Tips for growing hops
Hops grow very fast when they get going, but that doesn't mean there aren't some important points to keep in mind.
Hops may look like vines but actually they are bines. What's the difference? A bine do not attach themselves to a surface but instead follow the sun and wrap around an object clockwise. This means they need trellis, poll or even tree to climb up. They can also grow very large and at times rapidly, unless it is a dwarf/hedgerow hop like prima donna, so make sure you have a structure which will take it.
You don't need to plant hops too deeply, just deep enough so the crown is beneath the surface and then a small mound of dirt on top. This is best done in spring or summer, you want to avoid a frost as they can harm a hop plant quite a bit. They can be quite demanding for nutrients though, so if your soil isn't rich add some nutrients like chicken pellets just to help out. Make sure they also get a good watering but just don't go crazy and submerge it.
You want to pick your hops around the end of summer. You can tell if they are ready by feeling the cones and smelling them, to check if they have begun to dry. To store you will want to dry them some more and put in a seal or vacuum packed container. They should keep for a while once this is done.
When winter is upon us you want to detach the hop bines from what it was climbing, this won't harm the plant as it wouldn't survive the winter like that anyway. The root of the plant should be fine but you either want to cut the rest off, or fill a pot with soil and place them inside. If you are lucky they will take root.
These ideas should help you get started growing hops. We have just started selling various kinds so check out our store page for plants and special offers.