Where to plant? Rhizomes or Crowns?

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Stevo2569

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I've been doing a lot of research and planning and the Google Machine is probably getting sick of me. This is going to be my first year growing hops. I have 2 choices for a planting area. Both are on a slight slope, have a mix of clay/rock and brown soil and near a wooded area. 1 is grass that has been weed and feeded for a couple of years medium sun exposure in a fenced area. The other is mostly weeds with more sun, a little more sloped and exposed to more herbivore critters. Either area i plan to replace the soil with compost and Black Gold probably 2' deep 2' round for each crown. So I have a few questions.
1: Do I need to level the area out? I could bring in top soil and timbers which I'm considering anyway.
2: Which area would be better considering the sun exposure? I prefer the grassed area cause it's closer and would be easier to maintain but it does have a little less sun.
3: Will the hops interfere with other plants or other plants interfere with them. Such as tomatoes, peppers, ect. I think No but the wife wants to know for sure, being that they will be close by.
4: I thinks crowns instead of Rhizomes cause I hear they produce more the first year. Correct?
Any suggestions, links or info are most appreciated.
 

Revelator

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I would probably aim for the location with the most sun, despite the other issues...From what Ive seen they do very well in full sun...I even got a decent yield in my first year of growth under those conditions.....Also, Im not sure about your location, but around here most animals stay clear of the hops...As for interfering with other plants, I havent noticed any sort of issues...my hop bines grow right next to some tomatoes and onions...just be prepared to "train" the plants up the lines, and trim off additional smaller bines that form

If you are looking for a solid guide to growing hops or any other plants related to brewing I suggest "The Homebrewer's Garden" - I pretty much followed it exclusively when I decided to start growing my own ingredients - Lots of great info/instructions

Heres a link to it
http://www.amazon.ca/dp/1580170102/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

Hope I at least answered a few of your questions...Cheers
 
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Stevo2569

Stevo2569

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Thanks for the reply. I'm currently predicting sun exposure levels in both areas a little more accurately. I might take out a few trees for more. Does anyone know if the area needs to be level or is it just a drainage issue?
 

tchuklobrau

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Mostly just about drainage. Just want to make sure you have no resting water where you are planting.
 

sweetcell

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Does anyone know if the area needs to be level or is it just a drainage issue?
i'm pretty sure it's just a drainage issue. plants, for the most part, don't care about the slope of the ground they grow on.

hops don't like sitting in water, so the slope is advantageous - a heavy rainfall will run downhill, instead of pooling around the roots and drowning them. this also means that sloped ground doesn't drink up as much as flat ground, so there is a slightly higher risk of drying out. but nothing that can't be managed.
 
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Stevo2569

Stevo2569

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Well after a 30 min home gardening lesson from the guy at the co-op, I got a plan. I'm going to assemble several raised beds just south of some trees and trim back some others to allow as much sun as possible. I'm going to be starting with screened top soil and adding peat, formiculite, and horse manure. Although I was told the horse manure wasn't as good as cow, it's free. I'll also get a soil test and test the PH to reach NPK and acidity levels. The crowns I ordered from Great Lakes will be hear on Wed. So I'll try to ditch work early for the next couple days to get busy. Any flaws in this plan? Anything I'm forgetting?
 

ForerunnerBrewer

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Stevo, your plans sound good indeed.

I live in the Charlotte NC area and I was wondering if our last summer sun was as blistering as yours since we are in the same region.

Quick bullet points since my post is long-ish:

-Even with good watering too much of our hot south sun can do some damage.
-Be strategic trimming your tree because you can use it to control the blistering noon sun.
-Use Sweetcell's hops spreadsheet (link in his comment) to determine which hops get the most sun and perhaps less sun for Euro hops.
-Use beneficial insect plants to attract insects/ ladybugs to fight pests/aphids and mites wherever you plant, but especially around trees.

