Author Topic: Recommended Hop growing medium  (Read 1528 times)

Offline b-hoppy

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Re: Recommended Hop growing medium
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2014, 08:27:23 PM »
Jeff, when I first started growing them back in the late 80's/early 90's I was living in the Finger Lakes region of New York, and they grew like weeds!  Most growing instructions for hops suggest that they like "deep, well drained soils".  What that statement is getting at is beyond most folks comprehension in that the soil you see when you start digging your planting hole will continue down at least a few feet.  These regions have usually been created by some sort of glacial activity and many times are associated with areas of grape production (they also like deep well drained soils)

A few years later I moved back to Ohio and the hops came with me.  They still grew like weeds but not like they did in the 'real' soil.  We're lucky to have 8 inches of heavy-textured soil above really heavy clay here in NE Ohio.  I generally try to dig as big a hole as I can, maybe 3 feet into the clay, and then backfill with blend of the native soil and amend that with as much organic matter as I can.  During rainy years you can encounter the 'teacup effect' where the water follows the path of least resistance and fills your original hole creating a soggy condition for your roots, but it's the best I can come up with.  The additional digging/excavating will allow some monster roots to make their way deeper into the soil which in turn lessens the amount of additional water you have to supply. 

Some additional points that were touched on are also correct.  When you provide a good soil environment you can encourage mycorrhizae to inhabit your roots which will keep the microbes happy and in return, they'll help to keep the roots happy.  Lively, happy soil makes all parties involved happy!

One other point that some folks overlook, and can sometimes get them in the jackpot, is that you should have at least a 4 foot periphery around each crown so you can keep the rhizomes in check.  Usually, at the beginning of your third growing season, you're gonna want to start pruning the crown.  Basically you're just digging about an 8-10 inch deep trench/moat all the way around each crown.  By doing this, you'll find any rhizomes that are creeping away from the crown as they'll grow outward from the center like the spokes on a bicycle wheel.  I've seen situations where they've been grown right up next to a stone wall, railroad tie wall and many other types of fixed obstructions, and that's not good because once a rhizome finds a nook or cranny . . . it's off to the races.  This also happens when growers try to contain them with a 4x4 or some other type of border as when they hit the obstruction they end up growing along it due to not having to grow through soil.

Once the trench is dug and rhizomes cut, it's a really good idea to backfill with some nice compost and then throw the soil you excavated back on top.  Doing this on a yearly basis makes digging the rhizomes easier and easier each season. 

Sorry for the blather but it's worked for me for many years.  Hoppy Trails~

Offline el_capitan

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Re: Recommended Hop growing medium
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2014, 08:36:25 PM »
By "amended native soil" I just meant that you can add some compost or composted manure, wood ash, and maybe some sand into your existing soil.  I found that the manure really broke up the clay soil a lot.  I did that in the main garden too.  The photos I posted are from the 3rd year in a newly-created garden patch.

I started my hopyard about 7 years ago and was working with info from freshops.com.  If you click through the tabs on that link you'll find some decent info. 

The main thing is that you want to enrich the soil with some compost or rotted manure and make sure it drains well. 

As for fertilizing, I prefer to stay away from chemical concentrates.  I think compost does the job really well.  However, even with a 3-bin system and 2 worm bins, I always seem to be short on compost.  Maine gardener Eliot Coleman suggests an organic base fertilizer mix that is made from equal parts of greensand, bloodmeal, and soft rock phosphate.  I had to source these from Amazon.  I'm not sure what the NPK ratio works out to be with an even mix of these. 

You'll want to go with more nitrogen at the start to promote green leafy growth.  When the burrs start to form, then you can boost the phosphorus and cut back on nitrogen.  Miracle Grow does sell a product called 'Bloom Booster' which is for just that reason, although I've since shied away from Miracle Grow and other concentrates. 

Also, you should stop fertilizing as the cones mature and give the plants maybe a week or two with plain water.  I've read that late fertilizing can impart bad flavors to hops (and other plants related to hops...)

Keep in mind that I'm still learning a lot about the whole gardening world and I'm no expert.  Have fun with the new project! 

Offline fmader

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Re: Recommended Hop growing medium
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2014, 03:05:57 AM »
Another thing not mentioned that's outside of the realm of soil is sunlight. Hops like the sunlight.
Frank

Offline Jeff M

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Re: Recommended Hop growing medium
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2014, 04:02:49 AM »
Another thing not mentioned that's outside of the realm of soil is sunlight. Hops like the sunlight.

THe beds we built are in direct sun most of the day, after 4-5pm is when they wont be in sunlight i believe.
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Offline fmader

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Re: Recommended Hop growing medium
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2014, 04:52:24 AM »
Another thing not mentioned that's outside of the realm of soil is sunlight. Hops like the sunlight.

THe beds we built are in direct sun most of the day, after 4-5pm is when they wont be in sunlight i believe.

That's good. Morning sun is the best.
Frank

Offline denny

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Re: Recommended Hop growing medium
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2014, 09:50:35 AM »
You people who grow multiple hop plants are crazy IMO.  Growing is easy....picking, processing, and packaging, not so much....
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Offline james

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Re: Recommended Hop growing medium
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2014, 09:57:39 AM »
You people who grow multiple hop plants are crazy IMO.  Growing is easy....picking, processing, and packaging, not so much....

Thats why mine go in the compost or I give the whole plants away.  Picking hops is for suckers, I grow them because they look cool, provide shade, smell great, etc.

Offline el_capitan

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Re: Recommended Hop growing medium
« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2014, 08:47:32 PM »
You people who grow multiple hop plants are crazy IMO.  Growing is easy....picking, processing, and packaging, not so much....

I guess I'm lucky because I have two really good helpers!  I really look forward to the late September evenings, sitting out on the porch picking hops and chatting with the guys. 




Offline ibru

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Re: Recommended Hop growing medium
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2014, 08:26:29 AM »
Cute pictures. I like how you are training them to pick up the aroma. Looks like you have a couple future helpers in your brewing. Great family tradition!

Offline kmccaf

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Re: Recommended Hop growing medium
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2014, 08:35:12 AM »
You people who grow multiple hop plants are crazy IMO.  Growing is easy....picking, processing, and packaging, not so much....

I made it into an event! All friends and family come by and help for a couple of Saturdays. We look forward to it each year. Lots of grilling, beer, and music.

Ain't nothing wrong with leaving some on the bines either, as they sure are pretty to look at.
Kyle M.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Recommended Hop growing medium
« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2014, 10:13:05 AM »
You people who grow multiple hop plants are crazy IMO.  Growing is easy....picking, processing, and packaging, not so much....

Thats why mine go in the compost or I give the whole plants away.  Picking hops is for suckers, I grow them because they look cool, provide shade, smell great, etc.

I pick and dry enough for a batch or two of homegrown APA, and ditch the rest. Its just for fun, work is yuk.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Recommended Hop growing medium
« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2014, 10:15:35 AM »
You people who grow multiple hop plants are crazy IMO.  Growing is easy....picking, processing, and packaging, not so much....

I guess I'm lucky because I have two really good helpers!  I really look forward to the late September evenings, sitting out on the porch picking hops and chatting with the guys. 





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