Hop shortages seems to be some incentive for hop growing

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Recently there has been a pretty good rush to join my 'Grow-Hops' group
-- 34 new members in the past week to bring the total to 442 members --
with _many_ of them expressing interest primarily due to the impending
hop shortages and price increases; that is based on comments submitted
to me at the time of their membership application.

Anyway, given the circumstances, I thought I would post this message to
let folks know what we are doing -- that we are available to offer help
to anyone who wants to start into this extra dimension of homebrewing --
that our group is a valuable resource of LOTS of info on the subject,
pretty much _specializing_ in hop-gardening with a tad bit of info about
growing herbs as alternatives/supplements to hops -- and that it's
probably not too late in most areas to begin important preparations NOW
for planting in the spring.  Although it is not absolutely essential to
do things now, it will be a big help; if you're way up north and your
ground is already frozen, you'll just need to prepare your bed in the
spring.  Also, some of our members are organizing a rhizome exchange
(the rhizomes are what you plant instead of seeds), and I also have a
database set up on our webpage to facilitate exchanges of rhizomes.  And
our Links section will lead you to a _vast_ selection of all sorts of
information on the subject, plus we have lots of photos to give you
ideas on support structures such as trellises and arbors.  Without a
doubt, 'Grow-Hops' is now the best Internet resource on the subject.

Having finally grown some hops myself, I can tell you that it was _not_
difficult (and I live in the south) and I found it rather enjoyable and
'cool' to do.  I'm very glad I started.  My first-year harvest was only
42 dried ounces, but the quantity increases as the plants get older; in
another thread here in rec.crafts.brewing Denny Conn said that gets from
3 to 4 pounds from one plant -- http://tinyurl.com/2q7rlz -- but I'll be
more than happy if I can get just a pound from each plant, which is very
likely next year.

Cheers.

Bill Velek - PERSONAL sites = www.velek.com & www.2plus2is4.com
770+ homebrewer group just for Equipment: www.tinyurl.com/axuol
440+ just for Growing Hops/Herbs/Grains: www.tinyurl.com/3au2uv
NEW group just for Homebrewing Supplies: www.tinyurl.com/2wnang
Join 'Homebrewers' to Help Cure Disease: www.tinyurl.com/yjlnyv

Re: Hop shortages seems to be some incentive for hop growing


Bill Velek wrote:

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Duhhh, I can't believe I forgot to give the link except in my sig block:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Grow-Hops
Sorry.

Bill Velek

Re: Hop shortages seems to be some incentive for hop growing


You make me cry. I have THREE plants and what did I get this year?
Maybe an ounce. My growing location, although the best choice given my
options, is pathetic. I can't get enough overhead to allow the bines
to grow up into the light.

Luckily I planted in large plastic pots which could in theory be
moved, but I have nowhere to move them to. This coming year I think
I'll put up some PVC pipe to about 30 feet and run stringers from
that. Hopefully the bines will be able to climb high enough. But how
the hell will I get them down for harvest? *Grumble*

Hearing about multi-pound harvests from single plants... I'm sad.

Scott

Re: Hop shortages seems to be some incentive for hop growing


Scott L wrote:

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Many growers devise a system for lowering the bines -- maybe a pulley or
  just toss the line over the top of the PVC pipe so that it is only
looped over it and not firmly attached -- just anchored at each end by a
stake in the ground.  Then you cut the line at one end and pull from the
other end to drag your bines down.  Caution: you need to be sure that
your PVC is stout enough to handle not only the weight of the bines but
also the added stress that you'll be adding when trying to yank the
bines down since it is likely that many will twine around the top, etc.

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Well, I can't really hope to match Denny since he is living in a real
hop growing region, and I'm right on the fringe, but my crop this year
was very encouraging.  Hope you find a solution.

Cheers.

Bill Velek - PERSONAL sites = www.velek.com & www.2plus2is4.com
770+ homebrewer group just for Equipment: www.tinyurl.com/axuol
450+ just for Growing Hops/Herbs/Grains: www.tinyurl.com/3au2uv
NEW group just for Homebrewing Supplies: www.tinyurl.com/2wnang
Join 'Homebrewers' to Help Cure Disease: www.tinyurl.com/yjlnyv

Re: Hop shortages seems to be some incentive for hop growing


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It doesn't surprise me.  Most LHBS in the Twin Cities are selling 2006 hop
crop and there is no forseeable time when this will change [ok, fall 2008].  I
have had to order my aroma hops [these need to be fresh] online at the
currently inflated prices [no offense to the vendor who is just passing on the
buck].

