Dateline 19 August 2016 AD
I bought a single hops plant from Territorial Seed Company back in 2009. I planted it at the base of a simple-to-make, 12-foot-tall T-post hops pole (instructions for making the pole are in My Garden Idea Book) in one corner of my garden. It is an amazing plant.
The first few years I got lots of big cones. Then the cones got smaller. Last year they were pretty scarce. I mentioned this to a guy who works at the local lumberyard, and who is an avid hops grower (and beer maker). He told me that if I want big cones I need to prune the bines so only three or four were allowed to grow up the pole. Duh. I should have known.
So this spring I made sure to cut away all but four of the bines that wanted to grow up the pole. And that made all the difference. The other thing I did that I think really helped was I mulched around the pole with some old hay. It was a very dry summer here, but the hops put out an incredible amount of cones. Some are pretty big, as you can see in the above picture.
Today I was at the lumberyard and my hops-growing friend said he was picking and drying some of his hops cones. He told me that they need to be picked when they are green. I didn't know that. So I came right home and started harvesting some of my crop.
Those cones are less than a quarter of what is on the pole. I will pick more tomorrow. Here's a picture of a cone broken so you can see the bright yellow lupulin powder that is inside (click the picture for a larger view)...
I planted the hops in my garden as a novelty. But I have since discovered that hops is a powerful deep-sleep inducer. Put some of the cones in your pillow and you'll sleep like you never slept before. That has been my experience. Amazing.
But, of course, hops is primarily used for making beer. That's something I haven't done, primarily because I'm not a beer drinker. However, my ol' high school friend, David Ennulat, brought some of his award-winning oatmeal stout to our 40th high-school class reunion picnic last month, and it was something pretty special. So I'm thinking about making my own beer. Just a little. I'm thinking of it as a medicinal drink.
I'm wondering if anyone reading this has grown hops and made your own beer? Or have you tried using hops as a sleep inducer?
|My Hops pole in August, 2016|