One of the great parts of being in a beer club is the exposure to a variety of talented people. One of those people in our club is Ron Dunham(a botanist) who’s been growing hops with great success in his home garden. I recently threw him under the bus on Facebook to supply advice on growing hops to the rest of us. He’d once given me this same advice in person but I was 3-4 beers deep and it didn’t stick.
Here’s What Ron Advises:
Thank you Wayne. OK here is what have learned in my garden over the last 3 years. We didn’t focus on hops when I was in school. I have planted several varieties. Cascade has done best for me. Hops must grow vertically. You will only have moderate success growing on a fence or horizontally. That’s sideways for you Taylor. LOL I plan to go up about 12 feet this year. East sun in best west sun will burn your hops in later in the summer. South sun is good too, but protect from west sun. First year fertilize well. 13-13-13 2 or 3 times. Water if it gets dry. Second year, back off to 8-8-8 every other month starting March1 and with super phosphate at recommended vegetable rates. Always mulch well. I use decomposed beer grains. Third year start trimming back shoots as they come up. You want to leave at 10 to 12. This will allow maximum energy for flower production. Then trim back about every third or fourth side shoot up to about 6 feet. Fertilize 8-8-8 March 1 and then lightly every month. On March 1, May 1, July1, Aug 1 add super phosphate (or Super Bloom) at recommended rate for vegetables. Result is that you will have a butt load of hops to fresh IPA. Good luck. I will be glad to discuss this further with anyone. By the way, plant you garden this year on Good Friday. Your heard it from a botanist.