Hop Stories from the Northeast
Please read on to learn what our customers have shared with us about their hops growing experiences in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.
2011 is my first year for growing hops. I am located near Louisville KY which is at the 38th parallel. I planted five types of hops, Northern Brewer, Hallertauer, Centennial, Zeus and Mount Hood. The weather has been colder and wetter than normal and this has slowed the hops growth . We had record breaking floods and my hoop patch became a river for 3 days. This dented the growth who knows what was in all that run off. I thought about moving the plants but I have lived here 20 years and this has never happened before and it was the worst flood in 100 years. Once the plants grow more I will mound up around them to improve drainage.
The weather finally broke around May 8th and the hoops took off. All are over 2 feet tall except the centennial which is growing bushyer. I have put stakes up for now and the vines are growing up. I will keep a close look for pest also I marked the plants and made a map of the hop type and there location. I have had problems with tags fading and getting blown away so I store the maps on my computer and a hard copy in a folder.
- Thanks Lee
I just received my shipment of hop rhizomes and I'm responding to the note included asking for feedback on results.
I'm in Northern Kentucky (the very tip, about 20 min south of Cincinnati OH) and last year I planted Nugget, Magnum, Crystal, Williamette, Cascade, Sterling and Chinook. Of them, Nugget, Crystal, Cascade, and Chinook did well. Magnum did produce, but poorly, and Sterling and Williamette simply stopped growing after getting about 2 feet off the ground (they didn't die, they simply stopped growing - Williamette even tried to flower). I had multiples of each variety and results were consistent within all varieties.
I'm looking forward to planting these Zeus, (more) Cascade and Fuggle as replacements to the varieties that didn't do so well. I'll try and remember to send updates at the end of the season.
And by the way, these rhizomes are beautiful and healthy looking!
Fairdale, West Virginia
My name is Jonathan from Lost Ridge Farms in Fairdale, WV. I just wanted to share some photos of the hop plants I got off you guys. Awesome first year turnout!
- Jonathan, January 2017
Rio, West Virginia
The organic Cascade plants I purchased from you all in the spring have done great in WV. Strong vine growth (multitude of vines) and root growth - even produced a few ounces of very nice hops, which will be used with my other association member's hops, in a special brew by Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, MD. Centennials didn't do as well, so I'll try a different type next year. I grew the hops on 1"x1"x8' stakes - they worked well.
I've attached some pictures of the upper rows of my hop yard, and some of the hops. See you next year! Thanks! - Jody @ Hawks Run Farm
I pre-ordered Pride of Ridgewood and Newport hops. I planted both variety of hops this spring and kept them on my porch till i knew the freezing cold weather was behind us. Both were very active growing in the comfort of my sunny closed in porch. Now planting time... Shock! Both were good for about a week, then shock must have set in. Newport hops recovered nicely and growing vigorously. I did not trim any growths as suggested (figured 1st year let it grow wild). Pride of Ridgewood, lost its pride once outside. It just has one small leaf, no change for 2 months.
- Mike, July 2016
I live in Phoenixville, PA and have been successfully growing Nugget and Cascade hops since 2010. Started just to see what would grow... My friends have been able to make up to 20 gallon batches so far, with the yields. The Nugget (4 rhizomes) was gotten from Thyme Garden, the Cascade (3 rhizomes) came from a friend, so the source is unknown. I just received 3 rhizomes of Chinook, again from ThymeGarden, and just planted them this past Tuesday! So, here's to another successful growing season! - Jeff
I am responding to the request for an update on how the shipped hop rhizomes faired. I planted 2 centennial and 2 cascade rhizomes in April. I live in Southeastern PA and I am happy to report that all 4 rhizomes grew well. I have harvested and dried the hops already and hopefully next year the vines will be even bigger.
