Jenny's parents offered to grow some hops for me this Summer in their back yard. They have a rockin garden and were really excited about being able to contribute to my brewing hobby. When making beer, hops are boiled along with other ingredients to add flavor. Different beers use different kinds of hops. Gary, my father-in-law, did most of the research to get us ready for planting. Here is a neat video he found about a local guy in North Liberty, Ia who started his very own Iowa hop farm!
So I stopped down to The Brew Haus http://www.bluffbrewhaus.com/ and bought some rhizomes. If you're like me, your thinking, what's a rhizome?!?! From what I can tell, a "rhizome" is a little root or stem that you plant in the ground that sprouts into a plant. Here is a picture of me holding my "Cascade" rhizome and as you can tell, I'm quite excited.
So, I bought these little root things from Jerry at The Brew Haus, took them over to the Sewell house and got them planted. Jerry said that we may have enough growth this year to brew one or two batches using our own home grown hops! I guess it takes a while though to really get your plants going well. It could be two to three years before they develop to the point shown in the above video. We will have to have patience. I'm finding that is the case with many things in the home brewing process. This is good for me as I have a tendency to rush things. With brewing beer you have to wait a lot and I'm finding that to be challenging, but it's good for me. Here are a couple more pictures of me actually getting the rhizomes planted.
|First Linda had me sprinkle some stuff on the ground where we were going to be planting the rhizomes. Honestly, I can't remember if this stuff was for fertilizer or if its just something to keep the rabbits away.|
|Then I hoed up the dirt and kind of worked that stuff I sprinkled around into the ground.|
|Then I dug a little hole and put those rhizomes in the ground.|
|Linda made these neat little labels for each rhizome.|
|Here is the Nugget rhizome, look in the background and you can see the little sprout just peeking out above the dirt. Three of the four we planted had little sprouts like this already started.|
We planted four rhizomes total; Cascade, Centennial, Nugget, and Willamette. From the research Gary was doing on growing hops in Iowa, and from what Jerry at the Brew Haus was telling me, we are expecting the Cascade to do the best, but only time will tell. I was at the Sewell house this past Sunday at which point they had been in the ground for about a week and a half. The Willamette and the Cascade had definitely shown some growth. We've had a very cold Spring so I think things are off to a bit of a slow start. Gary cut off the bottoms of some plastic jugs and put them over the sprouts to protect them from the rabbits. Can't wait to post updates once these plants start growing some more!