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Basic hops growing advice needed. NE Alabama

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Soulshine2

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I've grown may things in the past , tobacco being one of them successfully.
After 3 years of homebrewing I've decided I'd try growing my own hops. I realize they won't get productive for maybe a couple years but by the time they come into full swing,I'll be retired and I'll be able to use my harvests. In the meantime, if I get any more than I need I'll peddle/trade some here to others .
Yesterday in the mail I received 1 rhizome each with hops twine- Crystal, Mt Hood and Tettnanger. Last weekend at Tractor Supply they had Nugget so I bought one of those.
I'm excited.
On a side story- Last month my wife and I were hit with an odd phone call from the county about our property taxes not being paid . This brought a panic and inquiry of course since our mortgage payment includes the taxes .Escrow was piling up and numerous times my wife questioned it. The sale included another house on the property which we had removed a week after closing since it was in such dis-repair . It would have been a great house for my son or my aging parents had it not going to cost at least $50k to make livable.
So, we found out that when we bought our home and 2.1 acres of property not quite 2 years ago the property with the other house was actually separated many years ago. So they "gifted"it to us within the sale and therefore the mortgage loan did not cover the property tax . We own it free and clear, just didn't know the taxes weren't paid along with the residential house property. So after a couple weeks and conversations with the realtor, the mortgage company , the county,the seller and closing lawyer , we got that mess straightened out and paid the taxes. Sometime this fall we need to get it rezoned from residential to something else now since the house is gone, agricultural maybe,taxes will be super cheap then. In the midst of all that we found through a Google earth and 2011 surveyors report (and locating the surveyors pins) that we own more land than we thought upon closing. like another acre+ of pasture...so we own 3.14 acres total .
The other day my son and I put in a hard 8 hour day clearing brush, moving fences and re-fenced just inside where the actual surveyed property line lies. So, we now have quite a plot of land with which to plant .
This is where I plan on putting my hops...and popcorn,lol.
It used to have horses and cattle years ago we think so the soil is basically untouched ,fairly flat and level ,in a wide open sunny location and drains well .

So, I'd like to erect some sort of hops trellis/supports. I see many that go straight up like a tower or pole. I also read where someone had trained their hops to grow on an arbor or fence .If I could do this it would be great for harvesting and I could maybe just walk along and harvest from overhead rather than having to devise a pulley system or go to great lengths to lower the bines.
If you grow your own hops and have had any luck growing hops, especially in the southeast ,please post a pic of your hop yard and any growing tips you may have or even things you've tried that dont work.
Thanks in advance
 
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bobeer

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I've seen hops grown on a chain link fence before but I think it would be a pain to harvest. With a rope you can just cut the rope, have the bines fall, cut them at the dirt and drag it away to a shady spot to harvest the hops. On a fence you'd have to cut the bines at the dirt then untangle them from the fence, or harvest the hops at the fence, then cut the bines at the dirt, then rip them off the of the fence so new bines can grown next season.
If an easy harvest is the goal I'd probably run twine through hooks 15-20 from the ground then run it back down to the ground. That way you can just cut the twine and the hop bine attached to it should fall. You will probably have to help it fall a bit but it's a low tech and easy way to get the job done IMO.
 

lump42

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It depends on if you want it to look like a commercial field or not. You're correct that you are too far south and will likely not get the peak production and will likely have more insect and disease issues. Commercially they are grown on 18-20 ft trellis, using telephone poles and strong cables. Coir twine is dropped down, I believe 2 lines per hill and 2 bines per line. You can grow it much shorter. I've grown it up a garden arbor(8ft), 15 ft cedar pole tripod, and currently growing up the side of my garden shed (~12ft).

I would start with contacting you local Extension office. The Marshall Co office can be found here. There are some commercial hopyards in the state and the university faculty working on it. Contact them to get advice on local production considerations. I would test the soil in different sections that you are considering using both for popcorn and hops. You may find that different areas may be better suited. I would avoid any chemical fertilizer the first year. It encourages more shoot growth and the first year growing the roots are more important. You'd be better off incorporating aged manure or compost in the planting area before planting.

