Eureka, time for another post about a cool project. Today, growing your own hops in the garden.
As I am a very interested in gardening as well (like carnivorous plants and such), I purchased a Northern Brewer and a Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hop plant from Germany. After they arrived, I planted them into big buckets and installed a kind of climbing aid for the plants. I used normal strings for that. The hop harvest 2011 begun.
After some watering and caring, the plants begun to grow.
The Northern Brewer plant grew very rapidly and I could collect nearly 200 g of hops in the Fall. Unfortunately I picked them too late and they already turned yellow and had a very musty smell after drying. But I vacuum-packed them anyway and are still in my refrigerator for a brew or an experiment. I really did not expect to have so many hops as it was the first year and the summer was very dry at my place. So I had to do a lot of watering…
The Hallertauer plant was a bit a troublemaker. After several weeks, I could observe a few lice and I used a soap-water-mixture to get rid of them. But they did not seem to care about that. So I added some alcohol to the mixture and sprayed the plant every second day until I finally got rid of the lice. The plant lost all its leaves in the region of the lice attack but continued to grow after all. Thats why there are now leaves at the lower part of the right plant in the picture on the right. And I could not harvest any hops as well…
In addition to the two plants, I purchased a Cascade rhizome and planted it right after I got it. But I could not see any growth after all. The rhizome is still in the soil and will try to get it to grow this year. I have to mention that I purchased the rhizome late in the season… But the hop season 2012 is near to begin and I’ll buy myself another Cascade plant for sure. Maybe some other cool variety like Centennial or East Kent Golding?
I hop(e) that I can brew my first harvest ale in 2012 with freshly harvested hops. That would be awesome.
I have a Nugget plant and a Cascade plant growing at my house. The Cascade is 2 years old, and doesn’t seem very happy, it hasn’t grown well or produced much. My Nugget plant is doing very well though. It’s pretty fun to put together your very own Hop Harvest Ale.
My Hallertauer and Northern Brewer plants grow like crazy this year. Cascade and the East Kent Golding plants (both first year) are doing fine for their first year. My harvest ale seems to have a lot of Hallertauer character this year 😉