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Old 07-25-2010, 10:38 PM   #1
Zooom101
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Default Sub-irrigation planters for hops

I decided to try growing some hops this year. Since I tend to move every two or three years I didn't want anything too permanent. I've been growing plants in Earthboxes, a type of sub-irrigation planter (SIP) for years with fairly decent results. I even construct my own "earthbuckets" which use the same concept as the Earthbox but cost almost nothing. I also couldn't construct a huge trellis in my backyard. So I used a method that I've used for other types of vines. I spiral them up some chicken wire.

I'm wondering if anyone else has tried growing hops in this type of self watering container with any success. This being my first year I don't have anything to compare it to.

It's been about two months since I planted my rhizomes and i have mixed results. I ordered 3 varieties from Freshops: Zeus, Sterling, and Willamette. I also ordered some Perle from a guy on Ebay two weeks ago that he was getting rid of cheap because it was late in the season. I've had mixed results. The Zeus is growing like CRAZY. I've never seen any plant grow half as fast as this hop. The Willamette started off strong, stopped, and just recently in the past two weeks began growing again. I don't know what it's problem is. The Sterling never sprouted. The Perle is only two weeks old but is starting off strong. I've included some pictures in case anyone is interested.

First, here is the concept behind the Earthbox.




Here is my my version. The "Earthbucket." you just set this down inside of another bucket and the space between them is the water reservoir. You can't see them very well but there are a bunch of small holes drilled in the bottom of that bucket.



Here is the Perle. It has been growing for about two weeks.



Here is the Zeus. It has been growing for about two months. I cannot believe that a plant can grow as fast as this thing does. You can't really see it in this picture, but it already has lots and lots of baby hop cones forming.



Here is the Willamette. It had some problems at first, but now is showing some progress. It is also two months old.




I hope somebody else out there has tried this before me and can provide some insight. I know that hops develop pretty far reaching roots and I'm kind of worried that they may eventually become rootbound. If anyone has any suggestions to a newbie hop grower please post them up.


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Old 04-11-2011, 07:12 PM   #2
messler
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How did this work out? I was thinking of building myself a couple of self-watering containers myself this week to do the same thing.


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Old 04-11-2011, 11:28 PM   #3
tchuklobrau
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I see a few potential problems

1. in the 3rd pic I see alot of spanish moss how close to live oaks are your plants? Alot of shad is no good.

2. Are those 5galon buckets? I would say no where near enough room for roots.

3. Did you plan on having something higher for the hops 2 climb. My 5 yrs located in orlando tells me come rainy season you might be prone to downy mildew and other problems if you plan on just winding around that setup.

4 On a plus with the bucket like that there is no fireant problem is there?


Btw I only say the 5g not good because it looks like you have no holes in the bottom cause it is self watering. Everything i read on people using buckets that small have holes in the bottom for drainage and the hops grow through and cement the bucket to the ground.
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Old 06-27-2015, 03:14 AM   #4
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For anyone interested, I grow hops in sub-irrigated planters like an earthbox. I live in an apartment and dont have access to a long term garden plot to put them in the ground. They grown really well in the planters as it seems to provide them with lots of water and nutrients.

Through the first 2 years of growing them I have harvested an average of 1 pound of dried hops per plant and this third year its looking great as well.

Checkout my writeup at
http://brewbot.ca/growing-hops-on-a-balcony.html

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Old 06-27-2015, 09:34 PM   #5
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Default Sub Irrigation

The only reason people ever sub irrigate is because they are lazy. I run a commercial greenhouse and 90% of what we grow here is sub irrigated. The only reason we do that is because it doesn't make sense to water 1,000,000 plants a year by hand overhead. Plants that are fed from underneath for an extended period of time do not do better than plants that are watered overhead. Mainly because you need excellent drainage for your growing medium. You will have water roots that can never breathe. You can build up the salts in the growing container to a level that will hurt the plant if using fertilizer. The best idea would be to use a dripper system that emits the right amount of water through the medium and the excess drains through. Then the plant can use what it needs and the roots can still breathe. Too much water and you can get pythium or root rot and kill your roots. For those that are using these containers good luck. As a grower you need to be very careful with water management. It controls growth/yield like you wouldn't believe. That's my two cents
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Old 06-28-2015, 03:19 PM   #6
newtonjason
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Hey shaneritz, first note, sub-irrigating planters are more work than putting the plant in the ground so I dont think were lazy. This is speaking from a small plant setup at home not a commercial scale operation.

The design I am using (with a sub-irrigated planter) has an air hole located about an inch below the soil level. This keeps the water level from flowing into the soil volume when filling. Theoretically this also keeps an air space below the soil level to allow the soil to breathe. How effective this is, I am unsure.

I am unable to speak for everyone using this design but I specifically use SIP style containers because I live in an apartment without access to long term soil for the hops. If I had a plot of land to plant in, or were to consider this for a larger operation, the plants would be in the ground for sure.

I am on my 3rd season now with the same soil volume. I am also concerned with salts buildup in the soil. I will likely transplant the crowns to new soil next year but so far this year they look great.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:37 AM   #7
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I'm not saying you're lazy. I am just saying that's the main reason why plants are sub irrigated. The best way in my opinion is always to flush the water/nutrients through the substrate let the plant take what it needs and allow the water to drain and the roots be able to breathe again. That SIP will work as well just on a longer term crop (16wk+) I would be careful. Good luck!


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