To grow hops, select a plot of land that receives plenty of sunlight and offers access to water and a support system, such as a pole or fence. Plant the rhizomes, the root-like formations from which hops grow, in early spring. Water them frequently during the first year of growth, and wrap the vines around a trellis or pole when they reach 1 foot in length.
Hops are commonly planted along fence lines, since they can climb up the fence as they grow. Rhizomes should be placed in the ground no later than May; if planting in a cold climate, start them indoors in pots, and transplant them outside in June. Leave 5 feet between the plants so they have adequate room to spread out.
Since hops have a minimal root system during their first year of growth, they must be watered frequently. Drip irrigation is great for supplying a constant water source. Applying mulch to the soil around the hops also helps keep moisture levels high. When the vines begin to grow, look for the longest, strongest ones and wrap them around a pole or fencepost. Trim the weaker shoots off at ground level to prevent tangling. Although flowering is generally minimal during hops' first year of growth, they tend to flower generously during the second year.