So I just purchased everything I need to do some 8" raised hop/vegetable beds, and had a few questions.
1st - I'm in the Charlotte, NC region, and have had little luck in the past with just burying hops, and letting them go. The closest success I've head is with cascade (which I've heard grow like weeds - well except for me) I planted them back in my mulch pile and let them grow up some twine, and they almost got to 5' high *sigh*.
The raised beds I'm constructing - just got all the materials I needed at lowes this weekend: I plan on having 2 6'x6' beds with cedar sides (good gawd cedar is f'n expensive...$120 for 4 12' planks). I have 8 bags of topsoil, 4 bags of manure, 4 bags of vegetable/potting soil to use as the base in each bed. I'll then put down the weed guard matting, and add about 2-3" of hardwood mulch over the top. I plan on tilling up the yard before building the boxes. I will probably also add a 25' hose for trickle watering the gardens.
Besides the hops, I was also planning on growing some blueberry bushes and maybe some pepper and tomatoes in the raised beds. I plan on building a trellis for the hops and suspending it between the two raised beds and having a walkway down the middle that leads to the back gate. I'm trying to get as much sun as I can for them, but they are going to be about 4' from a 6' privacy fence, so they may get little light after about 4 pm.
What hops varieties should I grow in my region? Cascades are a given, but was disappointed with the ones I got last year via mail order. I can't remember the place I bought them from...but it was some place on the west coast. I tried fuggles since I do a lot of brown ales, but they really struggled. I primarily use target and centennial hops, but am not sure if they'll grow well in my region. So what hops varieties do you guys suggest, and is there anything else I should add to the boxes? I've kind of thought about in the early spring/late winter maybe planting some peas in there. I've heard that peas help replenish nitrogen in the soil, and that hops are nitrogen whores, so that might help them produce.
Anyways. Thanks in advance guys for helping me design my hop garden. If I don't get some d#mn hops this year, I'm going to set my back yard on fire!!!!