They are thirsty plants, especially when they get up the lines. I would plan ahead and get them close to a water source, or plan on taking a water source to them (running line, taking a tank, or using layflat). Drip irrigation is more efficient than just spray water at the plants.

Mulch them well, 3-4 in deep. This will help retain soil moisture, keep the soil cooler in the summer, suppress weeds, and as it breaks down adds more organic matter to the soil. Mulch type doesn't matter as long its and organic material, avoid non-organic mulch, like shredded rubber, weed mat, landscape fabric, or gravel.

The first year just let them grow don't worry about training them much or pruning excess bines. Second year and on, remove the first set of bines that emerge, when they are 1-2 ft tall pick the strongest 4 bines and train them to the trellis lines, remove the others. the rhizomes will keep sending up bines throughout the season, these should be removed as well. Typically by the third year the plants are to full production levels, given that they are healthy.


Additional starting resources.
 
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Soulshine2

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Thanks. I read a few hops care sites and they basically all say that a N -K fertilizer is best. I grow organically anyway. Pretty much same as corn, or grass. The hops and corn arent exactly competitors here. I have them in the same plot , but the hops are along the north end of it and 4 ft away. My thinking is by the time the hops is tall to reach a support structure enough, the corn should be tall enough to shade it a little so it doesnt get sun scorched. My plan is this- I have a pile of 4x4s that range from 3 ft to 6 ft. I was going to use them for a deck revision but they arent treated and we have carpenter bees, so temporary structure it is... I plan on getting some short lengths of rebar , drill the 4x4s and poke those halfway into the ends of the short 4x4s ,poke those in the ground with a cross board to keep them spaced apart and braced then affix the bine twine from a stake near the bines to this structure .As they get longer, run the twine ( I ordered 22 ft lengths) further on to another set of similar structure on the 6 ft long ones and so on until it reaches mature length . Not completely vertical but more grown on a supported slope (picture a miniature ski-lift or telephone pole ) but a walk-under harvestable height.

Once harvest time is done, I cut the twine loose and pull the posts to store until next season. I THINK it will work.
 
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Soulshine2

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I've seen hops grown on a chain link fence before but I think it would be a pain to harvest. With a rope you can just cut the rope, have the bines fall, cut them at the dirt and drag it away to a shady spot to harvest the hops. On a fence you'd have to cut the bines at the dirt then untangle them from the fence, or harvest the hops at the fence, then cut the bines at the dirt, then rip them off the of the fence so new bines can grown next season.
If an easy harvest is the goal I'd probably run twine through hooks 15-20 from the ground then run it back down to the ground. That way you can just cut the twine and the hop bine attached to it should fall. You will probably have to help it fall a bit but it's a low tech and easy way to get the job done IMO.
I understand the/your idea...it gets mighty windy up on this mtn, which is why I'm going to try my low support structure. I would rather not watch a 16 ft structure topple after some of our heavy storms.
 

lump42

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Thanks. I read a few hops care sites and they basically all say that a N -K fertilizer is best. I grow organically anyway. Pretty much same as corn, or grass. The hops and corn arent exactly competitors here. I have them in the same plot , but the hops are along the north end of it and 4 ft away. My thinking is by the time the hops is tall to reach a support structure enough, the corn should be tall enough to shade it a little so it doesnt get sun scorched. My plan is this- I have a pile of 4x4s that range from 3 ft to 6 ft. I was going to use them for a deck revision but they arent treated and we have carpenter bees, so temporary structure it is... I plan on getting some short lengths of rebar , drill the 4x4s and poke those halfway into the ends of the short 4x4s ,poke those in the ground with a cross board to keep them spaced apart and braced then affix the bine twine from a stake near the bines to this structure .As they get longer, run the twine ( I ordered 22 ft lengths) further on to another set of similar structure on the 6 ft long ones and so on until it reaches mature length . Not completely vertical but more grown on a supported slope (picture a miniature ski-lift or telephone pole ) but a walk-under harvestable height.

