Growing on Barb wire fence

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GunnerMan

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Well I am going to start hop plants this year, and I am kind of having a hard time on the proper growth of them. I know they need a wire/trellace system to grow on but I am confused how many bines I should let each plant grow etc.

Also I live in New Mexico where it gets very hot and dry in the summer, so I want to grow some close to my house utilizing my portal beams etc.

I also live on the edge of a cattle ranch that has the old style wood posts and barbed wire, there is about 10' between each post and the posts are about 5-6' high. There are 4 wires on the fence that are 6-12" apart. I thought this might be a perfect setup for some plants. Only problem is they get full sun all day and are about 50-75' from my house. If I were to use the fence it would obviously require a lot of soil conditioning etc, no problem I have a few yards of 2 year old horse crap sitting out here and a few bags of bone/blood meal etc, and an unlimited supply of mulch.

My main concerns are:
1. Rabbits, will they nibble on my hop plants?
2. Water, I can water them daily but in the dead of summer sometimes plants look pretty sad by the time you can get to watering them.
I guess If I watered in the morning and had a good layer of mulch on them they would be ok.
3. Would cattle find my hop leaves appetizing? I would hate to wake up and see a herd munching my plants.

I have about 50 of these posts on my property, well they are the ranchers posts but I don't think he would care if I had hops growing on them, especially if I shoved a few brews his way.
 

Stratotankard

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I've only been growing hops for 1 year and haven't gotten a good harvest off my plants yet (crossing fingers for this year) so take this for what it's worth.

I'm not sure 5-6' tall is enough, I'd shoot for 8-10 as a low end. My trellis last year was 8' and the hops started bushing at the top. Some folks here put eye rings in their facia boards and run twine through them for the hops to grow up, so I'd think using your timbers might work well.

If you do decide to grow on the fence...
1. Rabbits haven't touched my hops, YMMV.
2. Can you set up a drip watering system? lots of people do this and it works well. I went on vacation for a week and didn't water my hops and they scorched bad.
3. I have no idea about cows, but they seem to munch just about everything. :D

Good luck and keep us posted.

Terje
 
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GunnerMan

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Ok, yeah I have never grown a hop before, I was hoping I could grow em sideways on the wire when they got to high.
 
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I'm no expert, heck, I haven't even grown hops yet. But I have done a lot of research on it. From what I've found, hops like to grow up, not sideways. I have found a few people who have been somewhat successful in growing hops where limited height is available, but I don't know how much they actually get from the plants.

HTH
 

JarrodH

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You will have to train them more on the fence posts if you are going sideways. It will work but hops do like to grow up and not sideways. My hops survived last year here in San Diego, (think inland not the beach) where it got up to about 110 degrees during the summer. I was watering a lot during that time and trying to keep the soil moist. I think this year will be better as I move a bit more toward the beach (better temps) and I have mulch covering the dirt on the ground to keep moisture in.
 
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GunnerMan

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Ok then this year I am going to just put some strings to my beams. I hope I can get some rhizomes before its too late, my lhbs keeps telling me "soon". Im about to just order online?
 

desertbronze

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You can plant them on the fence. Hops will climb anything. I know two other growers who have plants on chain link fences. The hops go sideways when they get to the top. You probably won't get the maximum yield, but who cares? I get all the hops I need on trellises that are only seven feet tall. I would try it if I were you. If not this year, then next year.
 
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GunnerMan

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Yeah I think I will try it, next year I think. I have a lot of poles, I could have 25 plants growing out there if I wanted, so max yeild would not be a huge issue. This year I think I will just grow 5 or 6 plants near the house.
 

david_42

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Cows don't eat hops, nor do horses, rabbits, deer, elk, or anything else wandering loose in rural Oregon. Maybe goats, but I don't have any nearby. So far, the gophers haven't eaten any of the roots, either.

Some locals are using hops cones in chicken feed for the anti-bacterial properties.
 

Doog_Si_Reeb

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I planted a couple rhizomes at my parents house in Rio Rancho last year. The Cascade did well and produced almost an oz. The Willamette grew pretty well but didn't produce any cones. Those two varieties like the sun a lot. They were only getting watered every couple of days so they seem to be pretty tough even in the dry spell. They definitely like the monsoon rains though.

I didn't want to take any chances so I put some fencing around the bases to avoid the rabbits, which are aplenty in their neighborhood.
 
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