Hops


QUICK REFERENCE PLANTING GUIDE

 

1. Light/Sun Exposure - Full to partial sun.

2. USDA Hardiness Zones – Zones 4 to 9.

3. Planting Distance – Plant at least 4 feet apart in ground. Use a 24 inch or larger container per plant.

4. Mature Height/Spread – Height 15 to 20 feet tall with a 24 inch spread in 24 months.

5. Bloom Time - Summer.

6. Planting Instructions – Hops perform best when they are provided a support to grow on such as a trellis, fence or stake.

Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the pot in which your plant was grown. Partially backfill the hole with soil and place the plant into the hole. The top of the root ball should be level with the ground surrounding the hole. Refill the hole with soil, firming the soil around the plant with your fingers.  Check to be sure that the plant is not planted too deeply.  If it is, raise the plant carefully and refirm the soil.  Water thoroughly.

 

GET THE MOST ENJOYMENT

 

Harvesting: Hops produce cones that are ready for harvest in late summer or early fall. As late summer approaches, test the cones regularly by gently squeezing them. If they feel moist and dense, they are not ready to be harvested. Once the cones have become dry and papery and emit a fragrant, sticky sap when squeezed, they are ready to harvest. Remove the ripe cones from the plants by hand, then dry them as soon as possible to prevent spoilage. Fresh hops can be dried in a food dehydrator, on a window screen, or in a cool dark place over a period of several days. Once they have finished drying, store them in an airtight container in a refrigerator or freezer.

 

Pruning: Hops grow as vigorous vines that need a support such as a trellis, fence or stake to grow on. In spring, select three or four vines to form the main structure of the plant and attach them to the support with plant ties or string. Cut off any vines that emerge from the bottom of the plant to allow it to devote its energy to the main vine and to maintain good shape. Pruning regularly ensures an easier harvest by preventing the plant from becoming tangled within itself. After harvesting the cones in late summer or early fall, cut the plant back to about three feet above the ground.

SOIL PREPARATION

1.  Spade or till the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches.

2.  To provide nutrients and improve drainage, add organic matter to your soil by mixing in a 2 to 4-inch layer of dehydrated manure, garden compost, shredded leaves, and/or peat moss.

CONTINUING CARE

Water – Adequate and consistent watering is essential during your plant's first year in the garden.  Infrequent, long soakings of water that thoroughly saturate the soil are more effective than frequent, light applications of water.

 

Due to variable geographical and environmental conditions, a specific watering schedule is difficult to define. However, as a rule of thumb, you should not allow the soil to completely dry out. During the first summer, you may need to water as often as every day in periods of drought and extreme summer heat. To determine if your plant needs water, dig a few inches into the soil next to the plant. If the soil is dry 2-3 inches below the surface, it is time to water.

 

Overwatering can be as damaging as under watering. Be sure that the area surrounding your plant has adequate drainage to move water away from the plant. If you choose to plant in a container, always select one with drainage holes to prevent your plant's roots from sitting in water.

Mulching - Apply a 2-4 inch layer of shredded bark, compost or other organic mulch around your plants to promote moisture retention, maintain even soil temperatures, and to discourage weed growth.

Weeding - Keep the area around your plants free of weeds. Weeds compete with all plants for food, water and light. Walk around the garden periodically and pull weeds, including the roots, as soon as you see them.

Feeding -   Hops love fertilizer! Begin feeding with a food that is high in nitrogen like our Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster for Fruits and Vegetables. After the first signs of hop cones form, use one that is rich in phosphorus and potassium like our Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Plants in containers need more frequent watering and feeding, especially when in active growth and bloom.

Winterizing – The time to protect your plants in the garden is after the ground has frozen. At that time, apply a winter mulch of evergreen boughs, straws or leaves to prevent lifting of the plant's roots during alternating periods of freezing and thawing.

For container planting, in very cold areas, bring your plants into an unheated, protected area such as a garage or cellar before temperatures drop below freezing. Check soil moisture every 2-3 weeks and water as needed during the winter.

In spring, remove the mulch from in-ground plantings.  Also, bring containerized plants back out into the garden sunlight where they will immediately begin to repeat their yearly garden performance.  

 

CAUTION: Not all plant material is edible. Though most plants are harmless, some contain toxic substances which can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other discomforts. As a general rule, only known food products should be eaten. In case of ingestion, please contact your local poison control center at once and advise them of the plant ingested. Keep out of reach of children.