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Old 04-02-2013, 05:45 PM   #1
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Default Optimal Soil Conditions?

I have 8 hops plants in a bedded area in the corner of my backyard. All were planted as rhizomes and are in their 3rd year.

First year I had some decent yields, but last year was terrible due to the draught in Chicago.

Since this is my plants 3rd year, I'm really excited to finally get some solid yields.

I need to fill in my boxes with some new soil, but am not sure what fertilizers etc, to use...

My question is, in order to get the best hop yield, what blend/ratio of additives should I add to my garden?

Thanks in advance. Pics to come.

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Old 04-02-2013, 07:08 PM   #2
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Well everything I've read has said" soft, well drained soil", but for the most part that's where it ends. I have terrible soil where I live so dug out a hole and made some boxes and filled them with bbmix from my local bark dust distributor. The dirt I bought from them was something pretty close to potting soil, which I then mixed with some premo compost and some clay/ Rocky topsoil I had. I also put a whole truck load of horse crap in the bottom of my pit to help turn the clay into something a little more usable.

I can't really say how well my mix works because my first years are just starting to get leaves on them. For fertilizer I work go with miracle grow or some fish cut up and spread about your garden. If your looking for nitrogen you could always pee in a milk jug and fill it up with water, lots of N, but your friends might question the background tastes in your beer

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Old 04-02-2013, 07:26 PM   #3
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I've learned some good stuff here:

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/soil/
http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/organic/
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/vertical/

The above advice is mostly for gardening beds. Keep in mind, in-ground gardening and container gardening require different approaches because of differences in soil tilth, water retention, and applications + types of fertilization.

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/contain/

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Old 04-02-2013, 09:48 PM   #4
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Listen to eyepeea, that's some good information!

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Old 04-02-2013, 11:28 PM   #5
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Those links are helpful if I had a ton of time to sort through all of the forums. Does anyone have any first-hand advice whether composted manure, bat guano, chicken ****, dead fish, etc. works best?

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Old 04-03-2013, 02:18 AM   #6
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I like chicken feces. Kinda treat my hop plants like their close cousins, the ones with buds, not cones. Triple 6 fertilizer works good too, coffee grounds have a ton of nitrogen, but use with care because it has alot of acid also.

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Old 04-04-2013, 04:51 PM   #7
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Ha I'm not too familiar with growing the beautiful magical cousin either.

If I get some top soil, some composted manure, and some peat moss, will that be good?

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Old 04-04-2013, 05:23 PM   #8
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No, because all of that would yield an extremely compact and poor-draining mix.

When watered, a well-draining soil shouldn't form a ball in your hands... it should crumble apart. Go with something like 1/3 spaghnum peat moss cut with perlite, 1/3 vermicompost (worms), and 1/3 partially composted pine bark fines or some other unpainted, small-chipped mulch. I prefer composts that are still nutrient rich, but not extremely smelly, compact, and wet.

Outdoor plant shops or private farms should have better prices on the larger bagger vs. a big store like Home Depot or Lowes.

Over time, you homemade soil will decompose and evolve, creating a very rich culture, full of life. More wood/mulch will be needed from time to time to fill in the bed. Just remember to fertilize weakly, weekly For fertilizer, look into hydrolized fish fertilizer (not fish emulsion).

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Old 04-08-2013, 09:01 PM   #9
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That's all great info, thanks for that!


I just picked up 4 bags of top soil, 3 bags of composted manure, 3 bags of mushroom compost, and two bags of miracle grow organic top soil.

I think I need to add a few bags of peat moss to the mix, then top it with some finely cut wood chips, as you were describing.

Here's a picture of the current condition-

image-2693818592.jpg  
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:42 PM   #10
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I took your advice and got 1cu ft of spaghnam peat moss, and 2 bags of finely shredded Cyprus mulch.

Mixed in the peat moss so the soil was all fall-through-the-fingers, then spread a thin layer of the Cyprus mulch (1" thick or so)

The hops will be able to grow through the mulch right?

image-2889043828.jpg  
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