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Author Topic: My Homegrown Hops in 2023  (Read 1035 times)

Offline brewthru

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My Homegrown Hops in 2023
« on: June 22, 2023, 07:43:36 pm »
Not doing so well this season. Really didn't do very well in 2022 either.

A few years ago I had enough Columbus Hops to brew the AHA Columbus Pale Ale (it was, unfortunately, gone too quickly).

I'm wondering what is going wrong. Maybe I should STOP dumping spent grain on the hop mound in the winter time?
« Last Edit: June 22, 2023, 07:49:07 pm by brewthru »

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: My Homegrown Hops in 2023
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2023, 12:10:39 am »
Are you getting a lot of vegetative growth but no cones or just not a lot of growth all the way around?

Changes in water during the summer? Pests?

Are you dumping the spent grain warm on the hops?
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Offline BrewBama

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My Homegrown Hops in 2023
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2023, 06:17:54 am »
Are you planting in the same place each year?  Plants use nutrients in the soil so it’ll have to be amended if you use the same spot each year.

Dumping your spent grains over the winter is a source of amendment but microbes would have to break down the material. That takes time and usually happens faster in warmer weather.  Organic fertilizers are not plant available without the natural breakdown. Synthetic fertilizers have plant available nutrients. 

I recommend 6+ hrs direct sunlight, loose soil (not clay), check the soil pH to ensure its slightly acidic (~6.5) and if required adjusting it (lime up, sulfur down), and watering at the base frequently but ensuring it drains well if it doesn’t rain.

Then use a nitrogen rich growth fertilizer while you are trying to grow the plant.  Change to a bloom fertilizer when you see the cones begin to form and are trying to produce them vs vegetation growth.

If you’re already doing all that, you might consider variety or you may have pests or a disease. Some varieties grow better in hot dry climates vs some which grow better in humid climates.

Hops are well known to be susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Treatments are available for most.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2023, 07:09:33 am by BrewBama »

Offline chinaski

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Re: My Homegrown Hops in 2023
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2023, 02:12:16 pm »
Are you planting in the same place each year?  Plants use nutrients in the soil so it’ll have to be amended if you use the same spot each year.

Dumping your spent grains over the winter is a source of amendment but microbes would have to break down the material. That takes time and usually happens faster in warmer weather.  Organic fertilizers are not plant available without the natural breakdown. Synthetic fertilizers have plant available nutrients. 

I recommend 6+ hrs direct sunlight, loose soil (not clay), check the soil pH to ensure its slightly acidic (~6.5) and if required adjusting it (lime up, sulfur down), and watering at the base frequently but ensuring it drains well if it doesn’t rain.

Then use a nitrogen rich growth fertilizer while you are trying to grow the plant.  Change to a bloom fertilizer when you see the cones begin to form and are trying to produce them vs vegetation growth.

If you’re already doing all that, you might consider variety or you may have pests or a disease. Some varieties grow better in hot dry climates vs some which grow better in humid climates.

Hops are well known to be susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Treatments are available for most.
For my hop yard (in service at least 12 years; 12 hills) I do no nutrient or pest management and rarely water (I'm in Vermont which is a good latitude for them).  Yes I've culled some varieties that haven't done well and have settled on 5 or 6 that have reliably produced what I need for years.  I don't use containers either, which likely would need more management.  Hops are very resilient and are very easy to grow in my experiment.


Offline brewthru

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Re: My Homegrown Hops in 2023
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2023, 02:48:10 pm »
"Are you dumping the spent grain warm on the hops?"

I have done in the winter thinking I'm fertilizing the hops. Is this bad?

Offline denny

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Re: My Homegrown Hops in 2023
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2023, 08:55:07 am »
"Are you dumping the spent grain warm on the hops?"

I have done in the winter thinking I'm fertilizing the hops. Is this bad?

Yeah. Compost it first.
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Offline chumley

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Re: My Homegrown Hops in 2023
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2023, 09:07:03 am »
I do nothing to my Cascade hops except start to water them around this time of year when the early summer rains end, and they grow like gangbusters. They are weeds. Ignore them and they will do fine.

Offline denny

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Re: My Homegrown Hops in 2023
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2023, 09:37:05 am »
I do nothing to my Cascade hops except start to water them around this time of year when the early summer rains end, and they grow like gangbusters. They are weeds. Ignore them and they will do fine.

Exactly.  I did the same with mine. Been trying to kill them off for over 10 years and they still won't die.
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Offline pete b

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Re: My Homegrown Hops in 2023
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2023, 05:19:24 am »
Definitely stop dumping spent grain on them. You are doing the opposite of fertilizing because organic material that hasn’t composted first will use up nitrogen in the existing soil in order to compost.
Every spring I just spend a few minutes to prune all but a half dozen of the longest vines, give them a little compost or composted manure and blood meal then more or less let them be. They are near one of our vegetable gardens so I will give them a little fish emulsion solution when I am feeding the veggies a couple times up to the solstice.
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Offline brewthru

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Re: My Homegrown Hops in 2023
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2023, 08:05:21 am »
Anyone with Cascade hops willing to share a few rhizomes?

Offline chinaski

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Re: My Homegrown Hops in 2023
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2023, 01:52:05 pm »
Anyone with Cascade hops willing to share a few rhizomes?
I'd be happy to- next spring.  It's too late for this year to bother- and I don't want to disturb my plans while they are getting ready to flower.  Happy to ship you rhizosomes next April or early May though.

Offline brewthru

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Re: My Homegrown Hops in 2023
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2023, 11:49:44 am »
OK. Thanks for the offer of the Cascade rhizomes.