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Maine Lasagna Hop Garden

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Brizzo

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Hello Everyone, I thought that I would share my small hop garden build. I live in west central Maine and we just finally got ride of the snow so I had to hurry up and get my garden prepared. I am planting 8 varieties: (5) Cascades, Columbus, Centennial, Magnum, Willamette, Mt, Hood, Chinook and Nugget.

So thank you in advance to Arrowhead Hops, Great Lakes Hops and Halifaxhops for providing me with the plants for this upcoming grow season.

I am a pretty experienced gardener and over the past 10 or so years I have converted to the Lasagna method of preparing new garden beds. I have found that the soil that is created when you layer cardboard, manure, compost, wood chips and soil is probably some of the most rich and fertile that I have seen.

The garden consists of (4) 15ft long rows that are 12ft apart. The Chinook and Nugget will not be planted in this garden-I plan on growing them up my covered porch.

1 row will be dedicated to Cascade, 1 to Columbus, 1 to Centennial and one row will be shared between the Mt. Hood, Magnum and Willamette because I don't see myself using a ton of these three.

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Brizzo

Brizzo

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Here are my rows being built, thick layer of cardboard, leaves and branches then a thick layer of manure and then a layer of compost. When I plant the rhizomes I will dig a hole in the row and fill it with soil and compost.

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Brizzo

Brizzo

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A couple more pics, I will update the thread in a couple days when I finally get them planted. The ground is too saturated right now so I can't get the poles dug but I am planning on 16ft cedar trees put 3 ft into the ground to give me 13 ft above ground.

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Brizzo

Brizzo

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I finally had an opportunity to get the rhizomes in the ground, first I prepared some (mostly) homemade soil mix

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Brizzo

Brizzo

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Then prepared the spots in the lasagna garden to plant the hops- its hard to gauge height from the pictures but the mounds are about a foot off the ground

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iowabrew

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So you're not actually planting them in the ground, but rather planting in your pre-made soil mix, with the below materials obviously breaking down over time and the rhizome eventually tapping the ground below?
 
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Brizzo

Brizzo

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Then mulch with straw to help prevent the winds from drying out the soil and to help prevent the soil from washing by the rain. The straw will also help regulate the temps, since we are still in the high 20's at night and in the 50's during the daytime.

So the total planted in these beds are (5) Cascades, 1 Centennial, 1 Columbus, 1 Magnum, 1 Mt Hood and 1 Willamette.

Now I am just waiting on my Nugget and Chinook Crowns which I will probably end up growing on the house.

I will post some more updates once these guys break ground. I am considering planting a plot of barley to try and do a homegrown ale, lets see how motivated I am.

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Brizzo

Brizzo

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Correct, the theory behind it is that the cardboard/paper layer will suppress the grass, the materials that you build up on top of the cardboard will begin to break down/compost which makes a very rich soil. Since you are not tilling the ground you don't have to worry about compacting the lower layers of soil, the gardens are by design very well draining so you eliminate overwatering concerns and you are building soil for the years to come.

I have been using these for a number of years and have had great success, i actually have been able to grow 15pound plus watermelons in zone 4/5 in Maine without using fertilizers other then compost and fish emulsion.
 

FuzzeWuzze

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I thought the reason lasagna gardening worked is because many garden plants have shallow roots, so even if it takes a year or two for the cardboard to decay away it wont effect the plants.

Hops on the other hand have pretty aggressive root structures? Be interested to see how it works.
 
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Brizzo

Brizzo

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Not necessarily, I find that the cardboard breaks down quickly and it really isn't anymore difficult for the roots to break through then the ground. Think of a bio degradable pot. Plus by the time the roots get to a point where they are trying to get through the cardboard it will be so wet and soft that they will have no issue.

But I do welcome constructive criticism as I don't claim to know everything. Worst case scenario I dig a hole a toss them in!

I received my two crowns from Great Lakes hops today and planted the chinook so it would climb up my porch and the nugget is in a pot until I can build a planter.
 

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I raised Sugar Snaps one year and the so-called 6' vines topped out at 12'. So......where I needed a pole, I first dug a deep, narrow hole. A piece of rebar chops up the soil and it is easily remove with an old shop vac. Careful of electric shock! then I got 3" (or bigger)pvc pipe, where else, the town dump. Put the pipe in the hole and back-fill it. Tamp it hard. Then, put some drainable fill, like gravel, into pipe(I made a retrievable spacer of pvc). Then, go into woods and cut some long, thin poles. Skin and dry them. A coat of WaterSeal can't hurt. Now, you have removable, replaceable poles. Take 'em out after harvest and let them dry.
 

brewmcq

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Greetings, fellow Mainer!

I've started all my rhizomes in a pot indoors then planted them around the first of June. Of course I just basically dug a hole in the ground and put them in (potting soil and all).. :)

If you know anyone with rabbits, offer to haul away the rabbit poop for no charge and mix it into your soil.. that crap (ha!) is magic fertilizer, and it's not so nitrogen-strong that it burns up plants.

Good luck!
 
