Hops

 

 

  

Following on with my interest in making beverages. I thought that I would try to grow some hop plants. So I acquired a few specimens of different varieties to try out. They come as rhizomes in the winter when dormant, a bit like bare root hedging.

 

So to give them a head start I planted them in pots in the greenhouse and put 2 ft canes for them to grow up. My first big mistake, they were at the top of the canes in a couple of weeks, so I put them onto 4 ft canes but they just keep growing. They make Russian vine look like an amateur.

 

I had never planned where to plant them in the garden. Reading about Kentish hops they grow them up poles or cords about 20 feet tall. This was not a popular choice so a compromise was found planting at the base of fruit trees, as they are about the right height. So now they are heading to the top of the trees at a tremendous rate.

 

I decided to try traditional English varieties, so we have Fuggles, Challenger, Goldings and Northern Brewer which are all rather large, and as a touch of sanity a dwarf one called Prima Donna which only grows about 2-3 metres tall and is growing up the gazebo.

 

The different varieties have all been analysed for bitterness and aroma and are used to give different flavours to beer, the ones I am growing are ideal for English Bitter. What about Lager I hear you ask? Well I will probably have a go at a hop called Saaz next winter as this is the Pilzner Lager hop.

 

The most interesting hop is 'Fuggles', believe it or not a man called Mr Richard Fuggle found a hop in a neighbours garden in the 1860s. He acquired the plant and made a fortune selling Fuggles hop plants to the Kentish hop growers.

 

There is also a very attractive ornamental golden hop, but its uses are limited to looking pretty.

 

My only worry now is what to do with the flowers when they are ready!

 

 

 

 

 

Don Morgan,  Morgans Nursery

Stonehouse Lane, Bulkeley

Nr. Malpas, Cheshire, SY14 8BQ

 

Tel: 01829 720514

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Web Site: www.hedgeit.co.uk

 

Email: dm@hedgeit.co.uk