Thanks - Jon
Mid North Region Virginia
We bought Hop Rhizomes from you last year and wanted to let you know how they are doing. We planted Cascade, Centennial, Magnum, Sterling and Willamette. The Cascade and Centennial did well for the first year, the others grew but were not as active. Sterling struggled the most. To prevent the Downy mildew problem and other disease issues I did spray them with Gardens Alive, Surround and it did seem to help. We know of another person who is growing Cascade and Centennial in the Richmond area and his are doing very well. We are in the mid north region of Virginia.
Will let you know how they do next year! -Dori
Northwestern Virginia, East of the Shenandoah Mountains
I have been meaning to respond to your request for information on how your hops grow in different parts of the country. Today, I rediscovered the slip of paper packed with my hops from March 2012. Here goes:
I live in rural northwestern Virginia east of the Shenandoah Mountains - the winters are relatively mild and the summers are hot and humid.
In 2012, I planted a number of rooted hops. The stand-outs in terms of growth and production were the Cascade, Centennial and Nugget hops, although everything grew really well. I actually got about 3 lbs (wet weight) of Cascade hops in the first year of growth! I had a few problems with mineral deficiency in the soil, but had nearly no problems with either mildew or insects. Working in the garden today (late February 2013), I noticed a lot of fairly extensive root growth at 1 foot from the crown. Although all the crowns are dormant right now, the winter has been usually mild (total snow <10 inches this season) and I expect budding in the next few weeks. Looking forward to a productive year. I am extremely satisfied with your plants and am currently waiting on a few more plants I ordered from Thyme Garden to fill in the gaps in my hopyard.
You asked to know how your hops do, so here’s a picture of the nugget I planted on April 9 here in Lancaster, VA 22503.
It’s been a very mild winter here and I was able to start plating early. I’ll give you an update at the end of the season.
I wanted to give you an update on hops I've planted from your rhizomes shipped in late March. . .I planted the hops (Chinook, Golding, Cascade) on the southwest side of my house along my deck about mid-April. They get about 8 hours or so of good sun and are when well prepared and drained soil.
The chinook hops have reached OVER 11 FEET tall already and have gone over the top of the twine and top of my pergola. The Cascade hops are close behind and the Goldings, well they are a bit slower.
Thanks and have a wonderful weekend
Hi, i wanted to give you an update on the hops i grew this past year. Cascade did the best with 4 out of 4 plants growing approximately 8 to 10 feet. 4 out of 4 Nugget did ok but had growth of about 4 feet on average. I only had 2 of the 4 sterling plants grow more than just sprouting and those only grew about a foot apiece. I will keep you updated on the 2nd year growth…
Thank you so much and have a great year
Hello Thyme people,
The Cascade hop rhizome I had ordered in the winter arrived today (3/21/2011). It arrived in very good shape. Also, the seeds that you sent earlier arrived in only two days. That was quick!
I am responding to your request to track how the hops grow in various places in the United States. I live in upstate New York near some foothills in zone 5a. Our soil is heavy clay and rocky. I planted the rhizome today. Fortunately the frost had just gone out in that spot this week. We did get about 4 inches of snow last night, but I scraped the snow away and dug the hole. The soil was perfect for planting hops. I dug down about a foot and put some chicken manure in the hole, mixed it with some soil, put a layer of regular soil above that, then planted the rhizome. I covered the rhizome with regular soil. I put a long slender 1/8 inch wire right alongside of the rhizome leading up to the trellis horizontal lines.
I have had some hops growing along the back side of my garden for some time (Hallertauer & Tettnanger ), but never did anything with them. They survive, but they do not "thrive." They are near the edge of some trees and I believe they could not compete very well, so last year I relocated a rhizome to the berry garden under a trellis. I also ordered and planted a Willamette hop rhizome as well. At that point I had never heard of your company, so the hop I ordered was from a large seed company. That rhizome came as a very small rhizome, but it did grow. It really struggled, though. My transplant did far better and was about 3 times larger than the ordered plant by the end of the season.
It will be interesting to track the rhizomes last year with the one I ordered from your company for this year. Your rhizome was even in better shape than the one I dug up from my garden fence. I have a feeling, however, that my heavy clay soil is going to be detrimental to their speedy development. But I will do everything I can to make them thrive. I do not expect the newly planted rhizome to grow as fast as the 1 year olds, but I can still track the difference in how it grows relative to how the other two did last year.