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Brizzo

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COUNTY MAINER! I am not sure about rabbit manure, but I do have access to unlimited cow and horse. Plus I have a pretty sweet compost system going.

I am hoping that everything produces well- I planted my Great Lakes Hops crowns (Chinook and Nugget) and they both broke ground the next day.

I get up to the county quite a bit actually for work, thank goodness they raised the speed limit north of old town, now I have to hit 105 before its criminal speed lol
 

SAMPLER

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Cool method. Wish i had the space to give it a shot. I'm working with 3 year old plants and looking for a great season.

Good luck
 

brewmcq

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COUNTY MAINER! I am not sure about rabbit manure, but I do have access to unlimited cow and horse. Plus I have a pretty sweet compost system going.

I am hoping that everything produces well- I planted my Great Lakes Hops crowns (Chinook and Nugget) and they both broke ground the next day.

I get up to the county quite a bit actually for work, thank goodness they raised the speed limit north of old town, now I have to hit 105 before its criminal speed lol
I know, right? Can you imagine? Hops in the Frozen Tundra!? LOL

Cow (and probably horse) manure needs to be composted, or at least "aged" before you can us it. We have access to a ton of that as well, but we don't do a very good job of planning ahead for it... so instead, we made nice with a local 4-H group who has a ton of bunnies. A couple years ago I dumped a few hundred pounds of bunny poo in the food garden and holy crap! (no pun intended), that sh*t (no pun intended) made all the difference in the world. It certainly beat out Miracle-grow.

So now you've motivated me to start working on a composting system. Ugh. Another project. Thanks.


Next time you're planning a trip up this way, let me know. We live, literally, half a mile from Exit 302.
 
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Brizzo

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A couple hundred pounds of bunny manure? Those were some busy bunnies! I am using pretty fresh cow manure in these beds but I am not too concerned because it is just a layer sandwiched in between a bunch of other materials.

I will have to reach out to you when I get back up there, I would be interested in checking out how you are growing your hops- and to steal a home brew of course!
 
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Brizzo

Brizzo

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I raised Sugar Snaps one year and the so-called 6' vines topped out at 12'. So......where I needed a pole, I first dug a deep, narrow hole. A piece of rebar chops up the soil and it is easily remove with an old shop vac. Careful of electric shock! then I got 3" (or bigger)pvc pipe, where else, the town dump. Put the pipe in the hole and back-fill it. Tamp it hard. Then, put some drainable fill, like gravel, into pipe(I made a retrievable spacer of pvc). Then, go into woods and cut some long, thin poles. Skin and dry them. A coat of WaterSeal can't hurt. Now, you have removable, replaceable poles. Take 'em out after harvest and let them dry.
I am have tempted to change my system to incorporate something similar. I have a ton of trees along the rock walls that border my field that would make perfect poles. I could easily cut an unlimited amount of these trees and bury them next to each rhizome and run a string from the top of the pole to the plant. As the poles rot I could incorporate them into the lasagna garden as a "hugelkultur" type garden.

But then again I do have access to a bunch of cedar that would last longer and reduce my yearly maintenance on the hop yard.

But it would be pretty cool to change the name of the thread to "hugelkultur hop garden!"
 
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Brizzo

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Next time I am in the neighborhood I will stop by
Absolutely! I am in New Sharon so it is not far. I guess I need to get some more home-brew going, my kegerator is running low.
 
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Brizzo

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So I received a surprise package from Halifax Hops today, Ray accidentally re-sent 5 cascade hop rhizomes to me. Ray told me to keep them and enjoy! so what a great way to start the day, but that meant I had to expand my cascade row to 30' from 15'.

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Brizzo

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total count of hops is now at 18, 1 nugget, 1 chinook, 11 cascade, 1 mt hood, 1 willamette, 1 magnum, 1 columbus and 1 centennial.

Now I want to expand the centennial and columbus!

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brewmcq

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My centennial grows like crazy.. as does my northern brewer.

I'd recommend covering up your rows with plastic.. instant greenhouse! It'll give you a jump start on our short growing season up here... in fact, I'm going to go "plastic" my hops bed today.. Give them a little extra warmth.
 
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All rhizomes other than the columbus have broken through and are about 1 inch tall!
 

cram

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+1 on expanding Centennial--it's a lot like Cascade in how you can use it but you get more alpha/beta acid bang for your buck.
 
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Brizzo

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All the hops are up and I decided to till up the grass between the rows this morning. Then I planted with winter rye which will out compete the grass and act as a living mulch/green manure.

So after I did that, I tilled up a large section(about 45x45) of my main garden and planted with barley. I used a 6 row variety called "Lacey" I used this variety because that is what was available without having to drive far. This variety is a malting variety.

Now in a few months I will have rye and malting barley.....hmmmmmmm. Rye ipa? And my chinook and nugget crowns from Great Lakes should produce this year. Might need to take a week of vacation towards the end of summer to malt some barley, pick some hops and do a 100% homegrown ale!
 
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Brizzo

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updating the thread- about 2 weeks worth of growth. here are my cascades

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Brizzo

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A Halifax Hops Cascade rhizome that was extra so i put it in a pot

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