THANKS; now I'm planning to plant my hops

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THANKS; now I'm planning to plant my hops

Postby billvelek » Wed Feb 08, 2006 12:33 pm

I recently posted in a number of different brewing forums trying to find out whether growing hops at home is worthwhile. I'm sorry that I was a bit late in responding to many posts, and some I just never got around to at all. That might have seemed rude and unappreciative on my part, so I want to explain that I have had many things to deal with lately, including my wife having surgery to remove a tumor and part of her thyroid, so she has been at home recouperating. We just received the lab report on the biopsy late last week, and THANK GOD it was benign. Now I'll be able to pay more attention to my posts, and to brewing beer and making wine; right now I'm thawing out a 5-gallon bucket of frozen juice, and I'm going to take an inventory of my beer supplies later. At this time, I want to thank all of our brewing friends for their prayers and supportive emails.

Anyway, from the various replies that I've received, I've determined that hops can, indeed, grow in Arkansas, but that I shouldn't put them in my garden, and I need to keep them away from my tomatoes due to wilt. The majority of people reported that hops are easy to grow and make a BIG difference in the quality of homebrew. I've picked a nice spot in my yard that should work, am getting ready to order my rhizomes, and am planning a trellis of sorts. That is what I am writing about now -- to see what folks think of this idea. Instead of using a pulley which could jam from the bines, my thoughts are of using a removable lock-pin at the base of each pole, to be able to just swivel the pole down to a horizontal position. Until I drop it down to harvest the hops cones, I will also use cable and stakes for guidelines to help support it against the wind. Does anyone think that will work? Thanks for any advice.

Beautiful day today; just finished tilling up the spot I've picked for my hops, and I've just cracked open a bottle of homebrew. :-) HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN!

Cheers, Bill Velek
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Trellis

Postby brewmeisterintng » Fri May 19, 2006 7:34 am

Your trellis is only limited by your imangine. I have tried PVC and found it to be too flexable so this year I am using a treated 4X4X6. Two feet of which is in the ground and using 10 foot conduit with hangers. I will still require a ladder but I have the ability to loosen the hangers and slide the conduit down to the ground requiring me to reach a height of 10 ft. My brother copied me with the exception that he used a 8 foot 4X4 and put pullies at the top to completly lower the bine. Let us know how your plan turns out this fall.
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Re: Trellis

Postby billvelek » Fri May 04, 2007 2:21 am

brewmeisterintng wrote:Your trellis is only limited by your imangine. I have tried PVC and found it to be too flexable ... snip

James, this is a VERY late reply since your post is nearly a year old, but I just came upon it while searching for more recent posts about growing hops. As it is, I never got around to planting my hops last year -- too many things going on and it got to where I thought it was too late in the season. Anyway, I kept my row tilled, which might have worked out even better because the constant tilling pretty much cleared out the growth of grass and weeds, and I was able to condition the soil well with manure, sawdust, and compost, etc.

I now have 12 plants planted in a 36' row, and the trellis I built is just over 37' long -- 6 Cascade, 2 Centennial, 2 Magnum, and 2 Canadian Red Vine. Depending on how this goes, I might decide to replace 2 or 3 of the Cascade with other varieties next year, but this will get me started. I had actually forgotten your advice re PVC, since it's been a year since your post, but was wondering myself about the sturdiness of the PVC. I have made gates for my garden with it, so I know that it can be pretty stiff as long as it remains relatively short. But after pricing wood and galvanized steel, and considering ease of construction and durability, I designed a trellis from PVC that now seems very adequate in strength, was very easy to build, and substantially cheaper than the alternatives. If it seems to do well this year, I'll build a matching trellis about 12' or so behind it, and run my cord over the top of one and extend to the other to actually make an arbor. Anyway, a bonus was that the lumber yard cut the PVC for me for free, which saved me a lot of time and trouble and made very nice clean cuts -- much nicer than the ones I made with a hacksaw when building my gates.

