No disrespect intended at all, but I strongly disagree with just most of
the points that Bill Davidsen made, as indicated below.
>> From what I've read, they're not too hard to grow.
>> Any reports of success or failure would be appreciated.
>> Thanks in advance.
> Sort of, my neighbor down the street has wild hops growing and has
> shared some with me. I have no idea what they are, but they make a nice
> finishing hop. Other than just to do it all yourself, I regard growing
> your own hops in the same category as growing and malting your own
> barley... you can do it, but it's not clear that you can do it better,
> so it's just for fun.
I've never grown and malted my own barley, so I can't really compare it
with growing hops. However, let me speculate a little bit. Growing and
harvesting barley has got to be a "bitch" ... really. I can't even
imagine a nice plot of barley in my yard that is not filled with weeds;
since grains are 'broadcast', and therefore don't grow in "rows", how
does a person even conceivably get into the plot to weed it? And most
of us don't own a scythe. I guess we can take a sharp butcher knife and
grab handfuls of barley and cut it that way ... but then we need to
'thresh' it. I can't envision me or my family tossing barley up in the
air on a windy day to get rid of the chaff; but I suppose there are
modern techniques ... if you can afford/justify them on a small scale.
Okay, now that you've worked your ass off to produce grain that you can
probably buy more cheaply somewhere, and which probably is just as good
in quality or better ... you need to malt it. At this point, I'm
actually personally interested, but with using barley that I can buy
from some other source so that I can avoid the headaches of growing it.
From what I've read in "Homebrewer's Garden" (by Joe & Dennis Fisher),
I suspect that with the right equiptment that can be given double duty
(e.g., an aquarium pump and airstone that you can use for malting and
also for making yeast starters), you can malt barley with a whole lot
less effort that growing it. But to each their own!
Now, let's compare that with growing hops. At todays prices, a person
can typically harvest up to a hundred bucks worth of hops from a single
plant, based on harvests of up to 2.5 pounds/plant times $40.00/pound.
And I can't imagine that it would take anywhere NEAR the amount of work
as growing barley.
> Upstate NY is one of the prime places to grow hops, and used to be the
> hop capital of the country. You can still grow a fine hop, but you
> really need 12-14 ft frames ...
Denny Conn grows along a chain-link fence, IIRC, and harvests about 2.5
pounds from one plant. I built an arbor using two parallel trellises,
12' apart, that are 8' tall. Many growers find walls on their homes to
grow against -- see the pic at
> ... and the equipment to harvest.
I use a pair of scissors to cut the bine and the twine that supports it,
and a large plastic bin to gather it (a cardboard box will do just fine)
> ... Either that or a lot of fenced land where dogs don't roam.
Last year (my first to grow), my 'lab' took to sleeping in the shade of
the hop bines; hops are known to promote very vivid dreams in humans, so
I'm wondering it that's why he kept sleeping under them. I never saw
him eat any; frankly, I'm pretty sure that dogs are no more interested
in eating raw hops than in eating raw poison ivy or other vegetation; I
believe it's the sweetness that hops have after they are boiled in wort
that makes them appealing to dogs.
I'm very satisfied with growing hops. If anyone is interest, we have a
LOT of info at
-- which now has
945 members. I'm confident that we now are the largest organized group
of hop growers on the Internet ... or even in the world.