Grow hops and enjoy craft beer

Today the production of craft beer is fashionable and that is why we talk about hop, One main beer ingredients. Few know that this plant hides great virtues: in ancient Rome it was used to alleviate digestive disorders while in China it was used to cure tuberculosis and leprosy.

Originally from eastern Europe, today it is widely cultivated in Europe but also in Asia and the United States. Here’s how to do it.

    What kind of plant is hops?

    View of Humus lupulus

    Image – Wikimedia / H.Zell

    It is a climbing and rhizomatous plant without tendrils whose scientific name is Humulus lupulus. It reaches a height of up to 12 meters in length and has a half-life of 50 years. There are male plants and female plants that can be distinguished by the type of flower, the former being gathered in panicles and used to make beer, and the latter being light green and in the form of catkins.

    It belongs to the cannabinaceae family and has stems that twist into different supports. The leaves are dark green and have serrated lobes. Due to its characteristics, it is ideal for decorating walls.

    Hop cultivation

    If you want to have a copy, we recommend that you provide it with the following care:

    Location

    When thinking about location, you can place it both in the sun and in a semi-shady place, always close to walls or lattices so that you have a place to climb. But you must bear in mind that its growth rate is very fast, so it is not advisable to plant it together with other climbers, since it would not allow them to develop well.

    Irrigation

    Hops is a perennial plant

    Image – Flickr / Matt Lavin

    Unlike other species, hops is a plant that constantly needs humidity and that is why it is important to pay attention to watering, especially during the early stage and until they are adults. Once it has developed it can live with less water.

    Earth

    It depends on where you have it:

    • the gardenThe best soil for this plant is that which is deep due to its double root system. On the other hand, it must have good drainage so as not to flood. Avoid clay soils and those that are very alkaline as hops adapt better if the soil is slightly acidic.
    • Flower pot: use large containers, about 40cm in diameter, filled with acidic plant substrate. To prevent it from getting lost through the drainage holes, it is interesting to cover them with a piece of shading mesh. In this way, the plant will have a substrate with its nutrients for a longer time.

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    Apart from giving you water every time you need it, it is very important to pay it. You have to think that, no matter how fertile the land or soil where it grows, these nutrients are used up from the first moment in which the roots begin to absorb them. To avoid problems, you must pay throughout the growing season, that is, from spring to summer (you can until autumn if you live in a mild climate or with late frosts), with organic products such as compost, mulch, The guano, egg and banana peels, and so on.

    Of course, if you have it in a pot, use liquid fertilizers following the indications specified on the package. So the drainage will continue to be good, which would not happen if you used powdered fertilizers.

    Multiplication

    The hop leaves are taken as an infusion

    Hops multiply by seeds and rhizomes in spring. Let’s see how to proceed in each case:

    Seeds

    The step by step to follow is as follows:

    1. The first thing to do is put the seeds in a glass of water for 24 hours.
    2. The next day, discard those that float, since they most likely will not germinate.
      Another option is to plant them in a separate seedbed, just in case 😉.
    3. Then fill a seedling tray with substrate for acidic plants and water conscientiously.
    4. Next, plant a maximum of two seeds in each socket, and cover them with a thin layer of substrate.
    5. The next step is to water again, this time with a sprayer, to moisten the surface.
    6. Finally, put the seedling inside a tray – it has no holes – and place it outside, in semi-shade.

    This way the seeds will germinate in about two weeks.

    Rhizome separation

    To separate them you must first dig them up a little with the help of a hoe. Then it is only a matter of cutting a piece of rhizome with a minimum length of 10-15cm with a previously disinfected knife, and planting it in a pot with vermiculite. To help it root, water it with homemade rooting agents.

    Pruning

    During the first two years after sowing it is not recommended to prune it, as it needs that time to have a good development and become stronger. But after, After the third, you do have to trim the stems that are getting too long, and remove the stems that weaken, break or dry out.

    It is advisable to leave a minimum of three guides, but if you have several specimens and the plants very close together, two will be enough.

    Planting or transplanting time

    In spring, when the risk of frost has passed. In case of having it in a pot, change to a larger one when roots grow out of the drainage holes.

    Rusticity

    A great virtue of hops is that it withstands temperatures of up to -20 degrees Celsius. However, it prefers climates that are not so cold, although they are humid.

    With all of these requirements met, you can probably grow hops at home to design a very personal craft beer.

    What is hops good for?

    Hops are a climber

    Ornamental

    It is an ideal climber for cover walls, walls, or lattices. It grows at a good pace, so that in a short time you can have that area that you like so little is covered.

    Properties of the Humulus lupulus

    You have relaxing properties. It is consumed in the form of tea, made with 10 grams of dried leaves per liter of water, at a rate of 2-3 cups a day. Side effects, such as dizziness or loss of attention, can occur, but are rare and more associated with long-term use.

    Contraindications

    It should not be taken if you are being treated with sedatives, antidepressants and / or relaxants. And anyway, first of all it is always better to consult a doctor.

    Hops are a fast growing plant

    What did you think of the hops?

    Grow hops and enjoy craft beer

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