My hop trellis design

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anderj

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I started growing hops last year, first year harvest was pretty good and the trellis held up pretty well. The trellis that I designed was super easy to take down for the winter and is really durable. After last season I have come up with a few small tweaks to improve the design. I thought that I would share.


This is the basic side view of the trellis, it looks pretty standard but there are some good details. I grew 10 separate plants on this trellis. I think the vertical dimension is somewhere in the neighborhood of 18', so I wanted it to come down when not needed.



This is the plan view. There is a swath of grass between the two hop beds, it is a nice place to stroll and water from when the vines are 18' tall. The first year I used a length of small gauge cable from the hardware store to run down the center of the structure as a backbone. Although the cable backbone worked well, this year I am replacing all of the others, which were cotton, with cable. I had to periodically tighten them throughout the year.


In this picture you can see what makes the design truly removable. I scrounged some parts from an old chain link fence and as it turns out the horizontal top bar of a fence fits nicely inside the vertical piece. I used a post driver to drive the larger diameter piece into the ground about 4-5 inches at a time. I would then pull the piece back out, clear out the soil and go at it again until the piece was even with the ground. This essentially drilled a hole about 3' deep that the outer piece fit into without sticking up. The most important part here is to get an angle of about 10 deg outward.


The vertical (narrower) piece was then inserted into this base. At the top of each I used a T-joint from the plumbing store to affix a "T" at the top of each. All of the rigging had to be done on the ground and then flew up. For all of the cable I used a small piece (I forget the actual name) that resembles a pair of binoculars. These parts are super cheap and you impact them with a hammer to crimp them on the cable creating loops in the ends.
 
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anderj

anderj

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I picked this design up when I was doing rigging at the Olympics in SLC. You can use whichever type of anchor you want it just needs to have a loop. A few turnbuckles and shackles really help out. If you open them up all the way and once assembled crank them down the entire structure is remarkably rigid. Also, the turnbuckles allow you to accommodate any part that is not quite straight.


One problem that I had last year was that in a strong wind the twine would actually shift back and forth along the cable at the top. This year I am using a few of those clamp pieces and creating small (<1") loops along the top that the twine can be tied through.



As for the mound themselves, they are the same level as the yard with a recessed area that I fill with mulch and compost as the year goes by.


Hope you enjoyed it. This design worked out really well for me and the best part was that when it was time for the hops to come down, the trellis came down as well.

cheers
-ander
 

mnadamn

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Great design, Thank you for the detailed description. Someday I hope to have something along the lines of this. If you don't mind my asking, what all do you have planted? These rows seem to be relativly close together, are you worried about one row shading the other?
 
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anderj

anderj

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The drawing is not really to scale, the rows are about 6' apart (from mound to mound) and each mound within the row is about 4' apart. As far as varieties, the back row is: Willamette, Willamette, Willamette, Cascade, Cascade; the next row is; Mt Hood, Mt Hood, Glacier, Glacier, Chinook. Although they are a little close together, a little care at harvest time sorts that out. Shading hasn't been a problem, they are in full sun and on a N-S axis so they both get their time.
 

beds

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Nice Setup! I'm envious. Thanks for posting that - gives me inspiration for the spring.
 

Dadrick

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Nice design.

What do you use to anchor the cables in the ground?

How about the climbing strings, are you using hemp, coconut or wire cable?

What about eliminating the outside cables and tying the climbing strings to the center wire, forming a tunnel?
 
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anderj

anderj

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to anchor into the ground I used platypus anchors, they were a bit spendy at around $15 each but were well worth it. Here is some more information on them: Platipus® Stealth Anchors

Lat year I used Jute twine for the climbing strings and I had to re-tie them a few times during the year. This up-coming season I plan on using something synthetic, baling twine perhaps.

Out of ten plants last year four of them topped out so with all the different varieties that I have, I think that the tunnel idea would really turn into a tangled mess at the end of the year.
 
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anderj

anderj

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Here is a link to a very similar product, Duckbill Earth Anchor. These ones are smaller than the particular one that I have but I think that they will do the trick and the price is right.
They also sell a tool for driving them in but I got away with a piece or rebar and a post rammer, took about 3 minutes to have both of them installed.
 

fastricky

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As for the mound themselves, they are the same level as the yard with a recessed area that I fill with mulch and compost as the year goes by.
LOVE this idea, and it's awesome that a pro like you posted a design of this caliber. :mug:

Can you go into more detail on the 'mounds' and how the twine would anchor into each one? I'm looking to install this design at my folks place in a month or so... CHEERS! :rockin:
 
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anderj

anderj

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The "Mounds" are probably 20% compost. As far as the stake goes, I just used some branches that were about 1.5 inches in diameter. They are pretty long (about 15 inches) with a notch to run the twine through. If you are so inclined you could probably use tent stakes or something.
 

