Erica, whose green fingers are turning her little city garden into a verdant cornucopia of fruit and veg, has these clues for you:
1. It’s a good buy for a small garden, because it takes up little space in the vegetable patch.
2. However it does grow up… and up… and up… and away! Erica says that it is growing at a rate of 10 cm a day; she has taken to the roof of her house with string and a drill to keep it supported.
3. She plans to harvest this plant come September, or when the flowers have dried.
4. (Here’s the killer clue) Erica will be making her own beer!
Answers – and further updates – after the jump.
Did you guess? That’s right: Erica is growing hops.
We got our hop plants from a garden centre. Hops are pretty easy to find as long as it’s a “proper” garden centre – and not just the bit out the back of a hardware store.We planted them in Spring 2009 – they should come up year after year.
Other than dig holes and put the plants in, I didn’t look into growing conditions. I did google them though: hops mostly like well-drained soil and full sun..apart from when they don’t…
That’s when I stopped reading and why I don’t really read much to do with gardening: there are too many ifs, buts and except whens. I prefer to stick a plant in the ground. If it grows well (which it probably will because nature does pretty well on its own) then good; if it doesn’t, move it somewhere else.
I have now tied string from the ground up to the roof, secured to screws fixed into the walls. This involved a drill but I couldn’t find the ladder, so I climbed on the roof instead.
Come September we will cut them down and harvest the dried flowers, then we are going to try and make some nice hoppy beer.
I was going to tell her about hop asparagus, which I have always wanted to grow/try, but then I looked it up and saw that hop asparagus is simply the young shoot of a hop plant. Erm, judging by the photograph, I think Erica’s hops are past that stage!
In other Garden Pantry news: all the soft fruit plants are in blossom apart from the redcurrant, which is already covered in berries and is expected to make at least one jar of redcurrant jelly. The radishes are very nearly ready to be picked and everything else seems to be coming through nicely. Go Erica!