free from the San Diego Landfill). We installed eyelets into the roof awning and ran both twine and nylon twine down to each plant. We made sure to leave an additional length of wire so during the harvest we can raise and lower the bine. Check Hoppy House for more current updates.
Centennial 05.01.11

06.28.11 - Growth was going great till 2 weeks ago. And leaves are starting to turn yellow. Need to figure out cause.

08.11.11 These guys came back to life. And all they really needed was some good organic fertilizer (Dr. Benson's Natural Mix). The experts over at Homebrewtalk really helped. Within a week it became dark green again and starting growing again. But we did miss a good 3-4 weeks of prime growing so I doubt we will get a harvest on these first year plants. But we learned a lot for next year.

Magnum 05.01.11

06.28.11 - Also stopped growing, but not as much yellowing.

08.11.11 - Read above for description of what we did. But after fertilizer this hop just started putting out side arms like crazy. We were excited that we might get a bunch of hops. Even though the side arms are about 24" long there are no cones

Chinook 05.01.11

06.28.11 - This guy took off with 3 healthy bines, but has also slowed. We need help.

We have hop cones! OK, there are only about 20 which probably less than an ounce, but it is exciting to us. For some reason only the side arms up at the top of the house (more sun) sprouted cones.

08.26.11 We picked them, just over an ounce. They smell of big time grapefruit, very nice.  Enjoy the Photo Collage.


  1. hops need to be in the ground bro!
    dig out some of those tiles and work the soil a bit and you won't know what to do with all the hops. If you really have to plant in pots, get 55g barrels or something massive. I'm not kidding ;-) I've gotten over a pound for one plant.

    1. Anon-
      I wish all the hops could be in the ground, but my friend, Dan, just doesn't have the space. The pots are each 20 gals so that is about the size of a 55 gal barrel cut in half. I think this year with 2nd year plants we will do much better, plus now we know the importance of continuous feeding.


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