Once harvest time is done, I cut the twine loose and pull the posts to store until next season. I THINK it will work.
Most commercial fertilizers have N-K in them, but the how much and when can come from a soil test. I would at least plan on using a slow release fertilizer if not. They provide fertility slower so the plant absorbs more and less is leached through the soil. All plants grown in close proximity are competitors, even plants of the same species. They are all competing for water, fertility, and space. I would space them at least 2-3 ft apart, if for nothing else ease of care and harvest. As far as the vertical support, really anything can work on the home scale since we are typically hand harvesting. Commercial operations are often mechanized and are restricted by required efficiency and mechanical limitations. For future years, you don't have to purchase specific hop twine, any coarse, heavy twine will do. I often use bailing twine since it's readily available around me. Good luck!
 
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Soulshine2

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Most commercial fertilizers have N-K in them, but the how much and when can come from a soil test. I would at least plan on using a slow release fertilizer if not. They provide fertility slower so the plant absorbs more and less is leached through the soil. All plants grown in close proximity are competitors, even plants of the same species. They are all competing for water, fertility, and space. I would space them at least 2-3 ft apart, if for nothing else ease of care and harvest. As far as the vertical support, really anything can work on the home scale since we are typically hand harvesting. Commercial operations are often mechanized and are restricted by required efficiency and mechanical limitations. For future years, you don't have to purchase specific hop twine, any coarse, heavy twine will do. I often use bailing twine since it's readily available around me. Good luck!
I have a 26 yr old degree in horticulture so all the fertility explanations are appreciated . I may be out of practice ,just need refreshing once in a while.
yeah that hop cord...they made it sound like it was something special.Just plain old 3 twist sisal rope .
 
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Soulshine2

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I built my experimental temporary structural support this afternoon, just got it built right between downpours too. Ill post pics asap.

BTW- the Tettnager is already greening up and leafing out !!
Cool and rainy next couple days.
 
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Soulshine2

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Heres my starter hop yard arbor structure. All repurposed 4x4s .The posts I put a 50d nail with the head cut off in the bottom as a spike , the tops I cut as an open mortise, the cross members are cut with tenons ,set and screwed to secure.
Once they get going I'll build another structure or 2 just like this behind it 6 and 12 ft further and string the twine up on them.
I happened to pick up another Nugget rhizome at Tractor Supply yesterday . If you're looking to grow some and have a TSC near you , theyre on the shelves with the grapes and raspberries...which I also bought. A Golden raspberry wheat is sounding really good ,right?
 
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Soulshine2

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The tettnanger has already grown an inch in one day.
 
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Soulshine2

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Went out at 330 this morning before work to peek on the hops. All but the Nugget were good , nugget basically died out. Wife already ordered me up replacement..hallertauer mittelfreu plant on it's way.
 
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Would planting hops on a slope be okay? View attachment 625552
I really dont know. This is my first time growing it. It has to grow around a support of some kind which is why they suggest a coir or jute-like string or rope, light cable even since it will have some weight to it, its a bine rather than a vine so it doesnt have tendrils or hold-fasts, it has to twist around something. I think on a sloped ground it may not .
We're at 1300 ft on top of a small mountain and sometimes the wind gusts can get upwards of 50 mph. Its normal to have a breeze nearly every day but if a front blows in , it gets windy fast and furious. It was this reason I decided against the typical totally vertical 16-20 ft structures with cables and guy wires and am experimenting with this horizontal arbor configuration as I've shown. I'm not growing for industry , only for myself and any surplus may be sold/traded to fellow brewers here .So, if I dont have peak or optimal bumper crop harvests ,I'm ok with that . Trial and error , learn as I go . As with everything else I've done ,its probably going to be way more than I need for myself anyway.
This past week I was working 7/12s in a US Steel plant (Fairfield ,AL)for an outage. I was getting up at 2:45 every morning and driving 1:45 to work , work 12 hrs then drive home,eat, shower and hit the bed at 9 . No time for anything else. Our part of the job ended yesterday so we're done until the next job comes up. Millwright Life.
Felt good to sleep in this morning.
We had good weather and a couple cooler days with rain. Plants are growing nicely .Sun is shining bright this morning. I'll take some pics later today .
 

