Hop Stories from the Midwest
Please read on to learn what our customers have shared with us about their hops growing experiences in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and Illinois.
Hey Thyme Garden Crew,
I just wanted to thank you all so much for providing me with such quality hops! I know you have to say not to expect much on the first year of growing but with the rhizomes I received from you guys I ended up with a little over 5 ounces in year one! I cant wait to see what happens this year! I ordered a few more from you this year and they are all out of the ground climbing away already! Thank you so much again, and keep up the good work! -TJ
St. Paul, MN
Hey there Rolfe!
I ordered two kinds of hops from you the spring after moving into my new home in St. Paul, Minnesota; Chinook and Northern Brewer.
I planted each of them at the base of part of my deck so that they would have something to climb on. Both plants did well, despite a summer of drought, but he Northern Brewer took off like nobody's business!!!I think it may have had something to do with being placed at the bottom of a slope, which meant that it's roots got a lot of rain run-off and stayed moist despite the hottest summer I've ever experienced in this state.
Both plants did well. I got 6 strobiles off the Chinook, which surprised me, given that it was their first season planted.But the Northern Brewer was a whole different story. I never got so many blossoms at my old house even after 4 years of growth!
Pictures to prove it!!
Thanks for the great hops, Heather
Sauk Rapids, MN
Iron Deficiency Mystery
I'm having some issues with two of the six plants that I bought from you. I trimmed the diseased looking leaves from the live plant to try and prevent it from spreading if that was the case...seems to be a nutrient deficiency (my guess) unless that is the way that Cascade grows...It seems to be yellowing from the top down. No leaves seem to be drooping or damaged. The first three are obviously drooped and damaged... the leaves were distributed only on one bine of the plant though. (July 2015)
So its the end of the season and I finally got the problem with the yellowing of the hops leaves figured out. After letting the problem go, the hops bines eventually died. New suckers took its place, but production was eliminated and it only grew to 5' the problem was an iron deficiency denoted by green veins and yellow leaves in between. The problem will be solved for next year though. I'll be putting in an order for 100 Centennial rhizomes before spring with you. These were the testers for the soil. Acidic sandy soil with a dish of compost dug into it 18" down= Chinook as the winner for first year @ 1.25 wet lbs of product on a 9.5 ft trellis. The Chinook outgrew its trellis and would have easily gone to 15' if it had had the space. Commercial organic production starts in the spring @ the 43 parallel in MN
Overwintering Hops in Northern Michigan
Mark: What do I do to over-winter the rhizomes? Do I dig them up?
Rolfe, The Thyme Garden: If it gets real cold there I would probably put a bunch of mulch over them for winter and pull it back when it starts to warm up in spring before the hops start to sprout. You can leave a couple inches on them for food.
Mark: In the fall I covered the plants with about 24" of maple leaves and uncovered them at the beginning of May. I think they look great.
Thought I'd share a photo of my 1st year Brewers Gold Hops that were purchased from you and planted May 2nd.
They grew to my 18ft.wire and headed across and down a few more feet. This is my first attempt at growing hops and I'm very pleased with the stock I purchased from you.
I'm located in Western Michigan. The Willamette grew almost equally as well and the Cascade was the least hardy.
Plenty of flowers on all. Now I need some Sage advise on when to harvest, any suggestions?
(2011) Hop report! We live near Wayland, MI, which is in southwest Michigan, about 1 hour east of Lake Michigan and 1.5 hours north of Indiana (halfway between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids).
We planted two Cascade and two Fuggle rhizomes from you early this year. All sprouted and grew consistently. We weren't sure where the best place in our yard would be, so we put one of each in two different locations. As it turned out, one spot didn't get as much sun as we thought, so those two grew more slowly (we are going to move them to a better location in the spring), but the other two grew quite well in a very sunny location. The Cascade even had some flowers! I have a feeling the Fuggles in that spot would have as well, but something ate it, so we'll have to work on critter deterrence next year. Thanks for the great plants! Cate
(2014) ***Update from Cate: Hi! We purchased Cascade (two) and Fuggles (two) hops from you a few years ago. All are still alive. We have gotten crops from the Cascades the last two years. Unfortunately, something keeps eating the Fuggles, which also seem to grow slower (or dislike the conditions more). We are going to move the Fuggles closer to the house this spring to try to ward off whatever thinks they are so tasty. Cate
I would just like to drop you a note. I ordered Saaz hops a year and a half ago and I am very happy to let you know I will get a crop from them this fall. It is not a large crop but it is the first year. I am in zone 4 and they made it through our harsh winters. I mulched them good in the fall and it worked. Again I am pleased with my purchase.