I would consider growing hops, but they take an enormous amount of space and
grow very tall.  Even growing along a fence is rough ... and I have two dogs
which I would prefer just stay away from hops [to avoid Malignant
Hyperthermia ... even if they aren't likely to eat them unless they are soaked
in wort].
 
Minnesota doesn't have the best climate for hops either.

--
Thomas T. Veldhouse

  bureaucracy, n:
        A method for transforming energy into solid waste.


Re: Hop shortages seems to be some incentive for hop growing


Thomas T. Veldhouse wrote:

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Now 64 new members in one week with a new total of 474 members.

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snip

That confuses me.  I would have just assumed that they were selling last
year's crop, or this year's if they've had time to harvest and process
it.  Are you saying that they normally run more than a year behind?

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If you have a sunny wall on your house without windows, some growers run
strings up the soffit or eave of the roof; then you need only cultivate
a strip of land along the house just a couple or three feet wide.

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Denny Conn has reported pretty impressive results with just a single
plant on a fence.

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I have one dog, and he started taking naps in the shade of my hops, but
as far as I know he never chewed on any.  But you are correct that hops
are toxic to dogs if ingested; that's why I dig a shallow hole in my
compost pile, dump the hops, fill in the hole, and then dump my spent
grains from my mash on top.

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Too damp?

Bill Velek - PERSONAL sites = www.velek.com & www.2plus2is4.com
770+ homebrewer group just for Equipment: www.tinyurl.com/axuol
470+ just for Growing Hops/Herbs/Grains: www.tinyurl.com/3au2uv
NEW group just for Homebrewing Supplies: www.tinyurl.com/2wnang
Join 'Homebrewers' to Help Cure Disease: www.tinyurl.com/yjlnyv

Re: Hop shortages seems to be some incentive for hop growing


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No, it means that I called them [Midwest Supplies] and asked them.  They said
they are vaccuum/nitrogen sealed and remain fresh, but for whole hops, I still
want 2007 for aroma hops.  They told me specifically they are selling 2006
hops.  If you check Northern Brewer's site, you will notice that almost all
their hops are completely out of stock.  They switched to a different hop
vendor a couple years ago (I think they used to use ID Carlson and FresHops)
and perhaps that vendor dried up.  I did NOT call them and ask if they are
selling 2007 harvest in store, but judging by the website and my talk with
Midwest Supplies, I assume not.  
 
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:-(  I have a south facing fence, but it is along a road where the city has
mandated trees every 100 feet or so.  They are growing large ... direct sun
will only be available from about May to August and then only from about 10AM
to about 6PM [in June] before the trees get in the way.  Honestly, I would
just try anyway along my chain link fence, but the dogs have access to it and
I know that malignant hyperthermia is a real threat to dogs.

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I have little doubt that my Golden Retriever and English Springer would smell
them through the dirt and dig them up :-(  I send my hops to the dump
unfortunately ... but the spent grains get natural compost.
 
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Sometimes too damp, sometimes too dry, almost always very humid [talking soil
versus air respectively].  Further, it is far North with a continental
climate, so the growing season ends as early as September 7th here (I was able
to keep my peppers going to October 15th this year ... but they are in pots
that I would haul inside).

--
Thomas T. Veldhouse

  bureaucracy, n:
        A method for transforming energy into solid waste.


Re: Hop shortages seems to be some incentive for hop growing



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I'd be worried about the pee.....



Re: Hop shortages seems to be some incentive for hop growing




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You hope! I was wishing that for my own but SWMBO has been enabling ours to
hang around indefinitely. Her room is a pig sty and reeks, and she won't
lift a finger to help around the house. Not to mention that I can't stop the
continuous outflow of $20 bills. I was sort of hoping that her room would
become Dad's play room some day. :-(

Mark R



Re: Hop shortages seems to be some incentive for hop growing


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Cut off those $20 bills and it will be your play room in no time, not to
mention you can rennovate it with the savings.  :-)

--
Thomas T. Veldhouse

  bureaucracy, n:
        A method for transforming energy into solid waste.