lump42

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Would planting hops on a slope be okay? View attachment 625552
You can grow on a slope, but if you are looking to harvest off cones, I would suggest some sort of trellis or structure for them to grow on. They will only produce flower-bearing side shoots from vertical growing bines. Also, hops are thirst plants, and slopes tend to dry out more quickly so plan out an irrigation plan. Building a berm just below the plants will help capture water and direct it into the ground instead of just flowing downhill. This would not be my first choice because it would be difficult to get to, tend to, weed, and harvest. You could make it work if it were your only option.
 

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I had a feeling this would be the answer. The reason I ask is I have limited options for planting where we get good exposure to the Southern sky. How important is the southern sky for hops?
 
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Soulshine2

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just for S&G's I pulled the Nugget rhizomes from Tractor Supply yesterday to see whats going on. When I planted them just over a week ago, they each had growing shoots . I pulled them up and nothing. The shoots they did have are now gone. I'm pretty sure theyre dead. The other 3 I bought online and planted 5 ft away on each side are flourishing. I had similar results with some golden raspberry canes I bought there as well, dead sticks. Looks like Im done buying plants from TSC . If anyone went out and bought them after I said they had them and had similar results, my apologies.
 

lump42

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I had a feeling this would be the answer. The reason I ask is I have limited options for planting where we get good exposure to the Southern sky. How important is the southern sky for hops?
Southern sky isn't as important as the site receiving 6+ hours of direct sunlight. That's the general lower cutoff for 'Full Sun' sites, more sun exposure time the better. If that is the only place that gets plenty of sun, I'd go with it. Either build a wide terraced raised bed or be prepared to work on a slope. Water tends to run across a slope and not infiltrate into the soil profile, so I would at least build a small berm downhill of the crowns to capture some rain water.
 

lump42

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just for S&G's I pulled the Nugget rhizomes from Tractor Supply yesterday to see whats going on. When I planted them just over a week ago, they each had growing shoots . I pulled them up and nothing. The shoots they did have are now gone. I'm pretty sure theyre dead. The other 3 I bought online and planted 5 ft away on each side are flourishing. I had similar results with some golden raspberry canes I bought there as well, dead sticks. Looks like Im done buying plants from TSC . If anyone went out and bought them after I said they had them and had similar results, my apologies.
I've had similar results with the bag of sawdust and plant crown from the big box stores. It's a toss up whether they will grow. Forgot to order asparagus crowns this spring, so took a chance with some from Lowes. 0/5 have grown. The don't store them well, and are likely harvested last fall and kept in a warehouse somewhere.
 
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Soulshine2

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FedEx delivered my hops plant yesterday amid the rain storms we had here in the south . I had to laugh though . The box was labeled in sharpie marker "Live Plants" and had a bunch of holes poked in it like they just stabbed it with scissors as if it was a live animal and it needed breathing holes,lol.
It was a 4x4 inch pot with a very healthy looking Hallertauer Mittelfreuh plant. About the same size as the other plants I have going so it doesnt need much "catch up "time.
Taped down across the surface of the soil and down to the bottom of the box, surrounded by brown paper for cushion. Very well packed. Sent on Tuesday and delivered Thursday around 3.
from Sandy Ridge hops farms in Zeeland,MI.
https://sandyridgefarmsinc.com/product/hallertau-m-f/
When I caught a break in the rain I ran out to plant it in the hop yard. Supposed to rain pretty much the whole weekend .
 

