Not sure if this is the most appropriate section so please move as seen fit...
Ground is warming and it is time to start redesigning my hopyard! This will be my third year growing and I have yet to be completely satisfied with my set-up.
First year I set up a 9' 4x4 post (well, 12' post with 3' in the ground) using a tent type setup with the hop mounds planted in a ring around it about 10' or so out. It worked okay except my plants have been mostly monsters from year one. Many of them grew up and over the top. Three out of the four varieties I planted the first year in fact. The only one not doing so was the Goldings. I had bought Cascade and Centennial rhizomes and some unknown variety a friend had found at an old farmstead. The latter being the most aggressive. All of my hops also have always had wicked lateral growth to boot with side shoots reaching 3-5 feet, possibly more!
Last year I lashed on an 8' 4x4 to that. I also added 2 new varieties, Willamette and Chinook. ALL of the plants grew up and over the 17'. It became a HUGE tangled mass at the top. Could not tell what was what let alone reach it all. I estimate some of the plants may have grown to at least 30' if they were untangled and measured.
So, this year I am thinking about setting up something more like commercial growers with at least 2 poles at 18' and a wire across the top for the strings to tie to. Then guy wires for support. Only problem is this won't really help with harvest time. Last year I had to hack the top down with a pole saw to reach it and even then I had a blend of unknown proportions instead of separate varieties. Once they get a certain height it is hard to stop them from tangling around each other.
Another thought is something lower like an arbor, maybe a big beer garden patio area. With the idea that I would train the hops laterally. This sounds easier to harvest but it also sounds like a huge tangled mess as well!
Man, why do my hops have to be so healthy!
Guess I could starve them this year.