I do not know if this will help you, but I cannot grow grapes here. They die back to the ground every year. That is why I had room for the hops, the grapes never could survive the winter in that spot so I figured I could use the trellis for hops. I make beer, so I thought, "why not!" I like Sierra Nevada beer and they use Willamette and Cascade hops. I can't wait to use them for my Imperial Oat Stout that I make from grains.
Thank you for your prompt service and quality plants. I will let you know how they grow throughout the year. Ray
***Update from Ray: In East Nassau NY, the Willamette hops ripen 18 days after Cascade. And for some reason, the Willamette hops were bothered by aphids and the Cascades were not. I also found that straw was a pretty good weed barrier on the hop bed. The hops were able to push through, but the weeds found it harder to get through. The exception was bind weed. That stuff is a nightmare. I harvested Cascades on August 28 and Willamette on September 15.
East Bloomfield, NY
(2013) I just wanted to let you know about my hops experience since purchasing rhizomes from you this past spring. I bought several varieties to plant a test bed and see how well they will grow in my area. I live in the Finger Lakes region of New York, just west of Canandaigua Lake, in the town of East Bloomfield, and in the foot hills of the Bristol Hills. I purchased 4 plants of 6 different varieties that included Cascade, Mt. Hood, Williamette, Centennial, Hallertauer, and Saaz. The Cascade did okay and grew to about 3 to 4 feet. The Mt Hood and Williamette did very well and grew to about 7 to 8 feet. The Centennial also did well and grew to about 5 to 6 feet. The Saaz grew to about 2 to 3 feet while the Hallertauer did not appear to do well at all. Initially only one Hallertau plant grew at all and barely reached 1 foot in height. I left the other 3 planted rhizomes alone and just this past week 2 of them started sprouting. It has been extremely dry and I did not really water them aside from some recent rains the past week or 2. As a preventative measure I sprayed my plants with Neem Oil and regularly with Worm Tea. Although I expected nothing to harvest this year, I did get hops cones on several of my Mt. Hood, Williamette, and Centennial plants. Next spring I am planning to set up a drip irrigation system.
I mentioned this is a test bed and I expect I will get more hops cones from my test bed plants next year, but this test bed was in anticipation of moving forward onto the next phase. In Spring we will be setting up the trellises and planting our first half acre of hops. We have a growth plan and have made contact with some great suppliers for materials to get our business going. We are planning to use the Thyme Garden for a source for Organic Hops Rhizomes as we start out with plans to build up a Certified Organic Hop Yard. I hope this information helps and I hope that next year I can provide even more information based on our first planting. - Mike
We live in Lyons, a small town in upstate central New York. The Finger Lakes Region. My wife purchase a Cascade Hop rhizome for spring 2012 planting. I think we had pretty good success for a new planting. We harvested 3.3 ounces of fresh hops our first year and we made a nice 5 gallon batch of home brew with those fresh wet hops. Nice!
Our hop vine is going strong this spring too. Several vines are already well over 7' up the trellis. Another report to follow after this years harvest.
New York City, NY
Here is a photo of my first year growth for two hop rhizomes (Cascade). One had a single bine and the other three . Each grew to 16 feet with quite a few hops on them. I live in the southern most part of New York City/ latitude 41. This planting faces south.
Good evening. I noticed you were asking for feedback on the hops. I ordered three varieties: Cascade, Fuggle, and Nugget. All the rhizomes, except one Cascade (due to erroneous planting, I'm sure, confusing horizontal and vertical, not that I don't know the difference but I misread how the shoots and the actual root needed to be set) have been doing good as you can see in the pictures.
Starting to get a little budding action, but I really don't expect these to really flower until at least next year. This year, I really wanted to just see if these could survive. Now I know with proper cultivation, hops in Baltimore City can thrive!
