Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hopefully Hop Rhizome Planting

With the first legitimately warm weekend of the year came the urgency to dig in the dirt. And I had good cause as just this week my hope rhizomes arrived by mail! This is my second year growing hops, having failed at it last year. But I have reason to believe that this year will be better due both to the condition of the hops I received as well as the quality of my garden skills.

The varieties I chose are Mt. Hood, Fuggle and Chinook. Interested gardeners can order them online from various reputable retailers, and I got mine from You can plant from seeds, though everything I've read suggests the way to go is to start from rhizomes, which are cuttings from the root of the plant.

I was very impressed with the quality of the hops I received! These byoot
s were moist in the plastic bag they came in and (!) already had shoots and pretty pink buds. I seem to recall that the hop rhizomes I received last year were not so fresh. Or it could be that I let them dry out before planting. them. I have been known to cripple myself with indecision!

But onward and upward! This is a new day...

To the right is the close-up of the Mt. Hood hop rhizome. It looks fairly gnarly, like a creation from a Guillermo Del Toro movie. Here's hoping that what comes of soaking this bad boy in water is not this, but some lovely decorative and (someday) useful vines.

I am starting the hops in plants in containers though eventually they will probably be
planted in the ground.
The planting medium is 1/3 each compost, soil, and peat moss. Peat moss is controversial because of how it is extracted from bogs, which are a finite resource. However I didn't know this when I bought the stuff way back a couple years ago, so I'm going to continue to use it. So there!

There was some disagreement about the proper way to orient the hops in the ground / container. Some say vertical, others horizontal. I kind of split the difference and planted them lopsided which probably is the worst of all worlds. HOWEVER I checked today: and there are buds popping out. Not new buds, but the buds have grown an eensy bit. And I'll take it.

Hops need full sun and plenty of water, both of which I should be able to provide. Them's the basics, right?

In other planting news I managed to get some arugula and bok choy planted (direct) as well as some tomatoes started in containers. The tomato varieties are quite spectacularly named: Arkansas Traveller, Oregon Spring Bush and, for the grand finale, Bloody Butcher. Oh my, do I have high expectations for those Bloody Butchers!


  1. Michelle, in a past life I was a homebrewer and beer fanatic. I never tried to grow hops but did a good amount of reading about it. One of the problems I seem to remember is the hop vines are very sensitive to light cycles and the street lights interfere with that. Let me know how it goes. Eric Connor Forest Park

  2. Hey Eric, I did not know this! I'll keep an eye out, but for now they are in containers in an area of yard that is sunny and away from street lights. However I intended for them to go on a not-yet built pergola which would be close to street lights so I'll keep your advice in mind.

    Have you given up home brewing?

  3. Whatever happened to the rhizome plantings? Were they successful?