Unusual Edible February 2018

Common Hops or ‘Cascade Hops’ is our choice for Unusual Edible for February 2018
Yes this is the vine used to make beer.  Want to make your own beer, better grow some Hops.  It’s easy enough to do in our climate.  In a colder region of California you can expect the vine to die down to the ground in winter and return to full size over spring and summer of the following year. In our moderate East Bay climate the stems of the vine might remain viable and leaf out early.  The female flower gives way to a fruit-like cone used in beer brewing to add flavor and reduce  chance of bacterial contamination.  The vines can reach 25 ft. in one growing season under ideal growing conditions.  But the herbaceous  stems are easy to prune back to keep at any height you desire.  Eight feet is a reasonable height for most home brewers and habitat gardeners. Habitat gardeners can expect lots of butterflies and moths and some less desirable critters as well, nothing seems to be able to take down this hardy vine but lots of things eat it.   Birds like to eat the bugs that eat the hops.    Expect lots of nature visits.

Sleeve of Humulus lupulus $12.99 at Ploughshares Nursery