Before you try to figure out how to grow hops in the UK, you need to gain a deeper understanding of the plant itself. Read on to learn more about this plant.
A Closer Look at Hops
These are perennials that feature twining stems or bines from the permanent rootstock during springtime. Since hop plants are dioecious, separate plants grow to make and female flowers or cones. In commercial UK hopyards, specialists use thick hairs or trichomes to help the hop plants grow clockwise around trellis systems.
The right conditions enable bines to grow up to 4 to 10 inches per day. In late June, during the summer solstice, hop plants tend to grow lateral branches. During this time, they also produce clusters of green cones or flowers.
Keep in mind that one should use only the cones and flowers produced by the female hop plants in brewing beer.
Although hop plants can be grown in various areas, one can trace their origins back to China. In the United Kingdom, the commercial production of this plant started in the 1700s in the southeast. Nowadays, over 80% of the country’s hops are grown in the rest of the country.
Since locally-grown food and speciality beers are becoming more and more popular these days, hops production significantly increased among gardening enthusiasts, farmers, and homebrewers in the UK.
The Different Uses of Hops
Throughout history, people know these flowers for their medicinal properties. One can use hops as a sleep aid in your pillows and a perfect addition to your salad.
However, hops are used as a flavouring agent and a preservative when it comes to beer production. Thanks to its essential oils and alpha and beta acids, hops provide beer with its characteristic bitterness and aroma. During the various beer brewing process stages, one can add different varieties of hops until they achieve the desired taste.
Tips on How to Grow Hops in the UK
To give you an idea about how you can grow hops in the UK, check out these valuable tips:
Tip #1: Choose the right kind of soil
Hop plants won’t have any trouble growing in different types of soils. However, they thrive well when one plants them in well-drained loam soils that are deep and sandy.
The ideal pH for hop plant growth is around 6.5. If you’re sitting hop yards, make sure that you avoid doing so in heavy soil that’s poorly drained.
Tip #2: Determine the growing season
To produce high cone yields, hops plants require a growing season with longer days and shorter nights. Additionally, they also need about one to two months of winter temperatures that go below 40˚F. The requirement for winter temperature explains why the commercial production of hop plants occur between 40˚F and 50˚ latitude.
Tip #3: Provide supplemental water and nutrients
Hop plants require supplemental water, as well as nutrients, to fully develop and thrive well.
DoespolytunnelGardening Make Perfect Sense?
Compared to traditional outdoor gardening,polytunnelgardening offers more benefits. You’d be doing yourself and your plants a big favour if you set up your semi-pro or hobby greenhouse.
Although this may initially entail a considerable investment, you won’t be disappointed with the rewards you’ll reap. To prove this point, here’s a look at the fantastic benefits of polytunnel gardening:
You can control your plants’ growing conditions
Setting up your very own polytunnel allows you to manipulate the growing conditions of your precious plants. The enclosed space will enable you to easily control the temperature and humidity levels to encourage plant growth.
It offers protection against harsh weather conditions
While traditional outdoor gardening is excellent, it won’t be able to guarantee your plants’ safety in the event of harsh weather conditions. For this reason, those who garden outdoors in the UK must make emergency preparations before the storm sets in. On the other hand, a polytunnel eliminates the need for such practices because the structure itself provides your plants with a layer of protection against the elements.
It keeps your plants safe from pests and vermin
One of the worst things that can happen to your plant babies is a pest infestation and vermin attack. These are constant threats that traditional outdoor gardeners face. When these insects and animals find their way into their gardens, they cause irreversible damage to the plants.
However, with a polytunnel to act as a barrier, you can be sure that vermin and harmful insects will keep at bay.
You can grow your food
Having your polytunnel makes it easier for you to plant and grow your favourite vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Sincepolytunnelgardening enables you to grow your food, and you’ll get to save money on grocery shopping. What’s more, you can also be sure that you did not use harmful chemicals to grow your crops.
You can extend growing seasons
You can extend growing seasons if you grow your plants inside a greenhouse. Since one can easily manipulate their growing conditions,polytunnelgardening makes it possible for you to grow plants native to your UK region.
Now that you’ve finally figured out how to grow hops in the UK, you may want to consider growing them in a greenhouse!