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Old 02-26-2013, 01:44 PM   #1
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Default Advice on a hop trellis

I am planning on planting my first hops this spring. In Atlanta, looking at cascade primarily, need something that can stand the heat. My spot gets tons of sun and is right next to a creek with pretty good soil.

I have a bat box on a 15' metal pole, which the bats never took to. Plan on using it to grow the hops. Should I attach twine or rope vertically up the pole and then also at an angle coming from the top down to the ground at an angle? My only concern is how to harvest hops that high up without a huge step ladder. I have an 18' extension ladder but I won't be able to prop it against anything other than the pole and how would I reach the hops growing down at an angle? Would I just go up and cut the whole thing down at harvest time?

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Old 02-26-2013, 02:19 PM   #2
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Twine or string up to the top would work well. You could attach a pole to the top, in the shape of a T, and run the twine back to the bottom. I use a removable trellis with iron pipe and wire. I can take it down for easy harvest.

Hops grow fast and heavy, so it would be best to start off with good planning and make the eventual harvest easier. You do cut the bines back to 3-4" before winter.

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Old 02-26-2013, 02:56 PM   #3
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If you plan to use the one pole, a hop tepee works well. One idea is to put a ring or pulley at the top and then a cut piece of pipe (say six inches) that's a larger diameter than the pole to slip over the pole. You can drill o hole at the end of the cut section of pipe and attach thin steel cable or strong nylon string/rope so you can raise and lower the cut section of pipe. On the bottom of the cut section of pipe you can drill some holes--however many drops you want--and attach the climbing strings, using coir, jute, or twine. That way, come harvest, you can lower the entire tepee set up for harvesting, an then raise it back up to let the bines finishing out the season. Hopefully, this description makes sense...

Here's a picture from a friend to help clarify. Just be sure that you have enough extra cable/rope to be able to lower the bines...

photo-1-1-.jpg  
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Old 02-26-2013, 04:34 PM   #4
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This is a great idea. I will remove the bat box so I can slip the pipe over it. Teepee is the plan I had but more of a two dimensional teepee. I have a creek on one side and lawn on the other so will just have a string going down to the ground at an angle at 9 o clock and 3 o clock, plus a vibe going up the pole. How many rhizomes should I plant at each of the three places?

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Old 02-26-2013, 05:04 PM   #5
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I'd plant only one rhizome per spot if they look fresh and viable. Perhaps, reconsider your idea of having a bine climb the pole itself. For one, it might not climb it--they tend to need some fibrous material to latch onto. Plus, a bine climbing the pole will likely tangle up your ability to lower the pipe collar. That, frankly, is my biggest concern with this idea and your 15' bat-pole. Hops tend to climb well above 15' so you might have a tangled mess at the top that could make lowering difficult. I would probably have a cable/rope extending down from the collar to act as an emergency pull in case you have to give it a good tug to break it free enough to slip down.

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Old 02-26-2013, 05:26 PM   #6
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Good point. I was thinking of running twine up the pole for the vines to cling to but that would def stop the collar. Well if hops are like most plantings in Georgia, first year it sleeps, second year it creeps, third year it leaps. So I think two, 20' long strings at an angle to the top would be ok for now. I hope I have the problem of them outgrowing it. Will do the collar to lower the strings and not do a plant up the pole.

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On Deck: Watermelon wheat, house IPA
Primary: EMPTY!
Secondary: ALSO EMPTY!
On tap: Hop Hammer, Cottage House Saison, Western MI IPA, Petite Saison d'ete, Centennial Blonde, caramel apple cider
Bottled: Weizenbier, LaChouffe Clone, La Fin Du Monde Clone, Cottage House Oaked Saison with Chardonnay

Text to SWMBO: "Honey I'm having one more pint with the guys, be home in 20 minutes. If I'm not home by then, read this message again."
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