Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hops update

I described in a previous blog post my attempt to grow hops plants in containers here in Houston Texas. As you may recall this effort challenged the hops to survive not only the excruciating Texas Heat and the confinement of containers, but also the death touch of my black thumb.

Hops blossoms

I must have the hardiest varietals known to man, because they have not only survived to the end of August, but have flourished.

First year plants are not known for being very fruitful. Some amateur growers have complained that they got nothing form their bines the first year, as the roots were developing. As you can see, mine have gone berserk.


I originally ran the guide wires for the bines straight up to the ~10 foot ceiling of the balcony. It soon became apparent that this was not going to be enough height, so as each bine reached the top, I lowered the wire, and ran it diagonally. In this way, I zigzagged back and forth using the horizontal space to make up for my lack of vertical space.

Hops blossoms

The bines grew steadily from early spring to late August. At first they grew straight up, and then sent forth a maze of side shoots. They seemed to die down a bit in the last couple weeks. The good news is that at least one of the plants blossomed and bore a preliminary batch of hops (The Cascade plant. The Nugget plant still has yet to bloom, even though it was the more aggressive grower).

Cascade Hops

So I harvested my initial "crop" and was happy to see several other sections starting to blossom. It may not be a huge crop, but it was nice to beat the odds at least once in my gardening career. If I freeze this batch, and get another couple, I'll probably have enough for a 5 gallon batch of beer, which will be well worth the trouble.


Here's my crop again with some chili peppers and some big bunches of chocolate mint leaves, the other two success stories this year. (Also some odd fungi that seem to like growing on our palm tree's soil/mulch.

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