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Training question

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FullThrottle64

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First time hop grower, so please be gentle....

How tall/long should the bines be before training? A foot? Two feet? Does it really matter first year?
 

501irishred

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First year for me too, but it seems that maybe as soon as is practical. I didn’t run a line for one of mine immediately and just let it run on the ground for several weeks after training the others. That one is now a runt compared to the other two, but seems to be gaining ground now that I have it growing up.
 

AJinJacksonville

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First year here. Everything I read on here and elsewhere said to start training once it is emerged about one foot out of the ground. I have been doing that from three rhizomes and one is already starting to bear cones. The other two are more full and lush, but no cones yet.
 

Kent88

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Whenever they get long enough to reach whatever you set up for them to climb on.

This year all I had to do was place a bine next to the twine I put up for it, and it did the rest.

Just make sure that you have the twine, trellis, whatever, as close as you can without damaging the plant.
 

Kaz15

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Pretty much when ever they are long enough to gently wrap. They will do the rest.

Regarding the cones... first year don’t even worry about the cones. You may get a few cones to rub and smell, which will stoke the fire for next year. But generally it won’t be enough to brew with.

Year 3 will blow your mind. :)
 
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FullThrottle64

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Regarding the cones... first year don’t even worry about the cones. You may get a few cones to rub and smell, which will stoke the fire for next year. But generally it won’t be enough to brew with.
Well, right now I have 21 relatively healthy Hallertau seedlings and 26 Crystal rhizomes, one of which has sprouted. My expectation is to get enough to do the lab testing and brew a few batches of milder ale or hefeweizen, but not enough to sell. If all goes well I'll plant another 100-150 for next year, with at least one high alpha variety to get a good output mix.

Long term I have about 18 acres that could be planted in 3 distinct sections, with enough natural spring water on the premises to irrigate without having to drill a high-capacity well (I think - still doing the math). I don't want to terminate the existing production, though, until I know how hops like this land and how to get them to produce, so this first year is a serious learning process.

Year 3 will blow your mind. :)
Let's hope so!
 
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Kaz15

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Oh wow! I didn’t realize you were going pro. I stand corrected. With that many plants you might have enough for a batch. :)

In a few years you’ll probably know more about hop growing than this backyard grower.
 

Beerisgud

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I’ve read and can now attest to: once a bine has a grip on the twine or coir, in my case vertical, they tend to growth length faster because of the support. I suppose it’s no longer spending energy waving around aimlessly and building stem/root strength and instead can focus on climbing. After the first year you will have plenty more growth and will be able to prune away those hollow shoots that are thick and not so flexible for training at shorter lengths. The new wave of shoots will be thin and workable, easy to wrap at a foot. Be careful with the tips when training they are fragile. Good luck with your farm I’m super jealous!
 
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FullThrottle64

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I’ve read and can now attest to: once a bine has a grip on the twine or coir, in my case vertical, they tend to growth length faster because of the support. I suppose it’s no longer spending energy waving around aimlessly and building stem/root strength and instead can focus on climbing. After the first year you will have plenty more growth and will be able to prune away those hollow shoots that are thick and not so flexible for training at shorter lengths. The new wave of shoots will be thin and workable, easy to wrap at a foot. Be careful with the tips when training they are fragile. Good luck with your farm I’m super jealous!
Cool - thanks!

I've got about 18 or so plants that are getting close to a foot now, and about another dozen that have broken through with shoots, so it's time to start the process. These little guys seem pretty determined to survive and grow!
 
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FullThrottle64

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What are you growing now that you are looking to replace with hops?
There is a lease in place for dairy feed grains - corn and soy, alternating years. It is just about profitable enough to pay the tax bill on the land...but not quite. Even with moderate yield and below average pricing, hops comes out ahead financially.

The only major hurdle is the infrastructure. 18 acres of trellising is not a casual investment for me, so I want to trial on a smaller scale before dropping the cash to convert.
 

Gurn Blanston

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A couple tips:
If using coir or string to train, make sure your coir is set firm to ground, train low to ground, and try to give your bines a little slack before the bottom of the coir. These tips will help avoid future pressure on the young bines as the wind blows which can yank a bine out of the crown. Sometimes these cant be avoided since hops grow so fast and will set themselves before you train them, but its a good practice that i try to follow when manually training.
 
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