Brewing beer not only provides fantastic traditional beer, but also a lot of satisfaction. It is a hobby that gets out of hand too easily and takes you completely into your own hands. Why not also grow your own hop plants and thereby brew your beer? All you need is a garden or a balcony and a hop spot!
- Hops: a fundamental ingredient in your beer
- How do you get a meters high hop plant?
- 7 tips for growing hops
Hops: a fundamental ingredient in your beer
Together with malt, water and yeast, hops form the basis of beer. Now that home brewing is becoming increasingly popular, you will also increasingly find hop plants in garden centers or via the internet. There are specialized websites such as Eickelmann in Germany where you can find hops in all types of flavors. This is perhaps the most difficult of all, because once a cutting or plant is in your hands, everything goes more or less naturally. A hop plant is perennial but the tendrils are annual. The goal is to harvest, dry and freeze the flowers so that they are as fresh as possible when you start brewing.
Give your new plant a name and put Hoppy in a sunny spot – even a window frame is perfect – and water it every 2 or 3 days. The soil must be moist, but do not leave the plant in soaked soil. Then you have a chance that the roots will rot. Your new roommate needs nothing more than that.
“The best tip is to give your hop enough water and love”
At the beginning of April it should be warmer and softer outside. This is the moment when your plant needs more space. Choose a pot of at least 40 cm height or dig a square hole in your garden of 30 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm: depth x width x length. Fill the pot or hole with a mixture of potting compost and compost, with your Hoppy in it of course. Sit quietly and wait until it grows and grows and GROWS !!!
How do you get a meters high hop plant?
Again, the most important thing is enough water (and love). If your plant is around 20 cm high, it needs support – just like a child, going in all directions without a firm hand – so look for a long, flexible stick, branch or bamboo shoot. The plant itself winds itself around it, it is not even necessary to bind your plant. An adult hop plant can develop multiple shoots of up to 10 meters. You can prune these during the summer season or wrap them around the plant itself. Hop plants are tough climbing plants so no worries about that.
If your hop plant grows in the garden, you can try to grow the plant against a fence or around a shelter. The longer you tend to tend, the more flowers you get. It looks great in your garden anyway and it provides the basis for your beer. Our tips at a glance:
7 tips for growing hops
1. Water your plant. When the soil is dry on top, give Hoppy a big splash. He rewards you with growth!
2. Remove the weeds. As soon as spring comes, carefully weed around the plant so that the growth of your plant is not impeded.
3. Provide support. Multiple shoots shoot up, so choose 4 or 5 shoots that look the strongest and choose a long branch that they can wrap around. Prune the other branches back with, for example, a kitchen scissors. That way you get the biggest harvest. You can let the plant grow two to three meters in height and then provide horizontal support. For example, they can provide shade at a terrace (just like the tendrils of a grape). It is a decorative plant that gives your garden extra charm.
4. Give your hop plant a good dose of (artificial) fertilizer or extra compost in May. This can also be, for example, dried cow manure. The nutrients that the hop plant needs apart from water and oxygen are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. On fertilizer bags, this is often referred to as N.P.K. Organic fertilizer is available from N.P.K. A handful of this with your plant is enough. Do this again 6 weeks later. Liquid manure works even better because it goes straight to the roots.
5. Pruning the leaves. If your plant is 2 or 3 meters high, remove the bottom of the leaves from (the first 50 cm). This way you reduce the risk of mildew or other plant diseases.
6. Hharvesting. Traditionally, the first two weeks of September are harvested, in the last weeks of beautiful dry summer weather. Your first harvest may be a bit small, but that will improve the following year. Incidentally, you can also start earlier and harvest the flowers individually when they are good and do not collect everything at once. As soon as the flower (or bell) starts to open, you can harvest. The experienced hop gardener can also smell whether the flower is ready for harvesting.
7. Drying and objections. They dry faster if you leave the flowers on a piece of stem. A small fan can speed up the process (but don’t let it all blow away!). It is important that there is enough fresh air during drying.
If the flowers crackle and feel dry, cut them from the stem with scissors, wrap them tightly in zip-lock bags and squeeze out all the air. Open the zipper a few centimeters and sit carefully on the bag to squeeze out all the air and close the zipper. Keep the bags in the freezer until you start brewing with your own personal hop!