Fingers

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I'm making something very similar to this design myself. Instead of using the earth anchors, I'll be using auger stakes intended for holding down those temporary garages. I got six of them for about $20.
 
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anderj

anderj

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Ok, I finally got the trellis up for the year (about two weeks ago) and got a hold of my girlfriends camera so here are some pictures.

A view of one of the "T" joints

Can be a bit hard to see with the contrasting power/phone lines in the background. One of the things that makes this design nice for me is the "airyness" of it. The majority of it is small gauge airplane cable.

I threw my back out so I haven't mowed the yard in a while, here are the ladies themselves. Largest is about 4 feet, they were chopped to the ground about a month ago.

The whole shebang, along side a 6' fence.
 
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anderj

anderj

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detail of the anchor rigging, simple, removable, and pretty cheap


The only part of the trellis that stays out year-round is the "collar" around the upright, the lawn mower goes right over them

overview

hope you enjoy

-cheers
Ander
 

conpewter

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Very nice! I actually have a similar design,though currently no top bar, I just have a line running between the two (with added pulleys to let the lines down). Everything else is similar, I have about 18' verticle, recedssed "holder" though I used PVC that fits snugly around the fence top rail.
 

fred_zepp

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Hey...

I'm modeling my trellis after yours...mostly due to the fact that I have also scrounged some galvanized fence post, and have a fence post pounder.

How are your "tees" attached to the vertical and cross pieces? Are they threaded?

Thanks.
 

HBHoss

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Hey...

I'm modeling my trellis after yours...mostly due to the fact that I have also scrounged some galvanized fence post, and have a fence post pounder.

How are your "tees" attached to the vertical and cross pieces? Are they threaded?

Thanks.
Looks like a threaded "T". Looks like an old radar installation. :) Nice job. :rockin:
 

fred_zepp

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Looks like a threaded "T". Looks like an old radar installation. :) Nice job. :rockin:
yeah, that would make sense, except that he said he used chain link fence post, which is not typically threaded...
 
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anderj

anderj

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The T joint was a bit of a problem. The first thing that I did was to get a T joint from a plumbing store that fit the cross bar as snugly as I could find.
If you remember the vertical bar is a smaller diameter that fits inside the cross bar, so i made two "neck pieces" from the larger diameter tube and fit them around the smaller vertical piece.

Then I put the T joint on, which now fit pretty snugly (but still some wiggle room). To get rid of the wiggle room I pushed the vertical tube up against the horizontal T bar, drilled a hole and ran a bolt through that essentially pinned the T bar against the top of the T joint. The crossbar is still a touch loose, it twists but doesn't move laterally very easily.

The drawings are not really to scale and I am sure if you had a machine shop you could do a lot better but this was done on the cheap.

-Ander
 
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anderj

anderj

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R U coming to the Hop and Brew School Glen
I would love to. I promote organic growing methods as much as people will listen and would jump at the chance to get out into a large scale production, Hell, it isn't even that far away but alas, I am what you could call "in between jobs" right now so travel has been limited to the mountains around here. If you run the program again next year and I have a bit of notice I would be all over it.

-Ander
 

fred_zepp

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thanks ander - you always go the super-detailed route. interesting technique for getting around the whole fitment/non-threaded issue. very resourceful.

however...in my haste, i decided to pull out my little wire welder and see if i could still lay down some beads. it worked.
 
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anderj

anderj

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I snapped a few pictures and thought that I would share, got some burrs recently so bring on the hops!

chinooks by the house, mostly for looks


 

bhughes

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Anderj,

Great looking setup. I've been doing tons of research on trellis designs and was planning on a similar approach before finding your plans here. I've browsed the hardware stores and I've been checking out the 10' conduit pipes. They seem super strong and really skinny, and have threaded ends to attach pieces together. I think I could get by with a 1/2" pipe and use a 3/4" pipe as the base that is driven into the ground. I haven't checked out the fencing posts yet so I may take a look at them as well.

I do have one question that I've been trying to figure out the best solution for. How do you get the hops down? I don't want to have to be that high on a ladder so I want to be able to lower the hop plants.

Do you just undo the cables from the anchors at the ground and just let the hops drop to the ground?

One way I was thinking was just having some extra slack on the end of the line that is anchored, and when I want to let them down, just undo it from the anchor, slowly let out some slack until they are low enough to reach, then tie it to the anchor again at the new length, pick the hops that are ready, then raise it back up and reanchor. I don't think this would require a pulley at the top, but just an eye screw thing at the top of the pole for the line to move through.
 

Blarneybrew

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Anyone have an idea if there is a benefit to having these poles 10 degrees out as opposed to perfectly vertical?
 

VegasJ

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Anyone have an idea if there is a benefit to having these poles 10 degrees out as opposed to perfectly vertical?
I imagine it would be to counter the weight of the line between the poles. If they were put in at a 90 and filled to the top I'd imagine the outside poles leaning in
 
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