Rooted Hops in Ohio
I pre-ordered hop rhizomes back in October, so I have been very anxious to get them. I received the shipment email on Thursday and was a bit nervous about getting them, because I leave town on Sunday. So my uncle and I prepped the ground and created our mounds to plant them yesterday(Friday). To my surprise, they came in the mail today. Wow! What a wonderful choice I made by purchasing from the Thyme Garden! These rhizomes are top notch! I got rooted cuttings of Cascade, Willamette, Chinook, Nugget, and Magnum. Zeus, Mt. Hood, and Perle were standard cuttings. The standard rhizomes were more than what I expected for the rooted cuttings. I ordered rhizomes last year from another place, and they were basically dry sticks smaller than my pinky. The shipment was a long voyage to Ohio, and they were still very moist. I will recommend you to anybody. I attached a few pictures of our hops plot for our "before" pictures. I anticipate the "after" pictures that I will send you in August/September be a lot greener! Frank
Ok, Rolfe...more update pictures on the rhizomes planted on 3/9/13 in Ohio. In the first photo, from left to right, Rooted cuttings of Magnum, Nugget, standard cutting of Zeus, Rooted cutting of Chinook and Cascade. The hops to the far right were planted last year from a different supplier. Second photo...the far right three are from you: Rooted cutting of Willamette, standard cuts of Perle and Mt. Hood...the others are those same second year hops. Third photo is the top of the Zeus. It is ready to explode with hops! The peak of the barn is about 18' tall. Thanks for the wonderful product! - Frank
12/2014 ***Update My hops did very well again in their second year in Ohio. I had two first year hops also do well. I dug up and moved a couple crowns this fall. It's amazing how much they've grown in two years. I moved them so that I can cut rhizomes from the Cascade, Chinook, and Zeus in the spring and keep them close to the original plants. You have a very quality product. I've recommended the Thyme Garden hop rhizomes several times on the American Homebrew Association online forum.
I attatched a few pictures from this year. The first pic was taken on May 10th and illustrated early growth. The second is of me with the hops at peak growth taken on July 4th. The third was during a brew day July 25th. We harvested several pounds and did a fresh wet-hopped IPA. This was a picture of our late addition hops. There is a combination of Chinook, Cascade, Centennial, and Zeus. These hops made a great brew!
I purchased some hop rhizomes from you a few years ago, three years to be exact. I have just successfully harvested my first hops. Yippee.
To share with you my experience. I have been growing them in Dayton, Ohio. They are in a spot that gets late morning to evening sun. It's the hottest place in the garden. It gets the most light. They were in a container the first year then I moved them to the ground. The second year they did produce a few hops but nothing worth harvesting.
But this year, the third year....WOW. They have grown so tall, probably the typical 16 feet if not longer. And they are so full of hops flowers. I do water them when there is no rain for a few days or in very hot temps. It can get into the 90's here for a week or so and it's too hot then not to water them. But in the spring and well into the summer we get A LOT of rain here. And then when it's hot it is very muggy and humid. I would say these hops really like this climate. They have been thriving and sending off so many new shoots this year. There was too many to stay on top of. They were coming out from the ground about two feet away from the original rhizome.
I also fertilized with compost, a dry organic mix and some kelp.
I do not know yet how much in weight we will harvest this year. There is more to harvest and they have yet to dry. I will try to remember to update you once we get a final count.
Thank you. I appreciate your thyme (yuck yuck). Take care, Kathleen
North Central Ohio
I wanted to let you know that it is year 2 for our hops and they are thriving!
We purchased the Willamette and cascade, and live in north central Ohio. The Willamette is huge this year. The cascade is 1/2 the size of the Willamette, as well as the cones being much smaller.
Just wanted to let you know. Can't wait for the harvest!
Best Regards -Cheryl
North Western Ohio
Just a note on my success with the hops I ordered. Received the four in march 2015, Cascade, Mt. Hood, Willamette, Hallertauer. Planted into indoor pots and sat at south windows until planting them outside on Mother’s day 2015. Built a trellis out of 26 foot of cedar 2x6s laminated together. Built a cross member that could be lowered to the ground with a simple boat winch. No ladder climbing required for harvest. Anchored steel cables with big eye bolts into the ground on four corners, wrapped the cables with coconut twine to give the bines grip when climbing. Cascade grew to a height of 19 ft. this year and produced a handful of hops. The other three only grew about 4-5 ft. all looks great and are healthy.
I can’t wait until next year for a good usable crop.
Full Sun all day in north western Ohio.
Plain City, OH
I ordered 4 different hops rhizomes and planted last spring. They all grew, and I wasn't expecting much, but got enough to brew a few IPA batches (which were delicious). This is year two, and the rhizomes took very well to the soil. I know you are supposed to cut back some of the shoots and only keep like 3 or 4 vines. When do you do that? See attached picture. This Zeus plant is out of control!! Which shoots should I keep? There's so many!
Rolfe's Response: I'd keep 5 or 6 of the strongest bines. It will be kind of painful to cut such a beautiful plant. What type of fertilizer do you use? Watering amounts?
I use Espoma organic Garden Fertilizer sparingly. Maybe hit each plant with a few tablespoons 3 times a year. Only water when it's completely dry. Haven't watered anything since probably October.
- Davison, March 2016
We just received our rhizomes for the fourth year from you! thanks!!
We are in the Ohio valley in southern Indiana and we are in our fourth year of hop growing. We began with chinook and cascade and they do very well! Last year we began with brewer's gold and have bought more this season. We are also experimenting with stering and zeus this year.