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We do a lot of trellis over here. I use 4x4 75lb cement per post on 6' or 8' spans and then u nail 2x4 wire I buy by the roll it's 6' tall and I leave 12 inches from the bottom. Last pretty good, just do not be skimpy on the u nails, you'd be surprised at how much those vines end up weighing, be it berries, jasmine, or Hops.
Another cool Hop runner is PVC need good length to arc it but with 3 posts and drilled to let the PVC thread thru you have some nice arches to grow Hops that are about 20' from root to tip.
My Two Tractor Supply Vines have not come up yet either, but that don't mean they won't later or it's T.S, my Echinacia flowers never came up and some of my privots did not make it and they were sent from the Nursery. Check your Zone and cold days (like apples) see if you have the right strain for you Zone.
 
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We do a lot of trellis over here. I use 4x4 75lb cement per post on 6' or 8' spans and then u nail 2x4 wire I buy by the roll it's 6' tall and I leave 12 inches from the bottom. Last pretty good, just do not be skimpy on the u nails, you'd be surprised at how much those vines end up weighing, be it berries, jasmine, or Hops.
Another cool Hop runner is PVC need good length to arc it but with 3 posts and drilled to let the PVC thread thru you have some nice arches to grow Hops that are about 20' from root to tip.
My Two Tractor Supply Vines have not come up yet either, but that don't mean they won't later or it's T.S, my Echinacia flowers never came up and some of my privots did not make it and they were sent from the Nursery. Check your Zone and cold days (like apples) see if you have the right strain for you Zone.
most of north Alabama is zone 7a . I've read, however ,since were up on this little 1300' ASL mountain that we're 7b . Hops is good from I think zones 4 to 8. Should be fine.
 

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It's more complex than that though, as climate zones don't take account of daylength, which depends on latitude and which hops are pretty sensitive to.

35°N/S is traditionally regarded as the limit for good flowering although in reality there seems to be some flex on that, which is somewhat dependent on variety. Expect US varieties to be happier than European noble varieties.
 

lump42

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It's more complex than that though, as climate zones don't take account of daylength, which depends on latitude and which hops are pretty sensitive to.

35°N/S is traditionally regarded as the limit for good flowering although in reality there seems to be some flex on that, which is somewhat dependent on variety. Expect US varieties to be happier than European noble varieties.
There has been research in recent years in the South Atlantic and Gulf states on commercial hops production and several commercial operations have started. From what I've read, it is very variety dependent. Cascade and chinook seem to be suggested varieties commercially. Also, there are some varieties that are daylight neutral.

For homebrewers, I believe other varieties may work. It just may not have full yield, a minor concern for homebrewers.
 

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It's more complex than that though, as climate zones don't take account of daylength, which depends on latitude and which hops are pretty sensitive to.

35°N/S is traditionally regarded as the limit for good flowering although in reality there seems to be some flex on that, which is somewhat dependent on variety. Expect US varieties to be happier than European noble varieties.
This. I'm at 42°. Cascade grows well. Sterling and Tett...grew, but clearly didn't come wearing their party pants to my MA back yard.
 

lump42

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This. I'm at 42°. Cascade grows well. Sterling and Tett...grew, but clearly didn't come wearing their party pants to my MA back yard.
Though the poor growth may have been due to day length, weather, disease and pests, soil fertility, cultivar vigor, or cultivar yield potential may have been an issue as well. Climatic zones (actually called cold hardiness zones) are important, but so is the heat tolerance zone as well (here). Unfortunately, this is usually on considered with ornamental plants.
 

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Im from Kentucky and my hops grow alright. Like someone mentioned, bugs and disease are a bitch. You defiantly got to get a trellis up asap preferably 12-18 ft. If your gonna sell them, find your market and hope they will buy them whole cone. Fehr brothers out of NY is a good place to order cable, hardware and coir. Keep in mind you will have to have an analysis run on each variety at $15 each, that is my problem. I couldnt quit buying different varieties. This is my harvester, cable rigger and coir runner. Do you recognize it?
 