I homebrew, but considering the space limitations in my front yard, where we have a decent garden going, I plan to make some space in our back yard for a more exaggerated growth of hops to produce enough for brewing. The front yard yield may be just enough to do some small batches and also help me find additional creative ways to use hops. I may be a hophead when it comes to beer, but I love the aroma, and often the individual taste, of the hops all on their own.
We have many local breweries popping up in town and I believe some are starting to use hops grown in Maryland, mostly from Western Maryland. But in the interest of local sustainability, I hope that the Baltimore hops continue to thrive and maybe some day are part of the burgeoning Baltimore brew-ganza.
Your rhizomes did great, and I plan to pre-order more for next year.
According to the Farmers Almanac, we are considered region 2 the Atlantic Corridor, which basically extends from Richmond Virginia to Boston. Last year I planted your cascade and centennial hops in great soil on the south side of my house up a trellis and string, where they get blasted with sun all day long. I planted them a couple days after receiving them the first week in April during frequent rain. I watered them weekly for a month and a half, and then not again until late summer following a dry spell lasting over a month. Both did fine. I even harvested close to 5 oz dried. The centenials came back a little over a week ago, while the cascades just emerged yesterday. They were used for dry hopping and it tasted great! Hope this helps and thanks again for the hops! - Bill
(2014) Hello from Wilmington, DE where I'm at 39.7458°N. Here's how my hops plants are doing.
My 2nd year Chinook emerged about a week ago and is now 18” high. During it's first year it only put out two rather scraggly vines. I discovered this Spring that what it had done was develop a very healthy root system. This year, I also planted a Nugget which is now 5” tall, and a Sunbeam which is 3” tall already. I'm looking forward to some fresh hops this year!
***Upgate from Randy: (2014) Two did great! I harvested ~4 ounces dry weight each of Chinook and Nugget.
(2012) Hops in Connecticut grow like weeds, they did amazingly well. I planted 6 rooted cuttings and 4 rhizomes, both did exceptional. I got no cone production this year, but four to five 10 foot vines on the rooted cuttings, and three or four 10 foot vines on the rhizomes.
I used a mixture of llama manure and cow manure for fertilizer, and did nothing else to them all season but water them. I carefully dug down to check on the root ball recently, and all of them are sporting MASSIVE root systems (probably at the sake of vegetative growth, but I would rather have healthy roots already in the ground for Spring!!!) I am looking forward to what will likely be a full-blown hop explosion next season. - Jarrod
***Update from Jarrod: (2014) They grew like weeds. Second season, I used emu manure for fertilizer, built a trellis, and I cut off all bines but the three strongest for each cutting. It took a season for them to get established (the first season in which I did nothing but plant and fertilize them to get a nice, big root ball) and then a second season for them to fully shine. So even here in balmy New England, I couldn't get them to stop! The Kent's and pride of ringwood were the best. Fuggles were a bit trickier, and tended to not be as large or fruitful.
Southeast Connecticut, 25 miles north of Long Island Sound
I ordered hop rhizomes from the Thyme Garden. I received the rhizomes on 3/23/11 and planted them 3/26/11. The weather the following week was very cold with a few light snow falls and temp's in the 20's at night and in the upper 30's to low 40's during the day. I was a little worried that I planted them too early. However, these photo's show that they are doing fine. The 4 varieties that I ordered were Northern Brewer, Centennial, Fuggle, and Willamette. I have recently noticed small caterpiller's on the leaves of the plants. They are eating into the leaves and I have had to squash them. Being an organic gardener, I have resorted to safe sprays to assist in eradicating these pests. Hopefully, the results will be positive. I live in the south east part of CT about 25 miles north of Long Island sound. The weather is very cool right now and wet. I will send another post later in the season in order to update you with what is happening with the rhizomes. Cheers.
Cascade hops are awesome first year
The hops I ordered this year are awesome. They are already around 20 feet and it is only July 7th.
I spread my chicken manure on top of the soil before the shoots started coming up. The ones I didn't spread manure are not nearly as tall. I will be ordering more next year.
