Author Topic: Container hop growing  (Read 4503 times)

Offline Rattlesnake44

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Container hop growing
« on: April 06, 2015, 01:38:40 AM »
So I wanted to venture into growing my own hops. I have several raised garden beds that I do veggies in but no real space for hops. I decided to try putting them in containers along the south facing wall of the garage which is one border of my garden. I put one rhizome in each pot, two pots to a trellis. The trellis are 8', I'm going to also extend some rope to the garage over hang which should be add another foot or so. Here's what I have so far
Haven't secured the trellis to the roof yet, that's tomorrow's project. After a 10 hour shift at work and another two hours in the garden weeding and potting I needed a beer.
And tips and advice from container growers? Not looking to compete with a professional growth, just want enough to maybe bitter or dry hop a beer so I can say I used my own hops.
Thanks all!
EDIT- I have, left to right in the pic, Centennial, Chinook, and Cascade. One rhizome per pot, two pots of the same variety hop per trellis.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2015, 01:41:02 AM by Rattlesnake44 »

Offline sparkleberry

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Re: Container hop growing
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2015, 02:25:38 AM »
I have Cascade, Chinook and Brewer's Gold growing in "half whiskey barrels". This is the second year of all three. I live in Southern California and still water them almost everyday. They grow on my deck in the home depot half whiskey barrels. They are doing just fine. The Cascade are growing out of control, so far.

Yes, my growing vessels may be a little bigger; however, if you give them sun and water and sometimes a little fertilizer, they will grow. Just let them do so. All three of my plants grew to at least 12' last year. June was crazy.

All varieties grow differently. Cascade grows great in LA and Brewers Gold grows very slowly.

Don't worry about a certain yield. You will get what you can grow.

« Last Edit: April 06, 2015, 02:37:29 AM by sparkleberry »
cheers.

rpl
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Container hop growing
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2015, 12:22:20 PM »
My biggest advice, and I know it'll be tough since you're in California, but make sure they're adequately watered!

I've got four planters, two willamette and two cascade. Last year each ones grew based on how much sunlight they got, so this year I'm rearranging things so they should all get plenty of sun.

Only one of my plants produced cones last year, I blame them being in the shade/not always watered enough. The two larger plants did a great job of drinking up a gallon or two of water a day, while the two rhizomes that weren't as large seemed to do better with less water added more frequently. It's kinda hard to judge how much water is enough, since you don't want to over water either. With containers I really think water is the most important thing to watch out for.

This year all have sprouted, and I'll be cutting back the two healthier plants this week.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Container hop growing
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2015, 03:34:47 PM »
I found the hops need a lot more water and fertilizer/mulch than I expected. I underestimated their growth both above and below the ground. Hops are voracious growers and once they have a few bines in the air they may deplete resources from the container soil faster than you can keep it stocked. It looks like you are a better gardener than me so I'm sure you are better prepared to anticipate the needs of your hops.

I started out growing my hops in five gallon grow bags sunk into a raised bed that I filled with soil and mulch. I thought that would give me the contained horizontal spread of containers but without leaving the containers exposed to the summer heat. The hops did grow but they grew deep tap roots and easily broke through the bags and sprawled anyway. Not as severely as they could have but I was still chasing down roots when I pulled them up this winter. I built dividers into the raised bed and replanted them in soil so they have more horizontal room and unlimited vertical room. I don't expect the roots to drill through 2" wood planks to mix horizontally but time will tell whether they grow under and back over the dividers. I can already tell that even after being pulled and replanted in the winter the crowns are much happier with their current homes.
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Offline Rattlesnake44

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Re: Container hop growing
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2015, 06:11:26 PM »
I've always had good luck with tomatoes in containers, so I'm no stranger to the water/fertilizer regimen. I'm just worried the hops won't develop a strong enough root ball to produce a decent amount of actual hop flowers. Oh well, I guess I'll know in a short 100-120 days . Even a small amount that I can dry hop with will make me feel like it's worth it.

Offline denny

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Re: Container hop growing
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2015, 06:48:52 PM »
Unless you use a REALLY big container, the hop growth will be limited.  And I wouldn't recommend leaving them in containers for more than a year or 2.
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Container hop growing
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2015, 12:19:54 AM »
So after a couple years, what the best thing to do? Dig them out, cut the rhizomes back and replant a small rhizome?

The planters I've got are pretty large, each one took an entire 64-quart bag of potting soil, with room to spare. My wife and I are stuck in a condo for at least a few more years, hoping that the planters can work for a while yet.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

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Re: Container hop growing
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2015, 04:21:57 AM »
Denny is right.  You would not believe how big a crown can grow in just one season when the hill receives enough nutrients, water, and sunlight.  The only thing that I have seen grow as vigorously is Canada Thistle.

Offline b-hoppy

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Re: Container hop growing
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2015, 05:40:25 AM »
So after a couple years, what the best thing to do? Dig them out, cut the rhizomes back and replant a small rhizome?


Pretty much if they're grown in the earth, after about 3 years it's time to start doing some serious pruning.  Certain varieties are much more vigorous than others, but it's always a good idea to dig a trench around them in the third year.  You can trim back any rhizomes that are making their way away from the crown and you can keep them in check. 

Containers are a different story.  I've started a few rhizomes in 5 gal buckets and the roots pretty much destroyed the drain holes after their first growing season (as I found out when I went to move them).  In a bigger container like a half whiskey bbl, I'd say dig the whole crown out at the beginning of the third year and trim it back hard.  You'll know how much to trim once you get it out of the soil and see what you're dealing with.  For the most part, they don't care and will continue to grow no matter how much you abuse them.

Offline JT

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Re: Container hop growing
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2015, 09:01:59 AM »
If you listen to podcasts, Basic Brewing has segments available for download. 

April 24, 2008 - Homegrown Hops Revisited
Chris Colby, editor of Brew Your Own magazine, answers questions from listeners about growing hops in containers and other home growing issues.
http://www.basicbrewing.com/index.php?page=basic-brewing-radio-2008


February 5, 2009 - Container Hops Revisited
Don't have space to plant hops? Don't be too sure. Chris Colby, editor of Brew Your Own magazine brings us up to date on his efforts to grow hops in containers.
http://www.basicbrewing.com/index.php?page=basic-brewing-radio-2009
« Last Edit: April 07, 2015, 09:14:12 AM by JT »

Offline goobersan

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Re: Container hop growing
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2015, 02:45:08 AM »
get a battery powered irrigation timer from a hardware store. Easiest way to keep them well hydrated.
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Offline EHall

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Re: Container hop growing
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2015, 03:48:51 PM »
you need to mulch them big time to retain the moisture so you won't be out there every day watering...
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Offline Rattlesnake44

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Re: Container hop growing
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2015, 08:45:57 PM »

you need to mulch them big time to retain the moisture so you won't be out there every day watering...
Thanks, but I have soaker hose and a timer on the faucet. So no biggie.

Offline Rattlesnake44

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Re: Container hop growing
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2015, 03:19:03 PM »
Been a few weeks, and here's what all but one of my hops are looking like;
I have one container that hasn't sprouted at all, I'm thinking it might be a bad rhizome. Going to give it another week and if it still hasn't sprouted I'll pull it and plant a new one I guess.

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Re: Container hop growing
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2015, 01:57:18 PM »
I always planted at least two rhizomes per hill when I used rhizomes.