Hindsight being 20/20, let's see...
I would have taken more care when I moved the plants from the pots to the ground. When I flipped the pots over, the dirt fell apart exposing the roots and some of them were really damaged, so I would have been more careful with that. The Chinook that didn't make it has about a foot of growth that snapped off when I transplanted it and I'm sure that is why it didn't make it.
I also would have shopped a bit more for some heavier duty twine or hemp rope. I used some crap string that I had on hand and although it has not broken yet, It has stretched quite a bit.
I also would have had some anti-pest chemicals on hand from the start so I could have treated at the first sign of those damn caterpillars.
Oh, and I would not let my wife plant the mother of all tomato plants near my hops.
Next Year mod 1:
Next year I plan to use a store-purchased (or Paulasarus built) trellis for each plant and run a few ropes up from the top of that for the main two or three shoots. As the plants grow, I hope to train them to fill the trellises, giving me more hops closer to the ground for easier harvesting. With this, I will also plan for the plants to fill the string and I will leave enough extra rope so that I can untie the top and allow for more vertical growth by spooling up the lower rope kind of like a vertical tread mill or something.
Next Year mod 2:
Another plan for net year will be to section off the growing area of dirt so I don't end up with a yard and planter full of hops. I will either pound sections of stainless steel or marine/exterior plywood into the ground on the left and right of each growing section.
Next Year mod 3:
I will be putting at least one 55 gallon drum in the back corner of the garden as a catch for rain water and as a holding tank from my sump pump discharge. I will be putting a ball valve at the bottom (like a kettle spigot) which will go to pressure compensating drip line to irrigate the garden so I can water easily and use my water more effectively.
Next Year More Rhizomes:
I hope to get a few more rhizomes of different verities onto the fence for next year - those are doing great and the harvest at waist height is going to be SWEET...
I'm glad that I purchased two of each rhizome and that I decided to put a few of them near the fence to see how they did. I also appreciated having a couple bags of manure and the BioBloom fertilizer on hand.