- Chris, July 2016
Cascade 1st Year
For the past years I am growing hops as I brew 12 gallons every 3 weeks at Barleycorn.com in Natick Mass. It started out as a hobby and for giggles I tried this many years ago, about 6 or 7 years going strong.
What I did find out was potting was an option on the deck in most sun. Wooden ones worked well, plastic NG, ceramic NG. Basically what does work well is baskets made out of twine/sticks with a plastic bag put in as a liner with some holes at the bottom and a few rocks for drainage. When it does get cold or a frost may occur, I bring them inside and always around this time of year works best to start the rhizomes. They were big ones this year from you guys. I sit them on the deck which is wood and watch them grow, some rocks under the planters, as the deck does get extremely hot and temp has killed some of them, some miracle grow along the way and I use miracle grow potting soil. Do they take off. Some years I get some buds. Last year I got an ounce of them and they do work with beer so well.
Around October, I pack them up and transplant them in a friends yard, big yard next to a large garage in direct sunlight and they get over 30 feet tall. Others that I plant, which is in some sunlight don't take off as well, they do OK, but that sun is so important in the northeast.
This year, the transplants are already 4 inches and lots of them are all over the place. Sunlight is so important as what we see.
We grow magnum, centennial, Columbus doesn't do well.
I was married 15 years and after 10 years of just me and the boys, I added a tap on my counter with a freezerless refrigerater under in the basement to hold many kegs. I brew big Dave's IPA and that's my story.In this place, the boys rule, the women drill and the tap stays. -David
I wanted to update you on how Thyme Garden hops are doing in Vermont. I have very heavy clay soil here in the Champlain Valley, but despite the constant rain this spring the 2011 planted hops are doing very well. A few areas were so wet that they did not make it, but even in wet areas most are doing at least o.k. and many are thriving. The Cascade, Centennial, Magnum, Newport, and Zeus are doing particularly well. The Perle, Brewer's Gold and Pride of Ringwood are doing fine. The 2010 planted hops are doing extremely well with Cascade, Centennial, Pride of Ringwood, Golding, Magnum, Zeus, Perle, Fuggle doing best. - Kris
Hopyard in Vermont
Hopyard in winter
My farm is Organically certified and that has lead to issues with downey mildew. It has been bad enough that I have stopped growing Centennial and Columbus all together. I have had mild mildew problems in my Brewer's Gold and Cascade but they are some of my best hop producers and I have been able to keep them healthy. The Newport has done very well and does not have disease issues. I have stopped growing Perle just because it is not producing well in my heavy clay soil. Kris
Salutations to you at Thyme Garden:
I just want to let you know first of all that I was glad to receive the hops order even after it was sold out. I have planted them and they looked in great shape (1 of each Fuggle and Sterling). My first hop plant came from a local nursery it is a Nugget. It is planted at the corner of my back deck and very fast growing .It makes a wonderful shade cover for our “screen house”. The Missus asked me to plant more it so will shade the whole thing.
We now have 4 different varieties Nugget, Fuggle, Sterling and Mt.Hood two will be trained to the dog kennel fence and two to the screen house. I think I composted more hops than I kept ,but that is good too...it still makes good beer.
As you can see in the picture hops growing in Maine is quite good. I live in Rockland on the coast of Maine , midway between New Hampshire and the Canadian border. We have a fair amount of moisture (fog) and decently cool days mostly in the 70’s on average throughout the summer. Thank you all for your wonderful work.
Seasonal shade in Maine
I was cleaning my kitchen and found the note that came with my hops rhizomes earlier this season about how they are growing, so I thought I'd pass that info on. I planted three varieties: Chinook, Crystal, and Kent Golding. They are planted next to a rocky stream by my house. The Kent Golding showed the most vigor when they first started, but recently the Chinook has taken off! It's already outgrown the temporary trellis we put it on for this season and it's starting to take over a small maple tree (which is actually quite amusing to see). They all seem to be quite happy and I look forward to getting a few more varieties for my beer brewing friends over the next few years. ~Francie