It's in the science The hop plant, Humulus lupulus, is sought after in beer production for their bitterness, flavor, aroma and anti-bacterial properties. Most of these characteristics are derived from the essential oils and acids in the hop plant. With the ability to custom tailor our nutrients and dose the plants in various stages creates the ultimate hop cone. The size and quality of cones attained from hydroponics can be quite impressive! Other issues are also alleviated with the introduction of a completely climate controlled greenhouse. We are also able to stimulate the population of beneficial insects that will naturally kill any pests that happen to slip into the greenhouse.
"Spoon-fed"Hop plants are notorious for demanding large amounts of fertilizer each season, particularly Nitrogen and Potassium. In soil based growing this option is not easily available if they want to maintain their soil integrity, save money and/or not over-fertilize their plants. Hydroponics give us the ability for the first time to provide the hop plants with the full nutrient spectrum at the appropriate dosages throughout many different phases of morphology (growth). Plants require different ratios of fertilizer during different growth phases. During initial growth (vegetative) the plants require higher Nitrogen levels compared to other macro-nutrients. During final growth (flowering) the plants require lower levels of Nitrogen and higher levels of Potassium and Phosphorus. This is a more difficult and costly task to accomplish with traditional hop field growing, however with hydroponics this task is quite easy and in fact the nutrient recipe will vary through all stages of the plants life based on how the plant is responding. A special blend of micro-nutrients are also added to our hydroponics system to supply all of the known minerals that plants derive from the soil, 17 in fact. Finally we use traces of naturally occurring, organic, growth additives such as seaweed and humic acids. In summary this all means we provide the plant the best possible opportunity to thrive and we are rewarded with a harvest that is superior to any other hops in the world!
Density Yet another big advantage of Hydro Hops is the density we are able to accomplish. We can pack 2,000 hop plants into a 5,000 sqft greenhouse! That's over 17,000 plants per acre! Compared to soil, which averages 1,500 plants per acre!
Sustainable Despite a large initial investment of money and resources our methods are very sustainable. We use less water, less nutrients, less pesticides, less emissions (from minimized cross country hop shipping, no use of farm equipment, tractors, etc), take up less land, our rain water and runoff water is all collected for use on natural pasture grass.