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Old 02-29-2012, 10:35 PM   #1
Travasaur
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Default My hop yard

So I have been brewing now for almost two years and have for the past six months been super busy and not had a lot of time to brew. I decided to get another batch going a little over a month ago. With that said I have a batch already bottled and waiting. I wanted a way to keep brewing and not get into the slump of not having a batch in the works. I decided to plant some hops. I did some research, found this forum and have become addicted.

To the hop yard I decided to build. There was really only one place at my house that hops will thrive (hopefully). We live on a hill and the best place for the yard is in the top right corner. The area receives a ton of sun during the summer months, has 3-4 feet of pretty good soil on top of sandstone. The sandstone and the hill provides for quality draining of water. As you can see by some of the following pics, there is already water, additional drainage, and it's fairly open. My original plan was to only start with a couple of plants and see what happens. But my father, who is helping me out with my little project is somewhat of a construction and gardening overachiever. So we went bigger.

The plan is to have two rows of plants which will be 3-4 feet apart. The planter will be about 20 feet long and maybe 8 feet wide. We will build up a planter so we can add some better soil, using a small rotetillereeee to mix in planting soil and compost. The main structure will be made out of strut which we had laying out around the house.

The best thing about this project is that we are using up a bunch of material we have had lying out around the house. We have only had to buy some concrete, a Samson tie, some strut nuts, some spray paint, and the tube for the concrete (so far) roughly $50.

I will try and post pics and update as we go. It's currently raining, which is making the concrete take a little longer to dry. A few more days and we can continue.

Here is the pic of the are before we started
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Day 1: which was really only an hour or two of work, mostly planning and cleaning up the corner. Sorry there is no pic, nothing much looked different.

Day 2: We then trimmed about 4 feet from the deck to make more room for the hops!

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Day 3: We finished cleaning off the deck and the planter is starting to take form. The front side is old redwood deck support beams that we tore out a few years ago when replacing a deck. The back will be old cinder blocks that we had as extra. You can see the extension of the fencing which will be one part of the trellis' supports.

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Day 4: the biggest change from the days work is the addition of the concrete support for the other half of the trellis. In total, the trellis will be a little over 15 feet high. As you can see, we had to tear down the mock up planter (backside) to use as supports for the tube of concrete we poured. We also continued to get the rest of the strut cleaned, painted, and clear coated. Since the concrete will take a few days to dry we were kind of out of things to do for the moment.

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Old 02-29-2012, 10:53 PM   #2
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I didn't realize the last two photos were going to be on that last post but I will describe them here.

I decided that I wanted to be able to harvest the crop and I figured that the best way to do that would be to use rollers. Surprise surprise my dad had 4 rollers hibernating in the garage for such a project. The first pic is of one of the rollers that the actual strut that the hops climb will be attached to. They will connect to the strut support trellis. The support will be in an upside down U shape and the rollers will attach and be able to rise to 15' and lower to 8' for harvest. We will attach a hand winch to raise and lower the setup.

We decided to plant a total of 12 plants and see how they do. I know this is WAY more than I need but it is almost just as fun growing as using. I ordered from GLH and the first 6 were delivered earlier today. Since the hop yard is far from completion I decided to transplant them into temporary pots. We should be able to finish in the next few weeks and get everything planted for good.

So far, I have 2 Chinook, 2 Mount Hood, and 2 Columbus
Coming tomorrow is 2 Cascade, 1 Brewers Gold, 1 Canadian Redvine, 1 Tettnanger, and 1 Northern Brewer

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Old 03-02-2012, 11:36 AM   #3
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Cool plan. I have a similar garden 20' long, 10' wide, and 17' tall. The posts have a steel cable across the top, on pulleys, so I can raise and lower the entire thing with a marine winch mounted on a pole. The only problem that I had was my 9 varieties (10 plots, I double planted Saaz) merged at the top in the first year. So, I had to add some spacers at the top and suspended five 8' 2x4's with gaps between them. You might end up with the same problem with the amount of hops you are growing in that space.

As a side note, I originally planted that many varieties to see which grew well in my soil. I planned on removing the poor producers and replacing them with cuttings from the better ones. I ended up with 4-5 really strong producers and 4-5 crappy ones. I may have to take the crappy ones out this spring. With all the side shooting rhizomes, it may be impossible to totally remove them. Someone in this forum suggested boxing them in. I wish I had done that. Are you boxing your different varieties?

titus

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Old 03-09-2012, 01:45 AM   #4
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Update: got the other two support pieces together and realized there was no way that only the two of us would be able to put it all together. I had to recruit my brother to help up get it attached.

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Decided to attach some separator pieces to give the hops a higher chance of not mixing. There are a total of 4 separators, totaling in room for 8 plants and possibly one on the right end. The plants will be planted across from each other so that they grow up to the same links, and minimizing the chance of the hops mixing. We found another spot Around the house to plant the other 4 plants I have. They will grow up a wall then up a fence and then we will figure out what we want them to do.

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Here is the pic of all the rigging ready to go. The rope is strung and just needs to be stabilized, but I can't do that until the planter is all set up and poured. It ended up a little lower than I wanted but it is 13 feet and should work just fine. The lower bar is the one that lowers and rises. Here it is pictured at its peak. We used a come-along to raise it and it worked flawlessly.

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Next step is framing and pouring the planter box area, figuring out the watering system, and support the bottom of ropes. It's coming!

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Old 03-09-2012, 01:25 PM   #5
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sweeeeet setup.

i'm wondering if once the bines grow to the top and hit the lower bar, if they won't just keep on growing until they hit the upper bar - once they wrap around the upper (fixed) bar, might they not lock the lower bar in place?

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Drinking: a farmhouse with ECY08 & brett blend
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetcell
sweeeeet setup.

i'm wondering if once the bines grow to the top and hit the lower bar, if they won't just keep on growing until they hit the upper bar - once they wrap around the upper (fixed) bar, might they not lock the lower bar in place?
Yes, I was slightly worried about them wrapping and binding the track. So I came up with an options to use down the road if need be. Right now, the cross pieces are 18 inches apart and is sitting about a foot from the top bar. To make extra space between the top bar and the plants I can change out the 1 inch EMT from the 18 inches to 4-5 feet. This will give the plants less chance of wrapping around the top and jamming the track system.
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