Learning how to grow hops for profit is what a lot of new gardening enthusiasts and farmers would want to do. Hops are one of the most lucrative crops to plant because they’re primarily used as ingredients in crafting beers due to their ability to keep these drinks fresher, bitter, and foamier. Given its use and popularity, it would be a waste not to use your gardening skills to grow fine and strong hops that you can sell for thousands of bucks.
Hops can be male or female, but only the females produce the flowers, known as hop cones. Like rhubarb, Hops are perennial plants that grow fruits annually without gardeners having to replant the crop. Although they come in different varieties and grown for a lot of purposes, hop cones are mainly used for brewing beer.
Prices for hops can range from $3 to $15 per pound. This is equivalent to almost $25,000 per acre of planted hops. With those numbers, it’s hard not to be tempted to turn hops growing into a business.
Guide to Planting High-Qualify Hops
Hops are relatively easy to grow, but you have to do it properly if you want to enjoy high-quality cones. They’re usually grown from a rhizome and you can obtain one from your local brewery store. If not, there are many e-commerce stores on the internet that may ship rhizomes to your location.
Under the right conditions, your hops can grow up to 25 feet and produce ½ to 2 pounds of cones annually. Here’s the process of growing hops:
Step #1. Assess the Area Where You’ll Grow Your Hops
The best time to start planting hops is a few weeks after the frost has passed. If the weather is still a little bit chilly, you can start the planting process by doing some ground preparation. Till the soil and add some compost to it, so by the time you’re ready to plant your rhizomes, you won’t have to spend much time tilling and sowing.
When planting your hops, choose a location where it can get much sunlight. If possible, it should also be slightly elevated and the soil area should drain well. Be sure to use fertilizers that are rich in phosphate, potassium, and nitrogen when treating the soil.
Step #2. Plant the Hops
Once the final frost has passed and the ground is workable, it’s time to plant your rhizomes. You should plant the hop in rows of hills. Make sure to place at least 8 feet of distance between the crops as their roots can grow big quickly.
Bury the rhizomes about 6 to 12 inches into the soil. Be sure that they are placed vertically with its shoots pointing up to the sky.
Step #3. Water Them Lightly
Once your hop is planted on the soil, the next thing to do is to nurture them by watering them slightly. Make sure that you don’t overwater the rhizome as it could cause the root to rot. Once they’ve established roots, they will start to grow quickly, especially during the height of the summer season.
Step #5. Support Your Hops
Once your hop rhizomes reach 1 to 2 feet, you’ll want to set-up a type of support to accommodate their rapid growth. Commercial hop growers usually use trellises that go as high as 20 feet or more. Trellising is important because it allows the hop vines to get as much sun as they can so they can produce flowers.
Step #6. Harvest Your Hops
By mid-August or early September, or before the first frost, your hops should be ready for harvest (but the exact timing for harvest may on the location). You’ll be able to tell by looking at their cones. If they are starting to lighten in color, it’s usually one of the first indications that your hops are ready for harvest.
However, the most accurate way to tell if your hops are ready for harvest is to conduct a dry matter test. You can harvest your hops by simply picking the cone from the bine. Place the cones on a flat surface and dry them under the sunlight. Once they’re completely dried, pack the hops on an airtight container and refrigerate until they’re ready for transport.
Mini Greenhouse Gardening Benefits
Mini greenhouses will make your gardening experience even better. Having a mini greenhouse of your own gives you the freedom to plant almost any type of crop you want. Whether you’re planting for passion or living, a mini greenhouse can give you benefits that traditional garden planting can’t.
Other amazing benefits of mini greenhouse gardening include plant protection from harsh weather conditions, the opportunity to plant more plant varieties throughout the year, protection from the constant threat of pest infestations, as well as extended growing seasons.
Planning on Learning How to Grow Hops for Profit?
Hops can be expensive and extremely challenging to grow, but the rewards that come with successfully growing it will be worth the expenses and effort. If you’re starting still starting, be sure to follow the simple steps above on how to grow hops for profit. Eventually, your business will flourish and before you know it, you’ll be producing and distributing tons of crops all over the country.