Growing Hops in America

Overview

Early settlers first brought hops to America in order to grow the plants to insure that each community could produce beer for the residents. Today, hops are still grown both in backyard gardens and commercially for the same purpose: making beer. Provided you have the space and can erect a tall trellis, growing hops is no more difficult than growing most garden plants.

Step 1

Choose a location in your garden that receives full sun and has well-drained soil. Hops require a soil pH of around 6.0, so have your soil tested by your county extension agent to determine if nutrients need to be added to the soil for hops production.

Step 2

Erect a tall trellis approximately one foot from where you plan to plant the hop rhizomes. Hops can grow 20 feet tall in the first year. The trellis can be made of woven wire, wood or any combination of materials that the hops can be trained to grow upwards on.

Step 3

Create hills spaced two to three feet apart in a row in front of the installed trellis system.

Step 4

Plant the hop rhizomes, no more than two per hill, once all danger of frost has passed in your area.

Step 5

Allow the vines to reach approximately two feet long. Begin training the vines to the trellis by weaving or wrapping the vines onto the trellis. As the plant continues to grow, you may need to do this weekly until the plant grows on the trellis naturally.

Step 6

Cut the vines three feet above the ground to harvest the hops when the cones are mature. The cones will feel light and dry and will spring back to normal when slightly squeezed.

Step 7

Bury the remaining vines under the ground to help propagate more plants the next year.

Things You'll Need

  • Tall trellis (or other means of support)
  • Hop rhizomes

References

  • Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension: Growing Hops in the Backyard
  • North Carolina State University: What Should I Grow (halfway down the page to the hops section)

Who Can Help

  • Hop Growers of America Resource Site
Keywords: growing hops, planting hops, hops in America

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.