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How To Grow Your Own Ingredients To Make Your Own Beer

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

By Graham Williams

There are two main beer-making ingredients that you can grow. Both hops and barley can be grown at home if you want.

Hops are known by the scientific name humulus. It is commonly referred to as hops vines, however the term vine is misleading. The hops plant is actually a bine plant. These plants use stiff stems with hairs to aid in climbing. They will wrap themselves around something in a clockwise fashion to grow. They grow very quickly, growing from 20cm to 50cm per week during peak growth periods.

Hops are perennial plants and are most commonly grown in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. They are rather easy to grow and can be grown indoors or out. Hops are susceptible to certain types of insects, so caution needs to be taken to prevent insect infestation. Hops flower during summer and the flower seedpod is the actual hops. These can be picked after the seed is formed, usually in August. The hops are then air-dried for several days at which time they are ready for use.

Barley is another main ingredient in beer. Barley is a grain, commonly grown throughout the Northern Hemisphere. It is grown as a major cereal food as well as for animal feed. There are several types of barley. Each type has a different protein and enzyme content and therefore produces different styles of beer. High protein barley is used to produce malt beer. Two-row barley is used in traditional English style ales. Six-row barley is used primarily in lager beer. Four-row barley is not suitable for use in brewing.

It takes a lot of room to produce barley and it cannot be grown well indoors as it needs quite a tall space. Unless you have a large field, you may not be able to grow your own barley. Picking and husking barley can be a tedious process.

While growing your own ingredients for beer can be rewarding and economical, unless you have the time and the space you may want to leave the growing of hops or barley to others.

Graham Williams is the owner of this site is full of books that are about hobbies such as Brewing your own beer, Camping, Bird watching, Beekeeping. While your there don't forget to sign up to my newsletter and you will receive monthly discounts in any new book that is added each month you can visit my site here

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Basic Tips For The Home Grape Growing Gardener

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

By Matt Granger

One of the things that I always found to be beautiful when I was young was to see a trellis covered with clusters of grapes hanging from the vines. Not only did the vines have a function but they brought beauty as well. I always found backyard grape growing to be fun even as a child and I would like to share with you some of my experiences.

Grape growing is actually something that is not too hard to do. For thousands of years people have been growing grapes and perfecting the art of pruning and caring for them. Now there are many modern twists to make it even easier. We don't have to haul water from a creek that is a mile away and we don't have to keep the soil nice with a hoe in the bright summer sun.

The art of grape growing is one that should be showed to our younger generation so that they realize that not all produce has to come from a grocery store. They can grow them right in their own backyard and be overjoyed when they see the first clusters begin to form on the vines. So often the younger generations have no idea where things really come from and grape growing would be a wonderful way to show them.

When you decide that grape growing is something that you want to do, all you will need is some soil that has been fertilized and some patience. I say patience because these vines will need love and attention for a few months before you are able to reap the fruits of your labor, pardon the pun. Gardening of any type takes patience and grape growing is no exception.

To achieve the best soil possible for grape growing you will of course need to fertilize the soil. There are many types of fertilizer available from organic to a chemical fertilizer, all able to help you achieve a beautiful grape vine.

Organic fertilizers such as manure are great because they have been around since time began and have been able to still keep this world green. Seems to me that most of the chemical fertilizers can't say that about themselves. But there are many people who would rather not spread manure as they think it's gross and so if you are one of those people, the store bought fertilizers might be for you. They will achieve the same goal, just with a different ingredient.

If possible, try to fertilize the soil before you go planting. I know that many, like myself, are terrible at planning ahead. So if you are one that didn't plan ahead, then you are always able to spread fertilizer once the vine roots have been placed in the ground.

The last thing to remember about grape growing is that these grapes do need to be watered. On average a grape vine needs to get an inch of rain a week to grow properly. When you are going through a dry spell you will of course need to water the plant yourself. If you fertilize appropriately and water when needed, you should get some super growth on your vine the first year. Growth on the vine the first year is very important for the future of your plants.

So remember, with grape growing you mainly need some patience, water and a little manure and you'll be set.

Matt Granger has been growing grapes for over 30 years and is an expert in backyard grape growing and grapevine farming. For a bundle of free tips and advice on how to grow grapes, visit his personal grape growing website here:

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