Author Topic: Questions from a potential beginning hop grower  (Read 959 times)

Offline ajjensen147

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Questions from a potential beginning hop grower
« on: November 16, 2018, 05:01:50 PM »
Hey everyone, looking for a little advice from people with experience growing hops, as I've never attempted this before. I was thinking about planting a couple of rhizomes next spring, so I figured now would be a good time to get my research done/formulate my game plan, so I'm not rushing around to learn everything when they go in the ground. 

The first question I had was bout trellising, and what everyone's opinions are on less conventional trellising. One of the thoughts I had given the space/area I have to use for planting, was to make a box that the rhizome would be planted in (roughly 2 foot by 2 foot, or some such square dimension) with a 10 foot 4x4 post in each corner, so that each post came out of the ground about 8 feet, and then run twine in a sort of spiral pattern up the posts to try to get the bines to grow that way.  The idea being to still have vertical growth, while limiting the actual vertical space needed.  Was wondering if anyone has tried anything similar, and if so what kind of results they got with this sort of design, or if this would be a bad idea right from the start and I shouldn't even attempt it.

My second question would be about hop variety.  My thoughts were to start with 2 rhizomes, each of a different variety, but was wondering which would be best to try.  I live on the north shore of Long Island, so was hoping someone from around the same area might know which varieties of hop would grow best for me given climate/soil.  My initial thought was choosing from Cascade, Centennial, or Chinook.  Once again, just looking for some opinions on if these would be good to start with, or if I'm wasting my time right from the start.

Appreciate any feedback/advice, as I said, this will be my first venture into hop growing (and really my first experience gardening in general)

Thanks,
A.J.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2018, 05:03:21 PM by ajjensen147 »

Offline denny

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Re: Questions from a potential beginning hop grower
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2018, 06:20:14 PM »
For many years, I grew my hops up the 6-8 ft. deer fence around my garden and across the top.  Bit of a pain to harvest, but it worked great for growing.

Cascade is a great choice...they grow like weeds.  Centennial can be difficult to grow.  Even the commercial hop growers wish they didn't have to grow that one  You might consider Mt. Hood.  Grows well here and will give you a continental type hop choice.
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Offline ulander6206

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Re: Questions from a potential beginning hop grower
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2018, 09:04:13 PM »
Good idea to plant the rhizomes in a box. They grow like weeds and will go everywhere if not contained. Everybody says that hop growing is difficult. Mine have thrived with little attention. They have grown under my neighbor's fence, over the fence and up the downspout. Check the internet for ideas on how to use home grown hops - dried or green.

Offline denny

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Re: Questions from a potential beginning hop grower
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2018, 09:06:50 PM »
Good idea to plant the rhizomes in a box. They grow like weeds and will go everywhere if not contained. Everybody says that hop growing is difficult. Mine have thrived with little attention. They have grown under my neighbor's fence, over the fence and up the downspout. Check the internet for ideas on how to use home grown hops - dried or green.

Hop growing is easy.  Drying and packaging not so much.
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Offline brew inspector01

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Re: Questions from a potential beginning hop grower
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2018, 09:19:42 PM »
They will definitely outgrow the 8 feet. You will need to keep up with training them to grow horizontally between the posts as they grow.

I would suggest that you only plant one variety per box. If not they would intertwine and it may be very difficult to determine which one is which. The root system will spread quite readily as well. Will the box have an open bottom to soil?

I use taller 4x4 posts at ends of rows with a couple horizontal lines between them and vertical lines at plant placements. I constantly have to train them to go horizontally if that is my goal. They grow well above the top lines and fall back to the horizontal lines where I work to maintain some order in their growth for easy harvesting.

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Offline chinaski

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Re: Questions from a potential beginning hop grower
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2018, 09:22:20 PM »
Hop growing is easy.  Drying and packaging not so much.
This is very true, as is knowing exactly when to pick them and having the time to do it (if you have a lot of hops).

I grow all of my own hops in Vermont and have tried more than a dozen varieties over the past 8 years or so doing this.  Cascade is a top producer (I have to remove some hills because of this), Chinook is up there, as is an old USDA variety called Saxon.  I also have what I believe is a variety of German heritage that allows me to produce some decent German styles.

Most of my hills grow up a string to a height of 12-18 feet; the string passes through a ring on a horizontal cable back to the ground so I can essentially pay out more string for more growth over the season. I can harvest without ladders which is very nice.

Good luck!

Offline Ale Farmer

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Re: Questions from a potential beginning hop grower
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2018, 12:33:41 AM »
I built 3 trellises similar to what you have in mind, and I've had good luck training the bines so that they don't run out of room,so I think you'll be fine. I grow Perle, Northern Brewer, and East Kent Holding-EKG less successfully. I live in Western Massachusetts.
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Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Questions from a potential beginning hop grower
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2019, 10:49:47 PM »
Where I used to live I grew hops along an unused clothesline. The goldings did so so and the sterling's did real well.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Questions from a potential beginning hop grower
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2019, 11:28:50 PM »
My trellising method was this when I had a property to grow hops on.  I drove 6' iron fence posts (T-type) 2' into the ground.  I used a couple of hose clamps to secure a 10' length of galvanized electrical conduit to the post, overlapping by about 18".  A little hardware (threaded rod, eye bolts, what have you) at the top of the pole allowed multiple twines to be attached and run out at an angle for clipping to the ground at the hills.  This was plenty stable to support a lot of plant material and resist wind, and allowed a growing height over 13'.  To lower the bines for harvest, just loosen the hose clamps and let the pole down.  You can then put it up again after harvest if you want to leave the bines until they die off before cutting them back.  Admittedly quirky, but improvised using junk I had on hand in the barn, and quite functional.  But did nothing to stop the Japanese beetles from shredding the plants.  They really, really like the taste of Mt. Hood.

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Offline BrewBama

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Questions from a potential beginning hop grower
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2019, 02:34:40 PM »

Hop growing is easy.  Drying and packaging not so much.

+1. They grow fast with little interaction. Spilling the majority while you’re harvesting sux.


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« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 02:41:56 PM by BrewBama »
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