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Reader q&a on hop problems:

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Hi Paul, we are trying to grow some hop seeds to brew our own beer with. We are having no luck so far and we have tried many things. We have put them in the fridge for a number of weeks and acclimatised them, this has not helped with the germination.  We have also had them in cold weather as we first sown the seeds in March.

Have you got any hints or tips you could give us, as we are losing faith and think we will never be able to brew our beer!!!!!

Thanks Very Much

The Green Chronicle replies...

Growing hops is great fun. Once they are established they grow vigorously and produce copious amounts of flower heads that can be used in brewing. I have a feeling that hops are mostly propagated from cuttings from the female plants, but it is possible to propagate from seed. Sow them in the autumn in a container filled with free draining gritty compost; leave the container outside and wait. You might wait 4-6 months for germination, or you might even have to wait a whole season. Even then, you will not be able to tell the sex of your plants until they are three years old.