By Jeanine Davis
Hops are being planted across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States because craft breweries are very interested in buying locally grown wet and dried hops. But you don’t have to be a farmer to produce hops. You can grow a few plants to brew your own beer or just to add a fun new perennial plant to your garden. Hops are versatile in their usefulness, too. Everyone knows that hops are an ingredient in beer, but did you know that hop cones are used medicinally as a sedative and antiseptic, to ease anxiety, and to treat indigestion? Just last week I read about a new research study that indicates that hops can help relieve undesired menopausal symptoms. Hops also make for a beautiful ornamental plant in the garden when grown on an arbor or trellis. They can be incorporated into fresh flower bouquets and make for an unusual, although short-lived, fresh garland.
Today we are harvesting hops from the NC State University research hop yard that my staff and I maintain at our research station in western North Carolina. We will dry some of those hops so I can bring them to the Heritage Harvest Festival. Attendees in the Grow Your Own Hops for Fun or Profit workshop on Saturday afternoon will use those hops to make a simple product to take home with them.
In the workshop, I will explain how to grow hops on a commercial scale, in a home garden, and as a potted plant. There will be dozens of pictures to illustrate the many creative ways that people are training and trellising this plant that can grow twenty feet long in a season. I will share what we have learned over the past eight years about diseases and insects, training and pruning, harvesting and drying, and variety selection. It will be a fun workshop; I hope you will join us!
Jeanine Davis is a faculty member at North Carolina State University, co-owner of Our Tiny Farm, and co-author of the book Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals. You can read about her university work on hops, other new crops, and organic agriculture on her blog http://ncalternativecropsandorganics.blogspot.com. You can follow her activities on her family farm, enjoy pictures of her mini-donkeys, and order her book on her personal blog http://ourtinyfarmnc.blogspot.com . You can also interact with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeanine-Davis/1442912228.
Grow Your Own Hops for Fun or Profit
Track: In the Kitchen
with Jeanine Davis • Saturday, 4:30–5:30 p.m. • Classroom 5, Visitor Center
Hops are used in making beer and a variety of herbal products. They are also beautiful plants to grow in your garden or to use as decorations. Learn how to grow hops to sell or for personal use. Everyone will also make a simple hop product to take home. $15
Grow Your Own Ginseng and Other Woodland Botanicals
Track: Herbs & Botanicals
with Jeanine Davis • pre-festival workshop: Friday, September 11, 9–10 a.m. • Classroom 6, Visitor Center
If you have even a little bit of shade on your property, you can grow some of your own forest medicine. Jeanine will start with a colorful presentation to introduce you to a wide array of woodland botanicals, including ginseng, goldenseal, black cohosh, and bloodroot. She will cover the basics about the plants, their conservation status, and how to grow them. Then Jeanine will lead a hands-on workshop where participants will be able to propagate some of these plants. You will get to take home a few pots of these precious plants to start your own forest medicinal herb garden. $15