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Old 07-23-2013, 12:16 AM   #1
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Default Hop Growing in Straw Bales?

So I'm planning on starting a hop garden this next year. I don't have the room nor the soil to do an in ground garden so I've been planning on growing them in containers. At the same time I'm also planning on trying my hand at some veggies grown in straw bales. I recently began to ponder growing the hops in a straw bale. At least for the first year. Anyone perhaps tried this? I would be interested to hear opinions as well. My thought was to grow them in the straw bale for the first season. In the fall when the bine dies off I would break open the bale and bring the rhizome in for the winter. Replant the rhizome in the following spring. My biggest concern is that I wouldn't get as good of second year growth with replanting as I would if I'd leave it in a container. Thoughts?

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Old 07-23-2013, 04:38 AM   #2
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Uhm...no.

At the end of the summer, assuming it survives, you won't have a little rhizome to pull out of the bale. You will have this giant mass of roots poking out of the ground in every direction including down where they will have grown 2 to 5 feet straight down.

Maybe a straw bale in a plastic tub? That may make it easier to transplant the next year

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Old 07-23-2013, 10:10 PM   #3
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Oh yeah, the roots...duh. Good call. I'll probably just stick with the container then. The straw bales produce some nice veggies from what I've seen and I was hoping it might produce some better growth from the hops than I otherwise might get in the first year. Maybe I will try the straw bale in a container...

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Old 07-24-2013, 04:31 AM   #4
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Try it. Why not?

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Old 07-24-2013, 02:10 PM   #5
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Straw won't hold the appropriate amount of moisture and nutrients like soil would. These plants are hungry and thirsty, I'm not sure the straw would work like that.

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Old 07-24-2013, 08:26 PM   #6
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I tried some straw bale gardening this year. Planted okra and cantaloup. Both are doing exceedingly good but must be watered daily in the summer heat. I "mulched" over the top with a layer of Moonure (cow manure - a great slow release fertilizer) prior to planting and also kept the bales wet for a couple of weeks to start them composting.

If the hops do as good as the okra and cantaloups, it should be awesome but I don't know about the rhizome or whether it would return next year. It'll be a fun experiment that I might try for myself next year.

Addendum - cantaloups like higher temps and compost - mine are going nuts with eight nearly ripe cantaloup from just one plant thus far and more new ones now in the mix. Try it!!!

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Old 07-24-2013, 10:22 PM   #7
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Maybe this would be a good time for an experiment . Rhizomes aren't that much so I'll just order a few extra and do a comparison. My plan was to set up some soaker hoses with the bales and maybe a timer to water at various times through the day during the summer. Dunno, got some thinking to do on that. And now we impatiently await for spring to arrive.

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Old 07-25-2013, 12:55 AM   #8
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Experiments would be good. I wouldn't rest a whole season's hopes on it. I would look at it as a pleasant surprise if it worked out. This may, however be an easy way to propagate excess rhizomes as it would make it easier to locate and cut a rhizome off.

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