Growing your own hops
Back in the spring, I (Davin) decided to have a go at growing my own hops.
I had previously tried growing hops from seed, but they didn't germinate. I eventually found a site online that would send me a rhizome for various different hops.
I opted for cascade and within a few days it had arrived. It really didn't look much, just a few roots wrapped in moss, but once all the risk of frost had gone, it went in the ground.
It took a few weeks to do anything, but then a pink shoot appeared. Then it sat there for a bit longer, eventually in some warm weather it sprang to life and started growing fast.
Unfortunately, in my garden I don't have a 20 foot tall pole, or I would have trained it up that, but instead I strung some horizontal wires between 2 fence posts and trained the hop along these.
It seemed to like it and away it grew, regularly training it to keep going along the wires instead of trying to go vertical.
I was expecting it to smell, but nothing. Unless i'm nose blind from being around hop forward beers in the shop, but no, there is no aroma from the hop at all. Not even if I rub the leaves. Interesting - well it was to me :)
Suddenly, the hop stopped growing and instead starting producing flower like heads. But these we unlike any buds I have seen before. They looked like male stamen for spore production. I thought "bugger! I've been sold a duff here." But I thought I would let it grow and see what happens.
I've left it growing and these little flowers are now turning into what looks like mini hops.
Now to investigate what to do with the hops, what is the optimum size for picking? When is the best time to harvest? How to dry them? How to store them?
I already know how I'm going to use them! That's if they have the characteristics I'm hoping for.
I'll update you on how they turn out soon..
Till then... Hoppy Growing!
- Davin Kenwood