Growing hops in your backyard and or in containers is easy. Starting with hop rhizomes or young potted plants from a nursery is the best way to go. Hop rhizomes are cheaper and easier to order online than potted hop plants. Rhizomes weigh little and come wrapped in newspaper and a large envelope ready for planting.
If you’ve limited space or planting in containers you might consider planting dwarf hops such as Prima Donna (First Gold). Prima Donna hops are an excellent choice as they only grow 2-3 meters tall and have short laterals making it quite manageable to grow up strings or small trellises. Prima Donna is a dual purpose hop. It has well balanced bitterness and a fruity, slightly spicy note. Excellent in EPA, American Pale Ale, IPA, English bitter, Blonde Ales.
Normal hop varieties grow very tall. A plan is needed to give the bines good support. There are many ways to support hops, from customised trellises, growing up sides of the house to training them to grow along garden fences. There’s always room, so it’s simply finding what works best for you in your particular garden.
Home growers naturally plant their favourite variety of hops or if they’re feeling adventures they’ll opt for a more exclusive hop not often sold in home brew shops. Phoenix is an excellent choice. It’s quite a unique hop. According to The British Hop Association, Phoenix is "a little known hop as it was originally grown and sold to just one brewer" Phoenix hops have fresh flavour characteristics that include pine, floral, chocolate, molasses and slightly spicy. Phoenix is a dual purpose hop and interesting results have been acclaimed when used as a late hop addition. Excellent hops in India Pale Ale, Bitter, Golden Ale, Triple India Pale Ale, English Ale, Extra Special Bitter (ESB), Stout Porter.
Planting of hop rhizomes is done in the spring and harvested in autumn. The first years harvest will be small. The second year will be moderate. The third year will give a full crop of hop cones and a healthy hop plant will bitter and give aroma to approximately 50 -100 litres of beer.
Hope you have fun growing hops and enjoy your homemade beer produced with the freshest hops your likely to come by :)