Hops (Humulus lupulus) are perennial vines that grow from underground rhizomes. The male and female plants are separate and the cones produced by the female plants are referred to as hops. Beer producers use this fruit in the production of beer for its color, taste and aroma. The hops vine thrives best in certain U.S. Department of Agricultural Plant Hardiness Zones.
Hops vines grow optimally in USDA Zones 5 to 9. The commercial production of hops is concentrated in the western United States, namely Washington, Idaho and Oregon, as dry weather reduces humidity related diseases such as powdery mildew.
Plant hops in moist, well-drained soil with a preferred soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Select an area of full sun that is somewhat protected from high winds, as the twinning vines achieve mature heights of up to 25 feet and need support from trellises. Hops have a water requirement of about 1 ½ inches per week.
Start your hops with seed or rhizomes planted in early spring after the last frost. Or, start the seed indoors six weeks prior to the last frost date in soil temperature of about 70 degree Fahrenheit. If you are using rhizomes, keep rhizomes cool and dry until ready to plant. Space plants 2 to 3 feet apart.
Pour the can of beer, ammonia and cola into the hose-end sprayer. Mix together.
Add liquid dish soap and liquid lawn fertilizer to the hose-end sprayer.
Mix all of the ingredients together, and attach the hose-end sprayer to your garden hose.
Spray over the area of your lawn that you want to fertilize. The homemade fertilizer is enough to mix with 50 gallons of water.
Mark your calendar to repeat these steps every three weeks during the spring and summer seasons.
Research hop flavors to determine what type of hop plant you want to buy. Hops provide the flavor for beer, and different styles of beer—like pilsner, lager and Hefeweizen—get their taste from different types of hops. Choose a hop that's used in your favorite beer by reading a brewing book that lists common types.
Locate homebrew stores in your region via the telephone directory. Contact stores to see if they plan to sell hops. Some stores require you to pre-order plants, while others sell them directly. Ask your local store what its policy is, then order your hop plants through the store if possible. It will notify you when the plants are in and you can pick up your hop plants and begin growing.
Check the availability and pricing of hops at online retailers using the list at Growing Hops Yourself (see Resources). If your local homebrew store isn't ordering the hops plant you want, try this method instead of purchasing them from the store.
Order the hops plants from an online retailer that provides a good price or the selection you want. Then wait to receive the hops plants, which are shipped as rhizomes. Plant your hops when they arrive.
Choose the hops variety you would like to grow hydroponically. These varieties are available at brew supply stores or online (though some restrictions apply regarding live plants -- refer to the state laws regarding this issue). Purchase the hops in rhizome form, which is the root stocks, according to Wise Geek.
Buy a 45-gallon container with a lid. Cut two holes in the lid, side by side. The holes should be closer to the ends of the lid rather than the middle.
Set a submersible pump in the bottom of the container and set a metal rack on top of it. Make sure that the rack itself is above the bottom. The hop rhizomes will rest on this and stay above the level of the water.
Place two mesh buckets on the wire rack and line them up so they will be beneath the holes you cut in the container's lid. Place a hop rhizome in each bucket.
Pour water into the container until the level reaches the bottom of the rack and covers the submersible pump. Add root hormones and other nutrients to the water.
Hang a grow light over the container. Often grow lights come with chains that allow you to adjust the height of the light as the hops grow.