If you’re interested to learn how to grow hops from seed, you’ll be pleased that it will only take you two steps. More and more people in the UK are getting interested in hops production because of its profitable potential. Therefore, you must find the ideal starting technique that is the most advantageous for you.
Not everyone is comfortable with starting hops from seed, similar to other plants. Understandably, you might assume that the process will be meticulous, but you can guarantee germination in a stable environment like the greenhouse. More so, it’s easy to find various publications from extensions to support you in hops production further.
Beginner’s Guide For Growing Hops From Seed
Step #1. Preparation
The first step for starting hops from seed is preparing them to help them sprout. Remember that hops seeds require undergoing cold treatment before germination. Cold treatment is one reason why some UK growers reconsider growing hops from seeds, but the process itself is relatively straightforward anyway.
The simplest method for treating hops seeds is mixing them with wet sand and placing them into a sealed plastic bag. Refrigerate the bag for five to six weeks and then put it somewhere at room temperature. However, don’t forget to choose an area out of direct sunlight to avoid damaging the seeds and flatten the bag out to help with sprouting.
You can then plant the seeds somewhere around 68°F for two months until they sprout. These seedlings should be ready for transplanting, but patience is a must. If the seeds have still not sprouted, you can redo the cycle and place them back in the refrigerator.
Step #2. Planting
Cold treatment will activate the seeds to start sprouting and grow. By subjecting them to freezing conditions, you mimic how they’ll do in nature and sprout according to your schedule. If your area experiences fluctuating climates, you can consider planting the hops seedlings in the polytunnel or prepare the ideal site.
Ideally, you want somewhere that can provide at least 12 hours of direct sunlight for your seedlings. Don’t forget to work and amend the soil with compost and peat moss to support them. You can then plant hops in the middle of April in an area with a slow-release fertiliser.
Don’t forget to check your spacing and hops at 4 feet apart to keep the air circulation optimal. Over time, you will need to train the vines, so prepare sticks to support your plant. It would help if you didn’t face many challenges in growing hops at this point, and you can assume work will only be necessary for harvesting.
How To Grow Hops From Rhizomes
You can also grow hops from rhizomes in two simple steps. If you have just collected the rhizomes, you can place them in a plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator until you can plant them. However, don’t forget to mist them regularly to prevent them from drying.
Step #1. Site preparation
Site preparation is essential to ensure that the rhizomes will thrive well. It’s best to test your soil first to know the amendments necessary. For example, remember that hops should grow in soil that is neutral and fertile.
Therefore, you may need to alter the soil pH and incorporate some organic matter into the soil before planting. More so, compost itself improves the soil structure, making the site more ideal for planting. Don’t forget to till the ground and loosen it well before you start planting the rhizomes in late spring.
Step #2. Planting and maintenance
After you have prepared the site, you can start planting the rhizomes with buds pointing upward. Bury them an inch below the ground and a space of 3 feet among each rhizome. You also want to prepare a trellis to help the hops climb later on.
As for maintenance, you always have to check the soil. The first year is critical for hops because they are still developing their root systems. Keep the ground moist without creating a wet environment.
Can You Grow-Hops From Cuttings?
Besides seeds and rhizomes, you can also start hops from cuttings. Choose a healthy plant in late spring or summer and prepare pots for rooting. Similar to the previous tips, you want to amend the soil to make it fertile and neutral.
Stick a cutting in a pot so that two of its nodes are underneath the medium. Cover the container with plastic to maintain humidity and place them in the polytunnel to encourage rooting. Compared to seeds, this is a quicker method, and you can transplant as early as two weeks.
Hops are low-maintenance plants that can be a profitable venture to consider for all UK growers alike. However, not everyone is interested in learning how to grow hops from seed because they don’t germinate readily. While you’ll need them to undergo cold treatment to sprout, it’s a reasonably uncomplicated technique anyway that doesn’t require much effort.
You will need some patience when you store them in the fridge and when you grow seedlings for transplanting. Afterwards, the fruit of your labour are plants that don’t have many issues and maintenance requirements. Just make sure to allocate enough space and learn how to train the vines efficiently.