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Growing hops is great for a gardener’s ego

By Amy Hamilton

I'll admit it. I'm not much of a gardener.
If a plant is bent on dying or some bugs find it really tasty, who am I to get in nature's way?
That's why I love growing hops. They're so easy, at least some varieties make me feel like I'm not a total plant killer.


Case in point: About three years, I planted Cascade hops at the base of a trellis in the backyard and another variety, Brewer's Gold, at a trellis in the front yard.
I planted both set of hops (or rhizomes as they're called) in a mostly compost mixture, I make sure to water them excessively and occasionally bolster up the root base with decomposed leaves or some extra dirt.


The Cascade hops have traveled nearly to the tree above the garden, about 30 feet up on jute that we connected to a branch high overhead.
Brewer's Gold hops, however, don't impress me much. They're just now starting to wind their way around a few of lower trellis rungs. I swear, I don't treat the front yard any differently than the backyard ones. They also both receive about the same amount of sunlight- probably about 6 to 8 hours a day.
Already the Cascade hop vines are showing the furry first signs of hop buds. If we can get the vines down and out of the tree by harvest time in early fall, it should be enough for a batch of beer.
Yum. Making beer from the hops is a story for a different day. But if you are so inclined, Cascade hops tend to work wonders here in our warm clime. They grow abundantly enough to make it look like even the novice garden knows what she's doing. Sometimes that's just enough of a confidence boost to tackle a whole garden full of greens.

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