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Im from Kentucky and my hops grow alright. Like someone mentioned, bugs and disease are a bitch. You defiantly got to get a trellis up asap preferably 12-18 ft. If your gonna sell them, find your market and hope they will buy them whole cone. Fehr brothers out of NY is a good place to order cable, hardware and coir. Keep in mind you will have to have an analysis run on each variety at $15 each, that is my problem. I couldnt quit buying different varieties. This is my harvester, cable rigger and coir runner. Do you recognize it?
Kentucky is a slightly different zone I think than North Alabama ,we're 7b.
I dont plan on selling/trading any except maybe to members here. I'm not worried about the analyses until another year or two when theyre established and I can see IF theyre going to survive here and IF they produce anything at all worth using. I mean whats the most I'd get from a single plant? maybe a couple pounds. If I brew like I have been once a month or maybe 2 , at 3 ounces per brew I'd most likely use most of what Id harvest and vacuum pack and freeze the rest for later use or possible trade.
I do have cable , it was actually 100ft of cable and cable clamps as part of a shed anchor kit I ended up not using. I'll install them to my arbor here soon. The reason I dont have a vertical trellis is because we get some high winds up on the mountain and I think if it were totally vertical I'd be fighting possible 60 mph winds and gravity a lot. What I have is at this point a bit of an experiment in sorts to grow them up the coir 6 ft to the horizontal cables which will be another 16 ft long(=22 ft), training them as they grow. I'll be able to check the cones and harvest from the ground. From what I've read they will grow like this just not expect to produce to an industrial /commercial volume. I'm ok with that.
Your harvesting rig, do I recognize it?? I see a frame/mason scaffold atop what looks like an old boat trailer with a bunch of angle iron bracing.
 
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Installed the cables yesterday morning. I've still got a few more feet in case I need to move the farther supports out . 25 ft of cable per plant at the top of the first one. With the coir for the first 6 ft ,minus the amount of cable wrapped around the 4x4s on each end. let's call it a net amount of 28 ft if need be. The 3 from rhizomes are the climbers so far, Crystal is the farthest along as I've shown . Hallertauer is getting some climbing shoots ready. I'm going to guess by the end of the week it will be on the coir .
 

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Mine are starting to climb again after the initial cut back a few weeks ago. All 4 lines would hav a bines, but a rabbit's found the shoots tasty. I've got a bine on three out of four lines on both my mt hood and willamette. The raised beds are new this year and filled with compost out of the old bin. The lines go over the roof of my 15ft tall garden shed.
 

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so yesterday I got my thinker going in high gear on my water/fertilizer barrel drip system since its been hot and I cant always be home to water .
I made a crude manifold system with some 1/2 inch cpvc ,tees couplers and caps . Blue 55 gallon plastic barrel (wanted to use one of the clear white barrels I had but two out of 2 leaked ,I was pretty mad) sections of garden hose .
At first I thought it would be so simple. First trial only one side of the piping worked, turns out there was a gob of cpvc cement in the pipe . a cut and ramrod through it solved that. Then THAT side worked too well and left the other side nearly dry. It was dinner time and so I left it go for today.
BUT ,I think another cut and ramrod cleaning on that side may do the trick.
My drip system comes out of the barrel to a tee fitting going both ways 5 ft to another set of tees that have sections of garden hose shoved on ,those hose sections have a smaller piece of cpvc shoved in with caps which I drilled 1/16inch holes to drip onto the base of the plants. They dont drip , but rather a small stream,which I need to slow down and the barrel valve is only cracked open. I'm thinking of shoving a cotton ball inside the capped ends to slow the flow down to a drip. The idea is to make the 55 gallons last an entire week to 10 days between 4 plants at 1 gallon per day . wish me luck.
 

