First things first, grab your Hop Rhizomes. We’ll be growing Cascade hops as they are a great universal hop for many beers.
Planting your Rhizome
Rhizomes can get out of control once planted. If you ever want to possibly remove/transfer rhizomes you’ll want to plant them in a big 5 gallon or bigger potting container. Get some good fertilizer & potting soil from your local nursery or Home Depot and plant your rhizome horizontally about 1-inch below the surface of the dirt and water until the soil is thoroughly soaked. Keep the dirt wet and water as needed. Best time to plant is March-April time in a location that will get 8-10 hours of full sun.
First Year’s Growth
Your first year growth will be mostly building out the root system and frequent watering will be required to avoid drying out. After the hop bines are a foot long select the healthiest 2 or 3 bines and train them to wrap around your support system which can be a trellis or hop yarn / heavy duty twine. You’ll need at a minimum 10 feet of trellis or twine for first year growth. Following years will require 20+ feet of trellis or twine for supporting the hop bines.
Harvesting Your Fresh Hops
Harvesting usually will happen in August or September before the first frost. Ripe hops will have a dry paper feeling and should have a strong aroma when you crush the cone with your fingers. You should also see a yellow powder that comes from the lupulin glands. For ease of harvesting bring the hop bines to the ground and harvest the hop cones from the bines.
Drying and Storing Hops
Once harvested use a window screen to spread out the hops for drying in a dry place out of direct sunlight. Utilizing a box fan can help speed up the drying process. Once fully dried store in a vacuum sealed bag or remove as much air from the ziploc bag as possible and store in the freezer until brew time!
Brewing with Homegrown Hops
Homegrown hops are best for aroma and flavoring because the alpha acids are unknown for homegrown hops.
Warning: There have been rare cases where pets have had an alergic reaction to eating hops. Please keep your pets away from any hops.