Darren over at Dunerbrew inspired me to post an update on my other beer-related project: my backyard hops garden. I bought my first house back in October and in April I built a hop trellis out of some pre-made pieces from Lowe’s, a couple of garden stakes and some screws. It’s a little rickity, but it looks pretty good. Even better now that the hop rhizome(s) I planted back in April have taken root and started to climb up.
You can see in some of the close-ups that I used a piece of string to train the vine towards the trellis. Once the hops grabbed hold I just untied the string and up they went. I’ve gotten lucky with a pretty wet and hot summer, so even though I’m frequently on the road these hops have gotten plenty of water and sun.
I planted two rhizomes, one for each side of the trellis, but only one has actually taken root. I think I probably over-watered the other one, which I’m told is hard to do but when it comes to failure I’m an overachiever. I’m just happy they grew at all. Generally you’re not supposed to expect much from hops in their first year; at least that’s what I read on the Intertubes.
The hop variety I chose Willamette. They’re supposed to be reasonably robust, grew well around around this Latitude (at least that’s my assumption since Oregon and Massachusetts are roughly straight across from each other). I have also used Willamette in almost every beer I’ve brewed, so it wouldn’t hurt to have some of it around.