Besides our aquaponics project another new experiment here at the urban homestead this year is growing hops. We purchased the rhizomes in Spring and the other day I spotted some teensy tiny flowers! Oh and they aren’t kidding when they say that hops can grow 20 ft in one season. The vines have just gone crazy, pretty soon they’ll have one of the arbor covered in the backyard.
Not sure this year we’ll get enough for a decent brewing batch but it’s a start. I’m not much of a beer person, but I did sip an ale on our recent trip to New Zealand that certainly did a good job at changing my taste for beer. Being of Belgian decent we figured such a project would be right up our gene pool alley, not to mention it’s been on our “to do” list for ages!
Hops is not just good for making stout but the plant can be used medicinally and some folks even eat the young shoots like asparagus. I’m really interested in the herbal, healing aspects of hops.
Hops have been cultivated to be used in the brewing of beer since at least 1000 A. D., but they also have a mixed history of use in healing. Ancient Hebrews used hops to help ward off plague. In North America, several Native American tribes independently discovered the healing properties of hops and used them as a sedative and sleep aid, to relieve toothache, and to improve digestion. By the end of the 1800s, hops were being routinely used in mainstream medicine in the United States as a sedative and digestive tonic.
Have you grown hops, brewing your own beer or what are your newest/latest “homesteading” projects, care to share?