Monday, May 9, 2011


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 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!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Bunny Is Back

This rabbit just won't go away! After closing up on Saturday evening I thought the showroom was rabbit free. I must have been mistaken because when I got to work this morning I found my little friend hiding in a plant next to the front window. I just about jumped out of my skin when I discovered him... again. I'm not sure how he got back in here, but he has definitely been here since Saturday evening because I found little "clues" all about the showroom that he left behind. Hilarious.

He is currently still in the plant and I'm trying to figure out how to get him to move. I think he must be the Easter bunny.