Author Topic: Just can't find the best hop trellis design.  (Read 8298 times)

Offline enso

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Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« on: March 31, 2010, 10:11:40 AM »
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.   ::)
Dave Brush

Offline BrewArk

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Re: Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2010, 10:31:30 AM »
I like this one: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f92/my-hop-trellis-design-99256/, but it may not solve your problem of having too much lateral intermingling unless you space them a lot.
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Offline enso

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Re: Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2010, 10:51:54 AM »
Yeah, that is sort of the type of design I was describing as my first possibility  It is somewhat similar to how they are grown commercially minus the cross bar at the top.

Still has the difficulty of harvesting the top.  I find that my hops have tended to do the majority of cone production at the top.  When they get as tangled as they did last year many of the cones inside the mess do not ripen as well.  So, potentially I will miss out on a large portion of potential harvest.
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Offline enso

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Re: Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2010, 06:02:56 AM »
Had a wild hair brain scheme last night before drifting of to sleep.  I was thinking, how can I let the hops grow as high as they want and still be able to reach/manipulate them?  Well, if they grew on a structure I could climb...

A tower!  I can make a tower of four posts with rungs up the sides.  Or perhaps a ladder up the inside of the tower and let the hops grow up the sides...  With a platform on top...

As it is a freestanding structure I could put concrete footings in the ground with sonotubes and a galvanized bracket to attach the posts at the top.

Then I thought this morning, what if I made it a water tower with a cistern on top to collect rainwater which could be used for irrigation!!!   Like, a food grade 55 gallon drum, with a drain hooked up to a ball valve connected to my drip hose I have around the hopyard...

 :o :o :o

Boy the neighbors will love that eh?

And, don't think I am not actually partly serious about this idea either...  Despite the date.

 ;D

Dave Brush

Offline MrNate

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Re: Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2010, 06:32:43 AM »
Do it. Post pics.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2010, 06:43:22 AM »
Here's a small trellis in my yard. I am planning to add lines that will extend up to the soffit.

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Offline pinnah

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Re: Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2010, 08:25:24 AM »
I am one of those that thinks homegardeners do not have to grow hops to commercial height
and still get a great harvest.

I only grow to 10 feet, and leave my plants up for the whole season.



I start with a cattle panel fence:



And then extend rebar up from that:



And end up with something like this:




I have been messing with free standing hop tubes,
just rolled up concrete mesh wire anchored with rebar:





Have fun!  I get a little giddy thinking up ways to grow hops, I like your brainstorming ;D

Offline enso

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Re: Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2010, 08:37:40 AM »
I am one of those that thinks homegardeners do not have to grow hops to commercial height
and still get a great harvest.

I only grow to 10 feet, and leave my plants up for the whole season.


I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment.  I just don't know how to stop my hops from getting wicked out of control!  I feel like if I were to only grow them up a 10' structure they would reach out and strangle each other, me, and anything that gets too close!

What do you do to keep them under control?  Do you clip the end growth?  Train them down, over, under?  It just seems they will get too thick and heavy if they can't climb.
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Offline micsager

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Re: Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2010, 08:39:02 AM »
I just grow mine laterally on a four foot chain link fence.  Probably don't get the production, but, I get more than I can brew with, and am always giving lots to the local brew-pub for free beer, so it works out nicely.......

I have about 300' of fencing, and about 10-12 hills.  I'll see if I have any old pictures, it really turns the fence into a nice hedge for a couple months....

Online theDarkSide

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Re: Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2010, 08:43:01 AM »
I just grow mine laterally on a four foot chain link fence.  Probably don't get the production, but, I get more than I can brew with, and am always giving lots to the local brew-pub for free beer, so it works out nicely.......

I have about 300' of fencing, and about 10-12 hills.  I'll see if I have any old pictures, it really turns the fence into a nice hedge for a couple months....

How hard is it to get the bines off the fence at harvest time?  I would image they wrap themselves around the links a hundred different ways.
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Offline pinnah

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Re: Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2010, 09:27:26 AM »
I just don't know how to stop my hops from getting wicked out of control!  I feel like if I were to only grow them up a 10' structure they would reach out and strangle each other, me, and anything that gets too close!

What do you do to keep them under control?  Do you clip the end growth?  Train them down, over, under?  It just seems they will get too thick and heavy if they can't climb.

 :D, I really don't do anything to try and keep them under control.  They get to the top, reach for more in thin  air, and then fall back down, and try again.  They usually form a mass at the top, and then flower.

I only trim a little when different varieties start to encroach on each other.

Couple of points about this bush hop method...if you are in a high humidity area, you could have trouble with nasties.  In the dry heat here in the intermtn west, I don't have any trouble with mildew etc. 

As far as getting them off the fence...I wait until early spring and over the winter the bines get pretty brittle and rip off pretty easily.  It helps that the cattle panels are sturdy and welded into place so they do not move too much.


Offline enso

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Re: Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2010, 09:41:30 AM »

 

Couple of points about this bush hop method...if you are in a high humidity area, you could have trouble with nasties.  In the dry heat here in the intermtn west, I don't have any trouble with mildew etc. 



That was one of my concerns.  Last year when I had the HUGE mass of all the bines intermingled at the top it was a bit too damp in there.  Especially with the wet summer we had.  Lots of hops did not ripen well, and a bunch had mold/mildew.  So perhaps this ain't the way for me.
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Offline micsager

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Re: Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2010, 10:30:25 AM »
I just grow mine laterally on a four foot chain link fence.  Probably don't get the production, but, I get more than I can brew with, and am always giving lots to the local brew-pub for free beer, so it works out nicely.......

I have about 300' of fencing, and about 10-12 hills.  I'll see if I have any old pictures, it really turns the fence into a nice hedge for a couple months....

How hard is it to get the bines off the fence at harvest time?  I would image they wrap themselves around the links a hundred different ways.

I harvest from the fence.  Cut them off at the ground, then just wait until a nice day in december, and they break off pretty nicely as they are bone dry. 

I like the hedge they create, that's more why I do it this way, than any other reason, and since I have hops to spare, I don't need to worry about maximimazing production.  It does take a bit more maintenance, as they always want to grow up, but I'm out in my yard all the time anyway.......

Offline tom

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Re: Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2010, 07:22:27 PM »
I would like to set up a moveable line with a pulley. Then you could let it down to harvest and pull right back up.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 06:45:07 PM by tom »
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Offline enso

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Re: Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2010, 07:32:23 AM »
I would liike to set up a moveable line with a pulley. Then you could let it down to harvest and pull right back up.

I have tried that with my pole setup.  The hops always grow up into/over/through the pulley system making it unusable.

 :(
Dave Brush