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I've decided to grow hops this next year. I was at a house yesterday looking at a cutout I will be doing today and they had hops growing on their fence. I figured if they will grow there, they will grow in my yard. Anyone in the Midwest grow hops? The back of my garage faces east and I thought I would drop rope/twine down from the roof eave. The peak of the roof is about 22' off the ground. Will hops grow and produce in morning sun only? Otherwise I would have to put poles in the ground out in the yard and create a trellis to get more sun. I contacted a seller (http://www.hirts.com/) about when best to plant and they said I could plant in the fall. Not sure that is best though.
 

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I'm not in the midwest but they grow well here. Some farms set 30' tall posts with wire trellis for them. All of them I've seen face south.

You'll need to make a "Bee Hoppy" sign for them to grow correctly.:)

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From Farm To Pint
 

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I grow hops in SE Iowa. Most varieties grow very well. They do need full sun though. Their bines follow the sun and wrap in a clockwise manner because of it.

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How high are your polls? How much hops does one plant produce? More than enough to use in a 5 gal. batch of beer? Did you start yours from rhizomes?
 

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Hops ought to do fine in IL, some varieties better than others. Tall fences work, but trellises will give you better results, because hops like to climb up. Fences force them to grow more horizontally. Your trellis should be at least 15 feet high, 20 is better.

They are started from rhizomes in the spring, as soon as the soil can be worked. Those are readily available starting in about Feb, from brew shops, local home brewers, or on the internet. Good drainage is very important, so plant them in hills. Seperate plants of same variety 4 or 5 ft apart. Seperate different varieties by about 8'.

How much you get per plant varies by variety, soil and other conditions, but a batch or 2 is not out of the question second year. Don't expect to harvest 1st year. their growth is amazing. My Nugget will climb 2 feet or more in a day during peak growth.


Y'know, I call my hops "My girls', because the flowers you want only come on the female plants. You will desroy any male hops you find in your neighborhood. Fertilized hops are no good for beer. I started hops 6 years ago and bees just this year. I grow Cascade, Nugget, Perle, and an unknown feral or wild variety from Idaho (real nice hop for bittering and aroma). I had an East Kent Golding that never produced due to dry summer heat, so I dug out the root ball.
 

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You will desroy any male hops you find in your neighborhood. Fertilized hops are no good for beer.
How can you tell? I moved to the Pacific Northwest a year ago and have discovered some wild hops growing among my roses and climbing a swing set. If I were a better brewer I may do something with them. As it is, I suppose they may make a nice garnish. ;-)

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The only variety that I have had trouble growing up here is willimette. What I did was screw eye bolts about 20 ft off the ground on a couple of power poles on my farm. Through this I ran a 40ft pc of rope that I attached 4 pc of heavy string. These fan out and are staked next to the plants. Now at harvest time I simply untie the rope and lower all 4 vines to the ground. One problem I have is Japanese beetles.
 

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The only variety that I have had trouble growing up here is willimette. What I did was screw eye bolts about 20 ft off the ground on a couple of power poles on my farm. Through this I ran a 40ft pc of rope that I attached 4 pc of heavy string. These fan out and are staked next to the plants. Now at harvest time I simply untie the rope and lower all 4 vines to the ground. One problem I have is Japanese beetles.
Don't the folks that are responsible for the power poles cut them down?
 

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How can you tell? I moved to the Pacific Northwest a year ago and have discovered some wild hops growing among my roses and climbing a swing set. If I were a better brewer I may do something with them. As it is, I suppose they may make a nice garnish. ;-)

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The male's flowers look like tiny green grape clusters, where the females look similar to bunches of miniature pine cones. Fertilized hops make a nasty, astringent tasting beer. Your pic looks like it has female flowers.
 

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Don't the folks that are responsible for the power poles cut them down?
No The poles are not along the road. My home is a couple hundred yards off the road so these are on my property. I also tried the same thing on my silo but the ground there was to heavy with bad drainage.
 

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My poles are 16 ft 4x4's put 2.5 in the ground with concrete in a post sleeve. They will grow up and over, but that doesn't seem to affect them. I have 4 plants per pole and a system to raise and lower them. You can get 2lbs of dried hops if you fertilize and irrigate well.
 

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Hops is the new up and coming ag crop here in western Michigan. We have 5 farmers in this county that have planted 5 to 20 acres and the number is growing. Most are going organic and used locust and cedar for poles. I have two yards about 1/2 miles from me. I'm waiting to see how the organic yard does with the Jap beetles and if it works I will be putting in 5 acres next year. For those that don't know anything about hops, every 3rd year you dig up your root stock and split it into 2 -3 pc so you never have to buy new rhizomes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
They're getting so expensive it's causing me to look into growing my own.
 

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You can get 2lbs of dried hops if you fertilize and irrigate well.
Does anyone know how long the fresh hops will last once picked? I mean, can they be dried and kept for a long time and still be used in brewing?
 

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I've grown them for a few years for my son to use (I make wine and he makes beer). My support posts are 14' 4x4's bolted to an 8' 4x4 put 3 feet in the ground. So they are 14' high. When the hops get to the top of the support they just go horizontal or hang down, but it doesn't seem to phase them. When they are ripe (right now) I pick them and either give them to him fresh, if that's what he wants, or I dry them in a food dehydrator and then freeze them.

I grow Cascade and Chinook.
 

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Hops can be used fresh (within 24hrs of picking) or they need to be dried otherwise they will mold/rot. A fresh hopped beer is much different than a beer brewed with dried hops. All the beers use dried hops except in the fall you'll find a couple fresh hopped craft beers available. To vegetal for my taste though. I just lay mine on a window screen and put a fan underneath and dry outside. After I vacuum seal and freeze. Will last several months in this way.
 

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My son in law is an avid home brewer & has hops growing he was not too scientific just planted them anywhere there is something tall enough for them, like the side of his shed & they climb trees. He's in Australia the hops seem to grow like weeds but do need watering he's set up a dripper system. I helped him plant he started from rhizomes late winter and they just started growing at amazing speed.

Yes they can be dried you put some in a cloth bag & put in your pillow it helps you sleep.
 

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I Planted in the spring about 7 years ago and they have done well since. They will get established the first year. After you cut them down and dry them you can put them in the freezer. They last a while.


Once that they are established they grow rapidly. The only problem that I have had is little inchworms eat the leaves some years. Cascade grow well here and are a nice middle of the road hop that is good for flavor, bittering, and aroma.


I like using the homegrown hops. Fresh hops that haven't dried can impart a grassy flavor into the beer. You can also make hop tea with the hops. The smell of the hops is delicious. I run my ropes up and then across. It works.

http://www.herbal-treatment-remedies.com/hops-tea.html
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I think that my son said that he just uses dried hops for all of his beers and will use fresh hops right at the end of some of his beers. So he obviously only makes those right about now.
 

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The problem with brewing with home grown hops is the alfa acids can change year to year so with out a expensive lab test you have to experiment on how much to use. I use pellets for bittering and flavor and my hops for aroma and for dry hopping
 
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