Hop Stories from the Southeast
Please read on to learn what our customers have shared with us about their hops growing experiences in Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.
I ordered three hop rhizomes from you this year (Centennial, Northern Brewer, Tettnang), and grew them over the season here in Jonesboro, Arkansas (northeast part of the state). I planted them in small raised boxes and am happy to report that all three vined up and grew tall over the course of the season. I planted them on an east wall, so they got plenty of morning sun and were partly-shaded during the super hot afternoon hours. I did manage to get some cones off the Centennial and Tettnang plants, but they were not very fragrant. This was fine with me, as I was not very diligent about trimming the plant, and I know it takes at least a season to get a decent crop. I'm looking forward to what the next season holds for my hops!
Paul, December 2015
Update from Paul, April 2016:
I wanted to update you with how my hops are doing. And that is - like gangbusters! All three varieties have thick, robust vines that are climbing at a great rate. I've had so much growth that I've been able to enjoy cooking the secondary shoots as "spring asparagus" twice now.
I hope my success inspires others to try growing hops. The second year is shaping up to be very exciting!
This spring I planted the rhizomes (willamette, centennial, and pride of ringwood) I had purchased from you on a south eastern facing hill in downtown Chattanooga, TN. Once they came up, I pruned them down to one vine, to try to help establish the root system. Each vine grew about 5', trellised up to a second story porch via a twine pulley system (to lower the lines to pick in years come). No blooms, but I wasn't expecting any. So far, equal growth on all the vines, with no signs of disease.
Thanks! And I'll send another update next year (year 2) on their progress. - Elizabeth
My rhizomes made it on 3-26-12. Iv'e got 4 sets planted. 1 set about 30 miles from where I live at my parents house. The rest I'm planting here at home. I live at 1650 ft above sea level,the away set is about 850 ft > sea level. I wanted to see if it makes a difference in growth. different soil, weather and elevation. I'm thinking about planting more sets in other areas of east Tenn. I do brew but i didn't buy hops just for brewing, more of a hobby, experiment and for fun. The hops iv'e planted here are at least 150 to 250 yards apart from each other.is it necessary to keep them separated and if so, how much? If you are interested i will send you an update later this year. thank you very much.
...all the rhizomes looked good. - Tod
Southern Coastal, NC
This is my first time growing hops, so I took a wild guess on varieties that would grow in my area. I live in southern coastal NC zone 8. The summers are painfully hot with high humidity and the rain can be really heavy or completely absent for long periods. I planted the chinook and cascade varieties. The cascade started out strong and looked like it would do really well but in the heat of the summer the plants both got a serious case of spider mites. The cascade really did not tolerate this well, but the chinook kept going strong despite the little buggers. I made sure to bottom water to avoid fungal issues which did not arise though made for perfect conditions for the spider mites. I also had more hops harvest from the chinook than the cascade, of course year two may be another story.
Last year (2011) I ordered 6 rhizomes—I planted them in fairly dense clay soil mixed at about ½ and ½ with really nice compost. Hills are about 10” tall, 5’ long with two rhizomes in each hill. I planted them horizontally as opposed to vertical—I guess I misunderstood. In any case, the shoots were up in a matter of days. They all reached the top wire which is 14’ high. They kept going and some hung down about 5-6 more feet. When I saw cones I side dressed with tossed composted manure. At the end of the season I covered with mulch.
Cascade and Chinook did the best with about 2 oz hops per vine. Chinook hops were pretty big, like 1.5” long. Mt Hood took third place but with smaller cones. Then was Goldings which didn’t produce much. Perle was fairly week, only a handful of hops. Northern brewer didn’t grow much but was planted late in the season so I would reserve judgment. So far this year (2012), Perle shot up a week ago and is now almost 3 feet tall. Cascade has put out about 40 shoots per crown and two of them are about 2ft tall. All others are showing shoots as of the end of last week. If you remind me, I’ll let you know how my second season goes with the weaker performers.
I just ordered 6 more varieties from you and look forward to seeing them go! Thank you!
Hello, my name is Joe and I live in the southeastern part of the US. I wanted to write and let you guys know how happy I am with my hop experience. I have only been brewing about two years now and a friend helped me start growing my own hops. I actually have not used fresh whole leaf hops yet but the time has come for me to try them. You asked if we, the customer, would be willing to share our experiences. Below is my experience and I am fine with you sharing.
I live in Wilmington, NC and I bought two Zeus rhizomes from you back in the latter part of March. I bought these based on research by NC agriculture, who noted it one the best five grown in my area. My first impression was that these were really healthy hops rhizomes, one, in which, already had eyes on it. I planted mine along side my home which receives morning sun and some afternoon shading. I planted mine with a mixture of potting soil, black cow, mulch and some local sand. I try to water them once a day with Miracle Grow but let the rainy days keep me at bay. I have sent pictures of the bines. If you will note the healthier one on the right. It has taken a bit longer than Cascade or my Magnum to blossom but it has really put out. The hops are big and have exceeded my expectations in both size and quality.
