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Watching your favorite ballgame while sipping an ice-cold frothy beer is one of the best ways to spend your weekends. It’s what you deserve for working hard the entire week. However, having to run to the store only to find your favorite micro-brewery is out-to-stock, or the price has sky-rocketed, well, simply sucks. There has to be a better way, right? After countless disappointments, many people are now starting to put their beer supply needs into their own hands by growing Hops in aquaponics gardens.
In this article, we completed a list of tips that can help you when growing Hops in an aquaponics system.
Why Grow Hops in Your Aquaponics Garden?
Originating in China, Hops, also known as seed cones, are the flowers of the Hop plant Humulus lupulus. These climbing plants can grow up to 25 feet. The vines of Hop plants are called bines, and according to studies, hemp and marijuana are its cousins.
Since the 1500s, countries like Britain have used Hops in their beer. While Hops are commonly associated with making alcoholic beverages, it actually has a lot more to offer. It can be added to soft drinks and herbal teas. You can also eat it the same way that you would prepare asparagus.
In addition, Hops have medicinal properties that are known to treat certain health conditions like insomnia, migraines, and anxiety. You can also create paper, wreaths, and textiles with it. Considering its uses and health benefits, growing Hops in aquaponics gardens is a good choice, most especially if regularly pruning of bines sounds fine with you.
Types of Hops
There are about 80 different types of Hops that are commercially grown. These can be categorized as Bitter, Aroma, or Dual Hops.
This contains more alpha acids, which is responsible for the bitter taste or flavor of the beer. To achieve a stronger taste, Bitter Hops are added for at least an hour during the brewing process
Aroma Hops have a lower content of alpha acids compared to Bitter Hops. It is also added during the brewing process, typically around 10 to 30 minutes. Many people describe the aroma using the terms piney, grassy, earthy, or floral, among many others.
This type of Hop sits between having mid-range to high alpha acids while providing a good aroma. For backyard growers who would eventually brew their own beers, this could be one of the best types of Hops to grow.
How to Serve Hops From Your Aquaponics Garden
Today, people are getting creative, and you can find a lot of recipes that include Hops. You can try Hop Flavored Dark Chocolate Truffles. Or perhaps, have a soothing Hop tea. You can also steam mussels in cider and add Hop shoots. And for breakfast, nothing beats a Spring Omellete with Hops.
If you are not accustomed to its taste, we recommend grating the Hops first and adding small amounts to your beverage and dishes.
Health Benefits of Hops
Studies show that Hops plants have multiple benefits that we can all take advantage of. It contains antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting, and anti-tumor properties. Here are some of the benefits of using Hops:
- Cures insomnia
- Minimizes hot flashes
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Treats certain types of cancer
- Combats headaches
Cultivating Hops in Your Aquaponics Garden
Growing Hops in aquaponics gardens will require additional equipment such as a trellis. It is also recommended that you have a vast area to grow as the bines can reach 25 feet or more. Simply put, Hops are more high-maintenance than most plants we’ve previously covered in this website. But if you are passionate about brewing your own beer, we have here a number of practical tips for you.
Aquaponic System Types
Using a Media Bed is the best option for personal Hops growers. Avoid using a Deep Water Culture system as this can cause issues with your Hop plants, especially. Also, it would help if you prepare your trellis to be at least 8 feet high.
The required pH levels of Hops are between 5.9 to 7. It thrives on neutral to slightly acidic pH levels. As always make sure to use a quality pH Meter.
The best growing medium for Hops should be well-drained. Clay pebbles and lava rocks will do best for your plants.
Water and Air Temperature
Hop plants will thrive on areas where the temperature is between 40 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
The ideal spacing for your Hops is between 3 to 7 feet.
Your Hops should be exposed to 15 hours of sunlight per day. If your region does not allow this, then you should use artificial light.
Since planting and maintaining Hops can be tedious due to consistent pruning, choosing fish that are easy to breed and can thrive in most conditions is recommended. We recommend breeds like Tilapia or Carp.
You can start planting Hops as a rhizome. Your trellis should be sturdy enough to handle this vigorous plant. If you are working on a budget, you can use bamboo stakes and sisal twine as a trellis.
It will take up to 3 years for your plant to mature, and you only have around 3 weeks to harvest it. We recommend that you do not grow it near other crops or vegetation. In addition, there are reports about allergic reactions when harvesting Hops. Thus, always wear protective gloves.
The common pests that can prey on your Hops are mites, leafhoppers, and aphids. You should monitor your plants every day at the same time. Look for patterns, check the leaves, and don’t forget the roots. You can also tap or shake the bines to dislodge pests or insects.
Black Root Rot, Fusarium Canker, Downy Mildew, and Crown Rot are some of the diseases that can affect your Hops. To prevent this from happening, make sure that your grow media is well-drained.
And to end this post, we’ll throw a few healthy reminders about Hops:
- Pregnant and nursing women should consult your doctor to see if you can consume Hops
- If you are suffering from depression, taking Hops is not recommended
- Avoid Hops if you are taking drugs for insomnia or other sedatives
- Hops can be toxic for your dogs