I used 1.5" schedule 40 PVC which has an outside diameter of approximately 1.75" and is pretty strong until it extends out about 4 feet or more. I solved that by driving 6' "T-Posts" (used for stringing barbed wire and field fence) about 1.5" deep, so they extend about 4.5' above the ground. The vertical supports for my trellis are 8' long, so when slipped over the 'T-Post', there is only about 3.5' of PVC that is not supported directly by the steel post; in addition, most of the weight they bear is straight down which I don't think will be any problem at all, so we'll just see how it does with some bines and some wind. The PVC came in 20' lengths, so I bought 5 of them and had the store cut 3 of them in 6'-6'-8' pieces and 2 of them in 8'-8'-4' pieces. I have two 4' pieces of scrap that I'll use for something later. This allows me to have 7 vertical supports 8' tall and 6 horizontial supports 6' long (with the 7 elbow or 'T' fittings adding another foot of length) for the total length of 37'. The trellis is located 4' from the hops plants, so the cords run at an angle facing the sun and provide a total length of about 9'. If I add a matching trellis next year that is 10 to 12 feet away, I'd imagine that this will give me all the length I need. Anyway, the 6' spacing seems to be okay; the PVC flexes a bit when I press down on it, but I don't know how much the bines will weigh. I decided against any pulley system to lower the trellis, instead deciding to either cut the cord and bines to lower them to the ground for a single harvest, or else to stand on something to pick from the bines without lowering them. Total cost was just about $80.00 for everything, including 'T-posts' and the PVC glue, plus tax.

Am looking forward to seeing the hops grow and trying them out. Thank you to all who have provided advice, etc.

Cheers.

Bill Velek
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Over 10 Foot High

Postby brewmeisterintng » Fri May 04, 2007 10:19 pm

I have found out that hops really don't like going horizontal. I origanally had a trellis that would go up to 8 foot and across for around 10 feet. I found that I was continually having to train them. I am still using PVC for 3 of my plants as I ran out of time to transplant them and with the unusually warm spring they came up too soon. I have 3 other plants (two Nugget and one Chinook) that I have on my extendable trellis. Two trellises are 14 foot and the third is 16. I fully expect them to climb that high before they start bushing out. I have begun pinching the tops of the ones on my PVC 10 foot tellis in hopes that they will beign to grow out insted of up. The problem being that the wind will end up breaking them off anyway causing more damage or I will have a giant ball at the top making harvesting difficult.
Good luck with your plants and keep me posted on your results.
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Hop's Horizontal Growth

Postby billvelek » Mon May 07, 2007 11:18 am

Thanks, James, for the comments and advice. At this point I am pretty much committed to the heighth and planning for some horizontal growth. I hope 'training' the bines on the horizontal lines won't be too much trouble. I go out in my garden just about every day that it's not raining to do some work, usually including hoeing, so I don't mind spending a little time wrapping bines around a string. I'll just need to keep something handy to stand on.

Cheers.

Bill Velek
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New 'Grow-Hops' Yahoo Group

Postby billvelek » Mon May 21, 2007 1:07 pm

I just did a 'search' of The Hop Vine Discussion Forum using these parameters -- "hops AND (grow OR garden OR rhizome OR trellis OR oast)" -- and the search produced no hits. So then I had to manually scroll down the long lists of topics to find some threads. This is NOT a complaint, but rather it illustrates how tedious it is to find discussions about growing hops; therefore, I've just created a Yahoo group that is dedicated exclusively to the subject at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/grow-hops

I hope this is not perceived as an effort to raid this forum and trying to steal members; I can't imagine anyone who is interested in a forum EXCLUSIVELY about growing hops is going to leave here or any other homebrewing forum. I'm posting this here to this existing hop-growing thread and in the 'announcements' forum only. Although I don't consider this to be spam, if that's how it is perceived, then I apologize.

Anyway, if you grow hops or are interested in possibly doing so, please visit. Thanks.

Cheers.

Bill Velek
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Am I to late

Postby Jerimi » Sun Jun 03, 2007 7:28 pm

was to busy last month and didn't order my rhizomes. is it to late to plant them in the south east (South Carolina). Does anyone know where i can order some on line the supplier I had planed to use is all out. i would like East Kent Goldings, Fuggle and Chinook if possible. but as this will be my first year i will try any that are available.
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Re: Am I to late

Postby billvelek » Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:13 pm

Jerimi wrote:was to busy last month and didn't order my rhizomes. is it to late to plant them in the south east (South Carolina). Does anyone know where i can order some on line the supplier I had planed to use is all out. i would like East Kent Goldings, Fuggle and Chinook if possible. but as this will be my first year i will try any that are available.

I don't know how late they can be planted; ideally, they should be planted in early spring, but it _might_ be possible to still get new plantings to produce some hops this year. But even if they don't, at least your rhizomes should get a good start for next year. I'd go ahead and plant if you can get the rhizomes. Don't know where they are still available; you'll just need to check around. Are you a member of my new 'Grow-Hops' Yahoo Group? You can probably get a much better answer there. We now have over 180 members. If interested, please visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Grow-Hops

Cheers.

Bill Velek
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