If you are thinking about brewing your own beer, it is easier than you think to grow fantastic, flavorful hops in your own home. With a hydroponic system and the correct nutrients you can grow the hops needed for your own personal home brew.
Hops are the flowers of the Humulus lupulus plant. They are responsible for the bitter, zesty and/or citric flavors in you beer, with different types being used for different kinds of beer. The hop plant is a vigorous, climbing, herbaceous perennial, usually trained to grow up strings.
As with any hydroponic, indoor crop, the incidence of pests and disease is reduced when you have more control of the growing environment. Hops prefer temperatures between 41 and 75 degree F, so it’s also easier to maintain a longer growing season when growing in a controlled environment.
Hops plants are notorious Nitrogen and Potassium hogs. When you grow hydroponically, you are able to give the plant the exact nutrients it needs, exactly when it needs it. This isn’t as easy with traditional soil growing, in which the plants typically have to wait for slow-release nutrients to become available.
Terpene hydrocarbons, mostly myrcene, humulene and caryophyllene, represent 80 to 90% of the total essential oils in hops. Myrcene is responsible for the pungent smell of fresh hops. Many hydroponic nutrients are formulated to increase the essential oil/resin production in plants. Myrcene is a common terpene in hops and they have been shown to respond very well to nutrient lines formulated in this manner.
Growing your own hops could be as easy as gathering a few products from your favorite hydroponic retailer or online store.
If you don’t already have a hydroponic system, start with an inexpensive system that is easy to use. The system should be able to easily fit into a corner of your garage or a small closet.
An HID kit, including a ballast, reflector, hanging hardware and bulbs, can be the least expensive initial startup for a beginning indoor grower. For example, a low priced 400 watt grow light kit would suitable growing 1-2 hops plants all the way to the blooming stage.
If you want to get the most flavorful hops consider using a nutrient line designed to create good yields that have the strongest and most flavorful oils and resins. These nutrients lines will cost more than some of the other products available but they will also help create that bitter, tangy, wonderful flavor you want out of a great home brew.
Since it’s a climber, your hops plant is going to need some form of support. Bamboo or steel stakes will give the plant the structural stability it needs.
If you’re wanting a one-and-done purchase for your indoor hops grow, or you don’t have a closet available, but you want to grow in a closed-off area, consider an all-inclusive hydroponic grow kit. These kits offer the hydroponic system, the lighting setup, and a grow tent, so all you have to provide is the plant, itself.
Background information for this article was provided by Rogue Hydro.