Hop Planting

Written by Justin on April 18, 2012
Lots of shoots on the Willamette rhizome.

Gardening has been something that we have loved to do ever since Eryn and I moved to our current home. We have a great vegetable garden that we grow during the summer, flowers during the spring and a collection of roses that border our back fence. Since we started brewing we have talked about the possibility of growing hops as well but we were always concerned about space and unsure how we could trellis them. A few weeks ago during a stop at our local homebrew supply we noticed a sign for their hop rhizome sale. On impulse we ordered two rhizomes, one Willamette one Cascade, and just decided we would figure it out when we got them.

A few days ago we got the call that our rhizomes were in and we realized that our opportunity to procrastinate was over, it was time to figure out how we were going to grow these guys. Since we don’t want to plant them in the ground but we wanted enough space for their root structure it we decided to use half wine barrels as our planting vessels (it doesn’t hurt that we live in wine country and they are easy to find).

For trellising we headed down to the hardware store and chatted up one of the guys. We needed something about 10′ tall and eventually he suggested he rip a 10′ 2×4 in half for us. That would work perfect so we had him do it, picked up some galvanized brackets, some eye hooks, and some nylon thread. We then proceeded to check out where the clerk had a hard time understanding that our 2×4 was cut in half long ways and it was actually just one 2×4. After some radio chatter to the lumber yard she gave up, charged us for a single 2×4 and we were set.

Bracketing the hop support posts.

Back home we prepped the long posts with an eye hook at the top, brackets on the bottom and three long strands of thread tied off on the top. We drilled out our drain holes on the barrels, attached the posts to the bottom of the barrel. Next into the barrel was the potting soil, rich and moist ready for the hops to take root in. We then screwed in three eye hooks around the edge of the barrels and tied off the thread. Finally we delicately planted the rhizomes shoots up. We stepped back to admire our two awkward sail looking wine barrel apparatus on the edge of driveway. Until the hops come up they will continue to look weird but once they start climbing those threads it should look great. We can’t wait to see how it goes and we will definitely keep posting as the shoots break the surface and eventually start producing hop cones.

9 comments on “Hop Planting


  1. Jeff McC

    Just be prepared for when, in a few weeks, all your neighbors think you’ve started growing weed: https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/222379_937775673085_21403304_43675340_6878886_n.jpg

    Reply

    1. Justin

      Yeah, we know our neighbors pretty well. I’m more worried about the kids coming by in a few months who are stupid enough to think the hop cones might be weed.

      Reply

      1. Jeff McC

        Time for the dog to earn her keep? 🙂

        Reply

        1. Justin

          Indeed.

          Reply
  2. [...] setups for folks that can't/don't want to plant them in their yard? Here's a link to our ... homebrewtalk.com/f51/wine-barrel-hop-growing-322209/#post4006144

  3. Curve

    Did you know of this history?

    http://healdsburg.patch.com/articles/brewing-beer-in-healdsburg

    Check out the section on Healdsburg being know as the producer of “the big three”
    My grandpa grew hops out on West Side Road in the 50s and 60s.

    More Healdsburg Hop history can be found at Hop Kiln Winery (I would guess)

    I thought you might appreciate the history.

    D.

    Reply

    1. Justin

      Yeah, we have a rich history of growing hops in this area, hence Hopland. So they should take off no problem if anything I’m worried they are going to grow beyond my control. Does your family still grown any hops? I’m looking to do a spotlight on an actual local grower.

      Reply

      1. Jon

        So, how did the hops grow? Any success? I am thinking about trying to grow some myself this year and really like your set-up.

        Reply

        1. Justin

          It went well. We didn’t end up using the hops for brewing at all but we learned a lot. My biggest take away was to make sure it stays well watered. We have since moved so I’m not sure we’ll do it the same way again this year, but we are definitely doing more hops.

          Reply

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