hist-brewing: Some additional information about growing hops based on latitude
billvelek at alltel.net
Sat Feb 16 12:08:03 PST 2008
I will mention most craft brewing countries in this post, starting with
the U.S. and Canada, but I have broken this down into labeled sections
in case you prefer to go straight to your own area of the world.
Contrary to the impression that many people have, cultivation of hops is
not limited to the Pacific Northwest within the U.S. (Washington, Idaho,
and Oregon), ... despite that this is where our commercial hop farming
is concentrated; hops have been grown, with varying degrees of success,
throughout _most_ of the continental U.S. Hops do _prefer_ latitudes
between 35 and 55 -- which is everything in the continental U.S. that
lies north of a line that runs from just north of Los Angelos and goes
east across the Texas panhandle through almost the center of Arkansas
and almost along the southern border of Tennessee and includes most of
North Carolina; however, we have reports, within my Grow-Hops group, of
successful growers in South Carolina, Georgia, and even as far south as
Austin, Texas, which has a latitude of about 30.25 -- and which is
farther south than ALL of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Mississippi,
Alabama, and Georgia, and all but the very bottom of Texas and Louisiana
and the Florida peninsula. We also have a successful grower in Hawaii.
So, hops should be _capable_ of growing in nearly all of the
continental U.S. with the proper care, if anyone is interested in giving
it a try. Please see my "EVERYWHERE" section, below.
The recommended 35-to-55 latitude band covers probably 95% of Canada's
populated area, including everything south of a line that runs east-west
through _about_ the middle of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan,
Manitoba, and most of Ontario and Quebec. Unlike the additional 'margin'
band in the south (see U.S., above), I will be surprised if hops will
grow much farther north than latitude 55 degrees because of the cold
temperatures which can't be remedied as easily as short daylight. But
we do have a member in Sweden who is going to try, and possibly members
in Scotland, as well. Please see my "EVERYWHERE" section, below.
Turning to Europe, that same latitude band of 35-to-55 includes _almost_
all of Europe, including all of Spain, Italy and Sicily (although they
are not known for growing hops), and excludes only part of Northern
Ireland, and most of Scotland, Denmark, and countries around the Baltic
Sea and north of Poland. However, we do have a member in Sweden who is
going to give it a try. Please see my "EVERYWHERE" section, below.
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa:
In the southern hemisphere, where the same latitude band applies, only
the southern portion of Australia falls within it -- south of a line
from about Adelaide to Canberra -- but Perth and Sydney fall well within
that addition area above 30 degrees (Austin, Texas). All of New Zealand
is in the preferred band, too. But for all practical purposes, all of
South Africa lies below the preferred band, with most of it even lower
than the marginal 30 degrees of Austin, Texas, which is why electric
lights are needed to supplement daylight, as will be explained below.
Please see my "EVERYWHERE" section, below.
I'll mention part of Asia, too, since I've seen a _few_ posts in brewing
forums from members in Japan and South Korea -- almost all of those
countries lie within the preferred band, with the rest inside the margin
band, so hops should grow there, too. China, of course, is a major
grower of hops with plenty of area in the preferred band. Please see my
"EVERYWHERE" section, next.
The problem with latitudes which are much below 35 -- actually probably
below '30' since they apparently will still grow in Austin -- is that
the length of daylight is too short; yes, despite the hotter climate,
'daylight' is actually closer to the equator because during summer in
the northern hemispher, it is lit 24 hours/day at the North Pole and
dark 24 hours/day at the South Pole. But there is still a reasonable
solution even below latitude 30 (for any diehards in southern Texas and
Florida); in South Africa, for instance, which also has daylight which
is too short, growers use electric lights to trick the hops into
thinking that the daylight is longer, and the number of lights and their
wattage is not as high as one might think would be necessary. In other
words, for just a couple of bucks worth of electricity, you can still
grow many times that amount worth of hops. However, an added problem in
warm climates is 'vernalization' already discussed in another thread.
More info is available about all of this.
Our 'Grow-Hops' Yahoo Group is less than nine months old but already has
996 members as of this post, and has been growing _very_ rapidly in the
past couple of months due to rising interest among homebrewers trying to
find ways to ensure a supply of the hops they want at reasonable prices.
If interested, please visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Grow-Hops
More information about the hist-brewing