lump42

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so yesterday I got my thinker going in high gear on my water/fertilizer barrel drip system since its been hot and I cant always be home to water .
I made a crude manifold system with some 1/2 inch cpvc ,tees couplers and caps . Blue 55 gallon plastic barrel (wanted to use one of the clear white barrels I had but two out of 2 leaked ,I was pretty mad) sections of garden hose .
At first I thought it would be so simple. First trial only one side of the piping worked, turns out there was a gob of cpvc cement in the pipe . a cut and ramrod through it solved that. Then THAT side worked too well and left the other side nearly dry. It was dinner time and so I left it go for today.
BUT ,I think another cut and ramrod cleaning on that side may do the trick.
My drip system comes out of the barrel to a tee fitting going both ways 5 ft to another set of tees that have sections of garden hose shoved on ,those hose sections have a smaller piece of cpvc shoved in with caps which I drilled 1/16inch holes to drip onto the base of the plants. They dont drip , but rather a small stream,which I need to slow down and the barrel valve is only cracked open. I'm thinking of shoving a cotton ball inside the capped ends to slow the flow down to a drip. The idea is to make the 55 gallons last an entire week to 10 days between 4 plants at 1 gallon per day . wish me luck.
Just throwing out ideas as refresher/ reference. Feel free to disregard.

I'd use a digital hose timer to control the on/off period. It will be more efficient to have it come on early morning, 5-6AM. The water will soak in with less evaporating. You probably won't need a gallon per day until they get more top growth. It's better to under water than over water. If you can soak the ground around them every 3-4 days, that will encourage more roots to grow deeper as they chase the water down. In the long run it will cause the plants to be more drought tolerant.

Be sure that the water from the tanks is entering the center of the manifold to keep pressures as consistent as possible. If the CPVC manifold is causing issues, there are four way brass manifolds that have built in shutoff valve to help with line balancing, Other option to help balance line flow rates, would be to install shutoffs at each line to manually adjust. Illustration below is similar to systems I've built recently. If this is all gravity feed, for every 2.3ft you raise the barrel, you gain 1 psi of head pressure.

If the cotton ball doesn't work, a small section of soaker hose would be a cheap alternative, 1-3 ft should be sufficient. To measure the flow rate time how long it takes to fill a bucket and set the timer for that.

Hops drip irrigation.png
 
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That is my exact ideal design . nice illustration btw. I had one of those low pressure drip systems years ago. solid tubing and porous soaker hose sections and spaghetti hose with friction fit connections and a few different sized orifices to slow the water pressure at the source, mainly meant for direct water faucet connection , not gravity. Yes a ring of soaker hose around each plant would be better for a more even watering instead of off to one side.
I went out this morning to check , its working better,sort of. I buried the emitters in the soil and it seemed to even out the pressure but I think my cotton ball idea is still going to happen. I agree the timed valve is one idea just cant get one right now. I'm still searching for the one I had . I could enter days, hours and minutes and water from 10 minute intervals up to nearly 24 hrs if I wanted. It was nice to have , never had to touch it once I had it programmed except for a rain day or constant on bypass. I just wanted to see it work first. I may have to redesign it .
Over night the 55 gallons pretty much dripped 40 gallons .
At least this doesn't wet the leaves and there's barely any evaporation and I'm not watering the weeds either.
Hallertauer is really getting vigorous. There's 6 shoots coming up from the crown almost touching the twine. Mt Hood made it to the top of the first structure and will be on the cable in a day or so. Crystal is coming in second followed by Tettnanger as far as height.
With the heat we've had I'm both very pleased and amazed at how well they're all doing.
 
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came home from work yesterday, its been in the upper 90s last couple days so I went out to fill my hop watering barrel and while it was filling did the usual bine training and looking things over when I spot this... on my Mt Hood . Theres 2 tiny hop cones like this.
THIS !!!!
 
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Im assuming you meant 15ft ...not inches. Those look nice. My Crystal plant is longer (yeah , probably 15 ft as well) but have way more of the spiky things that turn into the cones. Hard to believe that only a couple months ago they started out as barely 4 inch long rhizomes.
I've grown many things in the past , including some beautiful tobacco plants, but I dont think anything impresses me more than these hops.
 
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One of the hop cones on my Mt Hood this afternoon. Looking picture perfect.


 
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