Home Grown Hop Plant

By scot in Home Brewing on Thursday, July 29th, 2010

I thought growing my hop plant would be this wild and exciting adventure that I could fill up my blog with, at least, weekly updates. My world came crashing down on my quickly.

My first year Centennial hop plant was slow to get started. First year hop plants are busy growing roots and getting established, so being patient is the name of the game. Still, it is my first plant; I wanted to grow and be bountiful, all in a week. 🙂

The first few months saw nothing fantastic happening. I read forums to make sure my little hop plant had a chance, asked advice of others, and did my diligence to help the plant along as much as possible. In spite of that, the beginning of June didn’t leave me with a 20 foot bine on the side of the house. I had a two foot bine that was still growing slowly.

By the time July came around, some message boards were full of guys already harvesting from their 2nd, 3rd, etc year hop plants. Mine: a measly 4 foot tall on it’s tip toes.

Early July saw the family make a trip to the Minneapolis area. We were only gone a few days but I asked the neighbor to water the hop plant while we were gone. It was in the 90s and humid each day so I didn’t want the plant to suffer. Oh, it did suffer! I have no idea what happened but the main bine, that was about five feet tall, had been broken at the bottom and withering, badly. At least the next bine was only 1.5 feet behind.

The next day I decided to clean away the quickly drying out hop plant material. In my haste, I broke my tip off the longest bine!!!! Yeah, shitsville. In the back of my head any chance of getting my one wet hopped beer out of this plant were going down the toilet.

At that point, I just left it. The next bine was about six inches shorter, so it wasn’t far behind. July turned out to be a good month as up until this week, it had been growing a good two feed each week. For those lacking math skills that is a little better than three inches of growth per day.

This week the growth has slowed as the flowers have come out in force. The total height is in the eight foot range. I guess you could say it is a dwarf. But, I still may get enough hops out of this sucker to have a wet hop IPA come this early fall. Fingers crossed.

What have I learned? Don’t let your neighbor watch your hop plants, be patient, and wait for the second year for the hop plant to really go nuts. Enjoy!

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