Growing Hops In. . .


Cherry Valley
Hi Rolfe,
This spring, I ordered 2 large rhizomes from you guys to start my own plants in my backyard, and I wanted to report on how they did, as per the slip you enclosed with the rhizomes. First of all, thanks for your advice and the healthy rhizomes; it was a fun year and I felt like the harvest was pretty decent considering it was the first year, etc. 
I live in Cherry Valley, IL, and I had one Galena and one Willamette rhizome each. I planted them about 8 ft apart and trained them to grow up the side of my deck, which connects to the 2nd floor of my house. The deck is south-facing and gets quite a bit of light during the summer. My soil is a bit clayey, especially for Northern Illinois, but I dug a hole about 1 sq. foot for each rhizome and added a compost/ash mix before planting in early April. Both varieties grew well, eventually reaching the top of the lattice above my deck (maybe 20 ft, vertically). The Willamette grew up faster but the Galena had stronger growth by mid-July. The Willamette became pretty bushy as well. The Galena by far yielded more hops (I don't have the numbers in front of me right now; I froze the cones and weighed them post-harvest) than the Willamette, which if I'm understanding correctly is partially just a characteristic of these particular varieties. Both plants remained healthy and I had minimal problems with pests (I don't use any pesticides). 
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with what I had at the end of the season, as this was my first attempt at growing hops. Together they produced enough for several batches of homebrew, which made me happy. Looking forward to next year!

Thanks again and all the best, Walter 

Chicago Area
Many thanks. Have a friend who is new to brewing. Just happens that he lives in the 'burbs of plenty of space to grow. I live in the city with very limited space. However my Centennial and Perle rooted rhizomes you sent last year really took off. Will send a photo of last years growth. Thanks again - John

Hello Thyme Garden!
I got a message in our package of hops rhizomes this year regarding our hops experience. So here it goes.
This is our second year attempting to grow hops. It's a little unconventional. We're growing our hops in containers on a tar roof in Chicago. Last season we planted Wilmette and Galena hops in 20 gallon containers (cheap utility bins from the hardware store) on the roof. Overall, I feel they did exceptionally well. These were planted in potting soil mix. Both were trimmed to two bines in their first year. I plan on growing three bines off of each this year. Bines reached between 15 and 20 ft in length and produced roughly 1/2 to 3/4 size immature cones. Both varieties lost a little foliage from scorching in during the heat wave we had last summer. They typically required 1-2 gallons of water a day on the warmest/sunniest days. I've attached several pictures from their first year. We donated one bine to hang over the bar at our local establishment Maria's for good luck.

I wasn't able to find much information on growing hops in containers on the internet. Mostly I found failure stories. I plan on uploading a webpage covering our hop growing adventure to encourage others.

This year we're hoping for mature hop cones from the Wilmette and Galena hops and will be starting the Cascade and Pride of Ringwood in 30 gallon Smart Pots. We'll add some herbs to the pots with the hops too. I'm especially interested in how the Pride of Ringwood does with the heat on the roof.

Anyway, that's our experience so far. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions!

All the best,
Chris,Chicago, IL

Hi Rolfe,
I'm emailing to let you know how our organic hops rhizomes did in Chicago this summer.  We planted on April 19th, which was a little early I think, and harvested on September 14th.
Fuggles (one rhizome) - the Fuggles didn't really produce that many cones and the cones that we did harvest were very small and not very healthy looking.  In total, we got 0.8 oz of them from our bines.

East Kent Goldings (one rhizome) - The EKG did really well and produced big full cones.  We harvested 13.3 oz of them.

Cascade (one rhizome) - The bines grew, but didn't produce any hop cones at all.  

Centennial (one and a half rhizomes - my dogs chewed up half of one before I realized it) - The Centennial did pretty well and we harvested 3.5 oz of them.

Zeus (two rhizomes) - The Zeus hops are amazing!  They are huge and full and smell incredibly good.  We harvested 1 lb., 10.1 oz of them.

We're going to brew with our harvest this weekend.  We are really excited to see what they do next summer. Thanks so much for all your assistance and please let me know if you'd like anymore information. Thanks - Jen

More Chicago Area

I live 40 miles due west of Chicago (Zone 5) and I'm new to growing hops.

Two years ago I planted a Cascade and Zeus rhizome on the south side of my home. Last summer the Cascade died early the season due to rot (I overwatered) and the Zeus did really well. Very pretty and lots of cones. I also planted a Centennial rhizome early in the spring and it produced cones; as much as the Zeus plant! It was a hearty harvest considering it was just planted 5 months earlier. I felt lucky!
I'm now looking forward to my third season with hops. I have another Cascade rhizome to replace the one I overwatered along with a Northern Brewer (arrived yesterday!!!).

Considering I have a modest sized backyard, my hops have done very well. I have good drainage and long periods of direct sunlight. - Andrew
***Update from Andrew:
I harvested on August 25th, as the cones were getting dry and the bract tips were turning brown.

My Zeus (3rd season, 2nd harvest) produced just over 3lbs and the Centennial (2nd season, 2nd harvest) produced 1lbs 8oz, both off the vine (wet). Cone sizes between 1.5 and 2 inches in length; big and beautiful.
Also planted Northern Brewer and Cascade this year. I hope to have better luck next spring as I learned my lesson with over watering the season before.
And, by the way, they are super tasty and aromatic. Thanks Thyme Garden!

Highland Park, IL
I planted Kent Goldings hops from Thyme Garden four or five years ago, and they are doing very well indeed.   Because the south side of our house is the front, I was not allowed to use the eaves to suspend my ropes for the bines to climb.  Instead, I built a trellis of two 4x4 posts 8 feet tall (actually 12 foot posts with the bottom 4 feet buried in the ground), with guy ropes to the ground, and a rope strung across like a clothes line.  The bines grow very well and quickly up the guys, but don't like to grow horizontally.  They'll go about 4 out on the cross wire about 12-13 total bine length), then stop growing, even before the cones start to set.  However, I do get decent yields - 1.5 to 2 pounds from 6 bines each year.  I built perimeter boxes of 2x6 pressure treated lumber to try to keep them from spreading, but they went under the sides anyway.  The first year I had a lot of leaves turning white, but that turned out to be an iron deficiency in my soil.  I added some iron soil supplement and the problem hasn't occurred since. - Michael

Springfield, IL
Growing Cascade and Saaz in Springfield, Illinois Just wanted to send some pictures of my Cascade and Saaz hops they are already starting cones. Again thanks for the great Rhizomes. Gary, May 2016

Southern Indiana
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.

Indianapolis, IN
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

Knightstown, IN
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.

Laporte, IN
Greetings All,

        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

More Indiana...
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'. Butt 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                                                                    ` 

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.

Portland, IN

This is my first year growth.  The hops on the left are centinnell 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.  

Upstate NY
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

Lyons, NY
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.

Peace. Joe

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.



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!

Second Year Hops Growing in Ohio
May 10th July 4th July 25th

Dayton, OH
 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, Hallertaure. 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.

Zeus shoots gangbusters

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

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

Southeastern, PA

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

Phoenizville, PA
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 ThymeGarden, the Cascade (3 rhizomes) came from a friend, so the source is unknown.  I just received 3 rhizomes of Chinnok, again from ThymeGarden, and just planted them this past Tuesday!  So, here's to another successful growing season! - Jeff

Fairdale, WV
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

First year growth of Zeus Extra Large Rooted Rhizomes
in Fairdale, West Virginia.

Rio, WV
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

Thyme Garden Rhizomes at Hawks Run Farm