Growing Hops

I have an allotment and at the suggestion of my dad, I have just ordered and planted two hop rhizomes to take up the space from the raspberry plants we had taken out (too leggy and a bit past their best).

I decided on one Hallertauer and one First Gold / Prima Donna. I really like the German noble hops and the First Gold is a dwarf variety so I thought I would try one of each.

The Hallertauer
 The First Gold

After extensive YouTube and ‘internets’ research (in addition to the instructions in the box) I think I have condensed Hop Growing idiot proof planting advice down to the following:

  1. They are not too fussy about soil conditions, but avoid excessively waterlogged or poorly drained soils.
  2. Plant rhizomes in late winter to early spring – they are dormant then and may put on some root growth in the cooler months before spring to get a good start when the weather warms up. Established plants can be planted in the spring when the soil has warmed up, but don’t leave it too late.
  3. Dig a good foot or so down and work the soil in the bottom of your hole / trench loosely. Add some good general purpose fertiliser to the bottom and a generous helping to the soil you will use to backfill.
  4. I found my rhizomes had very long fleshy roots on them (almost like a tap root – which I assumed them to be). I therefore tried to get as much of this to go downwards whilst coiling it round as I backfilled the soil in. I have no idea if this was right or not, but I aimed to get the  majority of the plant and what looked like last years growth about level with the soil. There are some shoots on the plants which I left just about level with the soil / lightly covered up which have grown a little bit since I planted them.
  5. A week or so later after the soil had settled, I set to making the trellis / support system:

You can see the coir twine fixed to the ground at each end with the galvanised screw type pegs. The idea is that for at least the first year, just two or three bines per twine will be trained up: one east – the other west. Each has an incline of about a foot over the length to train it upwards (hops always want to grow upwards so they do need a gradient to work up).

I think the posts are about 8 feet in height and the distance between is 12 feet giving a total ‘height’ of 20 feet which should be enough (some varieties can grow about 20 feet in height straight up, but I think I may have some bother with the local council putting up a hop support that high!).

I did think of putting two arms at the top of each pole – like a telegraph pole, but I think that I may play around with that next year when I come to review how things have gone.

Bit of a departure from what I have been posting about, but I plan to do a brew or two with the green hops (if I’m lucky enough to get any hop cones).

If you are thinking of growing your own hops, you can’t go wrong with looking at some YouTube videos from Chop and Brew ( ) and BrewingTV  ( ).

If you’re in the UK and are looking to source your hops for planting, try Essentially Hops website which has a good selection and also sells the galvanised screw pegs and the coir twine:

Happy Hop Growing!