Thank you, Joe
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
(12/2014) Rolfe, my hops did not make it. I live right on the state line between Mississippi and Tennessee in Olive Branch MS. I thought I would give them a shot but didn't hold out much hope. It is just too hot here. So you can put that on your interactive map. Love your website and will buy from you again, just not hops. Thanks, Sukie
I found a note in the packaging of my hop rhizomes asking for feedback on how the hops were doing in my area. I live in very southern Mississippi. Of the 100 rhizomes I ordered, I probably have 98% survival rate. This is amazing considering my experience with other vendors. Prior to the purchase from you, I only had a survival rate of around 30%. Obviously, the survival rate of your hops has created problems....I have had to increase the area along with additional lines, etc. A great problem to have. I have tried several other varieties in the past but it seems that cascade is all that will grow in my area. The ones that I purchased from you are currently over 6 foot tall and have some beginning cones. I think next year, I will try some different varieties due to the success that I have had your product this year.
Thanks for great service and a great product. -Tom
Hello -You asked for feedback. I ordered sunbeam, fuggle, and cascade. Cascade never did well - a weak puny plant that finally died. Fuggle did mediocre. It grew some but slowly and parts of the plant don't look healthy. I will see if it survives the mild winter and see how it does next year.
Sunbeam has done great. Vigorous vines, plant looks strong and healthy. I included a few pictures of sunbeam.
***Update from Monica: Sunbeam has done really well. Fuggle is still alive and may do better next year. It is only cascade that died. 2 out of 3 is not bad especially since sunbeam is growing so beautifully.
I ordered 3 Hop rhizomes from you and received them in March. I live in Atlanta, GA and I am experimenting with growing hops. I purchased Magnum, Cascade and Chinook.
I built a raised bed in my back yard and mixed organic raised bed soil with mushroom compost and manure. I planted all 3 according to your instructions on 04/18/15. I've watered about 3-4 times a week or when it doesn't rain.
Here are the results...very excited!
Hello, Rolfe and Janet,
Just wanted to let you know that the replacement plants you sent me are doing fine. Here in the Deep South, the vines have been growing up some sticks I stuck in the ground faster than I could control them, so I needed supports pretty fast.
So, a week ago I finished my fishnet trellis and got them entwined on it. It took me a while to decide what I was going to do. I came up with the idea of creating a fishnet from some rough string I'd had for years. I strung twenty feet of rope across my living room and started cutting the string. Sixty 16-foot units of four strings per unit gave me an 8-foot eight-ply looped unit to cross-tie. The result is a twenty-foot fishnet five feet high, hanging from 12-foot poles that came from the top-rail of a chainlink fence I took down. It is actually hanging about 9 feet up, above the existing fence.
It took me 24 hours to create my fishnet, a couple of hours to hang it, and another six hours to dis-entwine the vines from themselves and work them through the fishnet. The west side of my house is 20 feet front to back, and that's the side that needs to be shaded. Since the vines are rough, they cling nicely to the string. It was the dis-entwining that took so long. I tried to be careful not to crimp the vines.
Some of the vines are much longer than the net is high, so I worked them side to side. They are really just hanging by the leaves so I can redirect them up when I get the next tier done.
I'm getting ready to create the second tier, which will be tied on at the 12-foot height. I bent the poles about three feet from the top so they'd be angled toward the house. That was not easy; I had to prop the pipe on a concrete block and drive onto it to get the bend.
At this point, everything I used was materials I already had on hand, except for electrical clamps I bought for 75 cents each to clamp onto the pipes to keep the rope from sliding down. I'm looking for appropriate string (cotton or hemp-type) for my second tier, which I will need to buy. Sixty units of four 16-foot strings will give me what I need, 3,840 feet, or 1,280 yards.
Anyway, I thought you'd like to know how I created a fishnet trellis for my hop vines. Oh, one more thing. It looks like I have some hops on my vines. They look so sweet. Don't yet know what to do with them. Who knows? Maybe I'll make some beer! Best to you - Ginger
***Update from Ginger: My hop-growing days did not last very long. They seemed to do quite well in the first season, but they didn't come back after that. A little the second season but none after that. I planted a paulonia tree on the west side of my house, and it is doing a good job of shading that side of the house. Working on growing Confederate Jasmine up the trellis I made.
My first year (2014) 2 Willamette rhizomes were planted in half 55 gallon drums with no bottoms. South facing embankment. Although there were hops none were harvested. I foresee them doing a lot better in 2nd year. On the other hand the three cascade that I purchased from y'all in maybe 09 yielded nearly 3 pounds of dried. Every year I split and share the cascades. There are several members of South Atlanta Homebrewers that are also getting enough to make batches of beer with. They seem to do well when planted in some sort of raised bed. There is a caterpillar that likes to chew on them. It has mega spikes on it. If I find a pic I will send it. I normally put on a leather glove an just squash them. One other pest is the globular bug(aka miniature stink bug or kudzu bug). From my understanding it came into Ga or N.C on a flight from Asia. I now have to harvest hops before they invade the cones( around mid late august). If not you'll end up with hops with hundreds of those stinking buggers in them.
On to the beer, I make ten gallons of 'fresh hop' every harvest. It's the same base American Pale Ale recipe. It is usually well received although the signature citrusy is so much more less evident. They seem to taste more 'earthy' like a UK grown hop. I really appreciate your company, everything I've ever received from there has done well.
Sorry I have rambled...Brian
South of Atlanta, GA
just wanted to share photo of the cascade and magnum from this order. South of Atlanta is not the best place for them but seem to do really well as long as they are in raised beds and not the Georgia clay.
I spoke with someone on the phone about a week ago about when to harvest my hops from the rhizomes I got from you. i thought you might like to see the plants from north west Florida just north of Pensacola.
at this time the Cascade is the most prolific the crystal is doing great. the other three are only about a foot up. maybe they will do better next year.