We are launching a community hop growing project in Deal in 2017
This will be a patchwork farm made up of peoples’ gardens, allotments, and community gardens run on a club basis.
There are similar successful ‘Grow Beer’ community schemes around the country.
So far we have about 120 gardens signed up including English Heritage’s Walmer Castle Gardens, Pines Calyx, Rippledown, the Martha Trust and one Pre-School group!
We are also teaming up with Ripple Steam Brewery to help produce the beer and mentor the club.
This may take a few years to make our own batch economic with a commercial brewer but the end objective is to produce a locally grown Deal Beer.
The idea is to work together to grow, harvest, learn, have fun with Hops and produce some quality local beer.
How does it work?
- Club basis - Membership for year 1 costs £20 (this includes one Hop rhizome [root stock] and bits & bobs you need to plant) Year 2 & subsequent years will be about £5 (TBA)
- Club members will be able to buy at a discounted cost additional rhizome at £8 each
- We will provide mutual support for growers through our facebook group and later in the year website.
- We will have a Growers workshop in April.
- There will be scope to learn about the brewing process and get involved
- We will need to a coordinate harvest in September over a limited period of time (usually after the 11th September but when flowers are ready) Date TBA
- Hopefully we will have some beer to sample in October at our celebration get-together
- Saturday Stall 4th February - Landmark Garden 10am to 1pm
- Launch meeting - Thursday 9th February The Lighthouse 6pm
- Saturday Stall 11th February - Landmark Garden 10am to 1pm
- Saturday Stall 18th February - Landmark Garden 10am to 1pm
- Feb-March Orders for Rhizomes (root stock) for Hops
- March 11th pick up rhizome kit and plant straight away
- August - estimate what the harvest will look like and discuss options with Brewer
- September 11th onwards Hop Harvest and big weigh in
- Oct - Deal Oktoberfest
- December AGM and plans for 2018
Things to think about:
- We will be using a dwarf variety called Prima Donna - but they can still grow to 10-15ft. This will need to be against a wall/fence/trellis or supported by twine.
- Hops are perennial plants - the root stock could last 20yrs!
- The crop in the first year will be a lot lower than in subsequent years.
- Hops need some sun, watering in the first year and care but generally are fairly straightforward to manage, although you will need to develop your knowledge on pests and mildew. The club will support you on this.
- Soil needs to be well drained and have a good base of organic compost
- Hops can be grown in containers - These need to be of a reasonable size (min 40ltrs) have good drainage and golden rule the larger the better!
- When harvesting you will need gloves and be careful working at height (fence high)
- Hop flowers (cones) can potentially be poisonous to some breeds of dogs so you will need take care when harvesting with your pets.
- Growing anything can go wrong - Frosts, pests, etc. So there is scope for disappointment.
- The Hop plant is yours so it you decide not to participate in future years you can use in home brewing or for decoration.
Deal Hop Farm - Things to Consider before signing up
Or Contact Steve on 01304 372673