Bought three different hop rhizomes from St. Louis Wine & Beer to see how each would grow. I picked these up yesterday and put them in the ground today, April 11, 2016. I had prepped the ground by digging three holes and loosening the dirt on the south side of the house. I put in three ground anchors to support the twine. I don’t have the twine on yet but I’ve got to get the top anchors in place before I do that.
From west to east I planted these three hops (in alphabetical order)-
- Brewers Gold
All three rhizomes were thick, fat chunks, not the spindly little twigs that I usually see, especially the Brewer’s Gold, so they look promising.
All three grew well this spring, but the Brewers Gold was by far the strongest. It grew twice as fast as the Goldings and the Fuggles. By early July the Brewers Gold had reached the peak of the roof and was showing hop cones. The two English varieties peaked at about 6 feet in growth and both died back by the end of July. Only the Brewers Gold made cones this first year.
About mid way through the month Charles and I decided to pick the cones we had. We had a few rainy days that delayed us, but we finally got them picked and ran them through the dehydrator. It appears we may have gone a little long on the dehydrator, as the cones seem to brittle. We sealed up 2.5 ounces of hops and put them in the freezer for future use.
The hops have been disappointing. None of the three varieties popped up this spring and I assumed they were all dead. In June the Brewers Gold had a sprout, but stayed too little to climb a string for weeks. It finally started growing, and I strung it up but it is not vigorous. I will let it grow to see if it buds, but I’m not hopeful. It’s mid July and the vine is about 4 feet tall. If they don’t grow next spring I’ll scrap the experiment.