Wilamette and fuggle are NOT good in this area. No production. The problems we do have are junebugs which we hope to keep down with milkey spore and the heat/humidity did a number on our crops last year.
We are small hobby farmers and the brewery which i work for brews an annual harvest ale each year with our freshly picked hops. We also sell to local homebrew suppliers. We really do enjoy hop farming even if we are on small scale.
Hope this information helps you! Colleen and Matt
I received my Magnum rhizome from you within 3 days back in April and it already had two nice shoots coming off of the rhizome in the bag. It was planted two weeks after the first planting and it grew faster than all of them.
I live in the Indianapolis Metro Area of Indiana and this is my first year of hop growing. I began with 5 other rhizome from another supplier but one didn't sprout. I ordered through your website due to the great reviews and being organic is great. I have 6 total types of hops growing great in my backyard. They are Chinook, Fuggle, Northern Brewer, Magnum, Nugget and Willamette.
The Chinook was the first to have production. The cones are the size of my thumb for being Mid-July. The other varieties are done growing vertical but are producing laterals that are going everywhere. I have not really had any disease or bug problems.
When growing hops make sure to have a good soil base to start with, water them often and have fun watching them grow really fast. I can't wait see my second years growth.
Glad to be able to post to your website. I will only buy my Rhizomes from you company in the future. Thanks, Randall
Hey I wanted to let you know how the hops did this year. My name is Ryan Hammer and I live in Knightstown, IN. 30 min east of Indianapolis. I purchased four varieties, ten rhizomes of each, from The Thyme Garden this last spring to start a small farm to supply hops here locally. The craft brewing scene has really expanded here in Indiana in the last few years and so has the need for more local ingredients. The varieties are CTZ, Nugget, Magnum, and Northern Brewer. The CTZ were the regular size rhizomes( which I double planted) and all the rest were rooted rhizomes. Every rhizome I planted sprouted strongly. Nugget has grown the strongest this year, followed by the CTZ. This may have been due to the dirt these were planted in or because I did not trim back the first growth of any of the plants. Magnum had only 2 pounds between the 10 plants I had and Northern Brewer only had one plant put out hops. Again I think the lack of strong growth with those varieties is due to me not trimming back the first growth because one plant had extremely bad growth which I cut back to the ground and then within a month had great, strong growth and produced the largest Magnum hops out of any of the bines that grew. I plan on buying more hop Rhizomes this next year to triple the number of plants we had. My CTZ crop has been sold to Sun King Brewing this year for a wet hopped version of their Pale Ale and they are possibly going to buy the Nugget hops as well. Thank you for selling quality products that has given me a successful start in my small business.
I just wanted to drop you a quick note on what occurred this past season. I purchased 10 Mt Hood rhizomes and planted them upon arrival. I was under the impression that they would not bloom here in Laporte Indiana the first year or get very tall but they exploded to 22 foot tall and were loaded with beautiful cones and I can’t wait to see what they do this season. My trellis is built with ¼ inch parachute cord hanging 25 feet through pressure treated 2 x 4’s which are attached to ¼ in galvanized steel strand ran between two telephone poles it looks and works great. I fully expect them to be truly impressive this season if you like I will send you pics during growing season. This is an experiment and I am a rookie to say the least. Thanks - Russ
We planted 200 cascade and 200 centennial, we had an amazing growing season w/ rainfall and temperatures... I believe we had around 192 cascades and about 185ish centennials come up and grow well. The cascades did better than the centennials, we had about 12 reach 18'! The others were around 10' or so, the centennials were a little behind them, most only reached around 6-8'. But almost all the plants we had produced some hops. We harvest them and sold them to a local guy that uses then to make hoppy coffee. I believed we had around 45 pounds of hops or so.. Also our alpha acid tests came out well for our first year. Thanks again, and I'll be in contact about more rhizomes.. Thanks, Carl
This is my first year growth. The hops on the left are centennial and the hops on the right with the bushell on the top are chinook. I also planted cascade but they did not grow. I know others in my area that have had success with cascade though.
Lawrence County, IN
I am just getting around to emailing to you how we did in 2012, from the organic rhizomes we ordered from The Thyme Garden.(Winter 2011) We also just pre-ordered 32 Cascade and 16 Nugget Hops Rhizomes from your web site. A short background...
My brother Bill and I have access(control) of 41 acres in southern Indiana. We are growing Niagara Grapes and Cascade Hops as a small hobby/business. We plan/hope to supply several microbreweries in our area, that just happen to be owned by friends.
We ordered 32 organically grown Cascade Hops Rhizomes from the Thyme Garden last year. We planted them in 12' by 12' beds(8 plants per bed) with a single support pole in the center.(tee pee style)
ALL 32 plants grew vigorously, even allowing us a small harvest to give to friends. We tilled deeply, dug planting holes with a post hole tool, and mixed the existing excellent soil 50/50 with organic peat.
We use no chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers in our growing process, other than organic, well composted cow manure.