Mt Hood Hops
Hops is an extremely vigorous and fast-growing hardy perennial vine with attractive leaves. The plants are self-climbing, and can grow 20 feet in a single season. Hops has separate male and female plants (dioecious), and the varieties most commonly grown are females grown for their fragrant, cone like flower bracts that are used to flavor beer.
Pollination is not needed for cone production. Vines can live for 25 to 50 years or more and are hardy in zones 5 to 8.
Hops varieties are classified by the nature of their cones. Aroma types are highly aromatic and are generally used for conditioning and finishing beers. Bittering hops are high in alpha acid and are used during boiling to introduce bitterness to beer. Dual purpose hops have characteristics of both classes.
How to Plant
Plant bare root Hops in spring up to 4 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Keep bare root plants in a cool place out of direct sunlight until planted. Prepare a planting hole 12 inches deep and wide and mix in compost or other organic matter. Plant with the roots slightly deeper than when grown in the nursery.
Because of its vigorous vines, hops is best grown on a fence, trellis, arbor, or other structure and it is excellent for screening. The vines die back to the ground each year.
For full sun in moist, well-drained soil. Requires regular irrigation, but does not tolerate wet soils, and mulching is beneficial. Avoid wetting the leaves when watering to reduce the possibility of disease, and water early in the day to ensure leaves dry before night. Prefers soils that are mildly acidic, with a pH of 6.0 to 6.2. Requires a structure to support vines, which can grow up to a foot a day.
After harvest, cones should be dried until the inner stems are brittle and the cones are somewhat soft but spring back when squeezed. They can be dried in a food dehydrator or oven at 140° F or air dried on a screen in a shady area. Store dried cones in a sealed container in a cool, dry spot or in a freezer.
Hops is a moderate to heavy feeder that benefits from regular fertilization. Use full rates of Gromax Fertilizer Tablets 20-10-5, ALGOplus All Purpose 6-6-6, or Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1.
Easy-to-grow and usually not prone to pests or problems. Planting disease-resistant varieties helps to minimize disease problems. Aphids, Japanese beetles, leaf hoppers, mites, downy mildew, powdery mildew, and verticillium wilt sometimes affect plants. Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew is effective for controlling insect pests.
Other perennial ornamental vining plants include clematis and honeysuckle.
Natural Jute Twine can be used to support Hops vines.
Hops were introduced to North America from Europe in the early 1600s. Young hops shoots are edible as a steamed or boiled vegetable.
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