Re: Hop shortages seems to be some incentive for hop growing


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I live in MN and find hops easy to grow.  My problem is that the
flowers are pollinated by wild bines.  I'm interested in finding
rhizomes for some of the new dwarf varieties.  Anyone know of a good
dwarf cascade-like hop?

Re: Hop shortages seems to be some incentive for hop growing


I've had some interesting success with a variety called Glacier.  While
possessing enough Cascade like character, they still provide some uniqueness
that makes pale ales rather interesting.  In my last pale ale I used a
Northern Brewer, Glacier, and finally a Cascade to produce a very nice ale.

Ken

On 12/1/07 7:08 PM, in article
755c92bf-dee9-4a32-a645-2c41b75c6a59@i12g2000prf.googlegroups.com,

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Re: Hop shortages seems to be some incentive for hop growing


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Did you grow all of the hops yourself?  From the few people that I have spoken
too down at the LHBS(s) was that they had mixed results with home grown hops.
Most were very "chlorophyl" was the best that I gathered.  I take it that
perhaps they used too much leaf material, but who knows.  I think MN, with its
continental extremes isn't ideal for hops is all.  I would LOVE to try to grow
them anyway, but unfortunately, the little available area that I have that
could grow hops [horizontally] is legislated for peppers and chili ;-)

--
Thomas T. Veldhouse

  People tend to make rules for others and exceptions for themselves.

Re: Hop shortages seems to be some incentive for hop growing


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I've grown Cascades for a few years now and am now growing Fuggles
(should kick in this coming summer). I would think that home grown
hops have less leaf material than those you buy in the store (at
least, mine do). However, I've noticed that the shade of green/brown
(which is probably closely linked to chlorophyll) varies greatly
depending on how you dry your hops. The hops you buy in the LHBS are
darker brown/less green/paler green. Mine vary depending on drying
method from bright green to medium brown-green, but never as brown (or
pale) as you see in the LHBS.

I've dried in a dehydrator for a few years, and last year I dried in
my attic. All methods remove just as much water as with the ones you
see in the LHBS. I plan on paying closer attention to temperatures and
methods in the future to see how it affects the color. But, to the
point, I think that if you use these "greener" hops early in the boil,
that green chlorophyll can be perceptible.

By the way, from now on I'll probably dry in the attic, since it
worked so well last fall. I'll only use the dehydrator to experiment
with different temperatures/times for drying.

I'm sure others can comment better about it, but I believe MN is fine
for a number of varieties of hops.

--Jeff

Re: Hop shortages seems to be some incentive for hop growing


Jeff wrote:

snipped stuff, including drying hops in the attic

I dried mine in my hot car; spread the hops out to just a couple of
inches deep and set some containers on ledge behind the back seat right
under the window and the rest on the seats.  Rotated their postions when
I would think of it; at night I stirred the hops up to try to get the
cones on the bottom up to the top.  In a couple of days they were very
dry, and it made the car smell great.  I was concerned about exposure to
the sun, but then saw some photos of commercial drying in rooms lit by
the sun ... plus they're in the sun right up until time of harvest.

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Hops grow better up north because daylight is longer in the summer, so
Washington, Oregon, Idaho are the big hop growing states, with some in
Wisconsin, etc.  Hops were grown in the northeast until they were wiped
out by disease (probably at a time before we developed many of the
chemicals we now have).  Some commercial hop farming is just starting to
resume in the northeast.  For more info, here are some relevent links:
University of Vermont: http://www.uvm.edu/%7Epass/perry/hops.html which
has a selection of links, especially "Growing Hops in New England" at:
http://www.uvm.edu/~pass/perry/hopsne.html ... and also look at this
site: http://www.northeasthopalliance.org/default.html
I hope that anyone who is interested in growing hops will check out my
'Grow-Hops' Yahoo group which is now up to 614 members --
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Grow-Hops
Cheers.

Bill Velek - PERSONAL sites = www.velek.com & www.2plus2is4.com
780+ homebrewer group just for Equipment: www.tinyurl.com/axuol
610+ just for Growing Hops/Herbs/Grains: www.tinyurl.com/3au2uv
NEW group just for Homebrewing Supplies: www.tinyurl.com/2wnang
Join 'Homebrewers' to Help Cure Disease: www.tinyurl.com/yjlnyv

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