So you have decided that it would be exciting to grow your own hops at home. Growing hops can be a very fun and rewarding project as long as you have the time, space, and desire to lay out the effort required. You cannot grow hops at home to replace those you are currently buying from your home brew store. Why? The alpha acid levels of those you grow at home will basically be unknown. Hops grown as an amateur at home can be utilized for aroma and late hopping. Fresh Hops! It really does not get better in my opinion. Here is a simple guide to planting hops at home.
Before you begin the hop mission you need to consider a few things…
1. Do I have room to grow hops? They are not like growing a tomato plant. Hops require room to grow.
2. What kind of beers do I like to brew the most? This is the driving factor as to what you should attempt to grow.
3. How many hop varieties can I handle? No reason to go overboard.
1. Make sure you pick a nice looking brood of rhizomes. Look for a mid to high level of buds sprouting. You do not want something with no bud sprouts.
2. Dig a hole about 8 inches deep and fill with nice soil. I mixed in some spent grain with each hole just for good hop luck. Put enough soil in the hole to create a nice mound about 6 inches above ground level.
3. Use your hand and make a divot in the mound about 4 inches deep.
4. Make sure you face the buds up or the side of the rhizome with the most buds.
5. Lightly stomp the mound to compact the soil. There is no need to level the mound with your Hulk strength.
6. Drive a growing pole into the ground. I used a 10 foot pole to make sure I allowed enough vertical growth.
Now wait until you see about 1-2 feet of vine coming out and help start it on the growing pole. Eventually, you will want to create horizontal growing lines. These are just pictures of what I did. You can find an awesome instructional PDF here, which I really recommend reading.