Almost everyone loves a cool, refreshing beer and more and more people are discovering the ease and fun of brewing their own. The secret to good beer-making is in the hops, which produce most of the characteristic flavors that give beer, and especially home-made beer, its distinctive and delicious properties. All hops are not, however, created equal – and a lot of plant-breeding skill has gone into producing different types of hops with different flavor properties.
Centennials Hops are renowned for making premier-grade beers with lots of character, bitterness and richness of flavor. Traditionally it was necessary to use at least two different varieties of hops, one for bitterness and another for flavor. This involved changing the hops at different stages of brewing. So Centennial Hops were a real breakthrough, because for the first time a single hop can be used throughout the brewing, simplifying the whole process and giving a top-quality result with less work.
Of course you don’t even have to brew beer to appreciate the usefulness of Centennial Hops in your garden. Hops are a great twining plant for covering that ugly fence or for creating a shady arbor to sit under and, well, have a beer. Your hops-covered arbor will make a great talking point at your next barbecue as well as providing welcome shade from the summer sun.
Growing Centennial Hops Plants
Hops are very hardy and can be grown even in the coldest areas, since they will survive at least to zone 3. So if you are in a cold area and find growing vines difficult, use hops for screening and making shade. Since hops die down to the ground each year it takes a few weeks for them to cover an arbor, so you can enjoy the warm sun or spring and early summer before the shade is ready, just in time for the hot weather. Hops will also grow right into zone 8, so, like a good beer, they can be found right across America.
Your Centennial Hops will grow in almost any soil and are drought–resistant once established. For extra growth mix plenty of rich organic material into the soil before planting. Each spring the perennial roots will send up strong shoots that grow rapidly and can reach 20 feet or more in a single season. The stems are bristly to the touch, which helps them cling as they climb. The attractive leaves are almost grape-leaf like, with several lobes and a scalloped edge. They are 4 to 6 inches long.
Choose a sunny location for your Centennial Hops, although they will take some shade too. After planting water thoroughly and water your new plants once a week for the first season. Growth will be slow the first year, but after that they will produce plenty of vigorous stems each year. Cut back the old stems to the ground in winter, but even if you don’t they will soon be hidden by the new growth.
Maximizing Your Yield
Hops need some kind of structure to climb on, and if you want to grow them in your vegetable garden to get the best yield, you should drive a very tall pole into the ground and run several strings from the top to pegs in the ground around the pole. The plants will grow up the strings and receive plenty of sunlight to give you the best yield possible of high-grade hops. Several plants can be planted three feet apart in a row. To cover an ugly wall, just run a few strands of wire or strong string across the wall and your Centennial Hops will soon spread out and cover it with beautiful foliage.
Male vs. Female Hops Plants
Hops have separate male and female plants, but male plants are rarely grown as they do not produce hops and are they are not needed for pollination. Female plants produce clusters of small greenish pods that look a little like a fir-cone. The clusters of pods turn brown and papery as fall comes and that is the time to harvest them. They just need to be spread out to dry and they can be stored in zip-lock bags or, for the best flavor preservation, in the freezer. Even if you don’t make beer, harvest some of the hops and dry them to put into a small pillow. They release a substance that when inhaled will quickly have you sleeping soundly and many people use hop-pillows for a good night’s sleep.
Buying Centennial Hops Plants at The Tree Center
Centennial Hops are a special variety of hops that is the result of years of intensive breeding. Our plants are produced from the original variety and will give you the quality you need for first-class beer. Beware of seedling plants that will not give good results and will just be a disappointment. Our Centennial Hops plants are true to the original form, so that we give you the best plant for your purpose. However, we are constantly renewing our stock so our customers get fresh, healthy plants and this special variety is always in high demand so supplies may be limited. If you are interested in growing your own hops, we encourage you to also check out the Cascade Hops Plant.