The hops keep on growing. These are my two Centenntial plants in the foreground with two Newports behind them; behind the picture are two Willamette and two Cascade plants also in pots. The Centennials are out-pacing the other plants so far. They were the first to sprout and have been the fastest growers after sprouting. I also have a larger number of bines on the Centennials plants than I do on the others. I’m not sure why that is the case, but I assume it has something to do with the variety as I am basically treating all the plants the same.
One of the most common searches people use to find my blog is ‘growing hops in pots’, with people often trying to find the correct size of pot to use. I’ve got eight plants in two different size pots. The Centennial and Newport plants shown here are potted in 12″ plastic pots from the hardware store. The Willamettes and Cascades are planted in 16″ pots. I was originally only going to have the four 12″ pots, but ended up getting four more rhizomes to plant. I decided that bigger was better, and the 12″ pots were looking pretty small to me once I the rhizomes had started to sprout. From general reading about hop online, I suspect that even the 16″ pots are too small for the hops to grow to their full potential. I can only wait and see. This is my first year growing hops, so I certainly have things to learn.
I am using pots because I don’t have a place to grow the hops at home at the moment. My backyard is both too small and is sort of under construction at the moment. Once it’s all sorted out, I might be able to have a few plants there. So I have the hops growing at the office up the side of an old silo. They get lots of sun and have plenty of room above them to grow. Part of the deal is that I have to keep them in pots so that they are relatively contained and can be removed at the end of the season. This is fine with me as I’d like to take them home someday as well.
Since they are growing in pots and have relatively little soil for nutrients, I have been watering them daily with Miracle Grow solution. I use a 1 gallon water jug to water the 8 plants once a day, so each plant is getting about 1/8 of a gallon of Miracle Grow water per weekday plus whatever rain they get naturally. I’m not in the office on weekends, so they have to fend for themselves. I try to give them 2 waterings on Friday, but I generally forget in the rush to get home for the weekend. I might have to start watering them twice a day when they get bigger. I’ll be checking for any leaf damage or stunted growth to determine if they are lacking nutrients. I’m also considering switching to a bloom fertilizer once they plants stop growing foliage and start growing hop cones so that I can maximize production.
Again this is my first year growing hops, so take my processes with a grain of salt. So far, they seem to be working just fine, but I’ll not really know how successful I have been until the fall.