I live in a townhouse and my back yard is up against a hill severely cramping my space. The setup I had last year was not optimal because of space limitations. The spot I picked was on the south side of my house and it got full sun from sunrise to sunset. My cascades & NB did pretty well considering they were first year rhizomes, however they did suffer for a couple of months in the peak of summer and their leaves got fried from the sun despite all my watering attempts. By the end my trellis looked like a sail on the Black Perl because I tied newspaper to the lines to shade the plants from the burning heat! It was tacky but I was more worried about the hops and my future beers than the neighbors!

Might I suggest coming up with a game plan for trimming those trees? Maybe you could hold off on the triming to control the amount of sun your hops get. Full sunlight is good but you don't have to have 12 hours of it down here. On his reply Sweetcell has a great link to a spreadsheet of different hops and their strengths and weaknesses, use that as a resource to judge which plants to give the most sunlight. I have actually planted 3 hops crowns under a maple tree including Fuggles which as you know are a European Native and thus adapted to cooler weather. I won't have a 20 foot high trellis like the one for my American C's (which are better adapted for hotter sun) but I'm improvising with a horizontal trellis over my patio. I believe that this Euro hops box will do better with 6+ hours of morning and evening sun and less of the high afternoon sun.

A theory of mine is since the crowns you and I are getting from Great Lakes Hops are healthy and big (see picts below) you don't have to flood them with light for them to grow successfully.

Check these crowns out!
This is the Fuggles crown when I took it out of the box in January 2012 with shoots already!

Same crown February 23rd at 7 inches tall:

This morning February 28th, 5 days later 11 inches tall:


One last thing. Since you have garden experience you probably know what plants attract beneficial insects like ladybugs. Plant a bunch of those near your hops ESPECIALY if you plant them near a tree since trees are home to spider mites and aphids! I plan on overdosing my garden with cilantro, chives and a few other things to combat these effing pests! Per GreatLakes Hops suggestion I NUKED everything with dormant oil that could provide shelter to spider mites, hopefully I won't have to deal with them this year.

Cheers!
-John
 
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Stevo2569

Stevo2569

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ForerunnerBrewer said:
Stevo, your plans sound good indeed.

I live in the Charlotte NC area and I was wondering if our last summer sun was as blistering as yours since we are in the same region.

Quick bullet points since my post is long-ish:

-Even with good watering too much of our hot south sun can do some damage.
-Be strategic trimming your tree because you can use it to control the blistering noon sun.
-Use Sweetcell's hops spreadsheet (link in his comment) to determine which hops get the most sun and perhaps less sun for Euro hops.
-Use beneficial insect plants to attract insects/ ladybugs to fight pests/aphids and mites wherever you plant, but especially around trees.

I live in a townhouse and my back yard is up against a hill severely cramping my space. The setup I had last year was not optimal because of space limitations. The spot I picked was on the south side of my house and it got full sun from sunrise to sunset. My cascades & NB did pretty well considering they were first year rhizomes, however they did suffer for a couple of months in the peak of summer and their leaves got fried from the sun despite all my watering attempts. By the end my trellis looked like a sail on the Black Perl because I tied newspaper to the lines to shade the plants from the burning heat! It was tacky but I was more worried about the hops and my future beers than the neighbors!

Might I suggest coming up with a game plan for trimming those trees? Maybe you could hold off on the triming to control the amount of sun your hops get. Full sunlight is good but you don't have to have 12 hours of it down here. On his reply Sweetcell has a great link to a spreadsheet of different hops and their strengths and weaknesses, use that as a resource to judge which plants to give the most sunlight. I have actually planted 3 hops crowns under a maple tree including Fuggles which as you know are a European Native and thus adapted to cooler weather. I won't have a 20 foot high trellis like the one for my American C's (which are better adapted for hotter sun) but I'm improvising with a horizontal trellis over my patio. I believe that this Euro hops box will do better with 6+ hours of morning and evening sun and less of the high afternoon sun.

A theory of mine is since the crowns you and I are getting from Great Lakes Hops are healthy and big (see picts below) you don't have to flood them with light for them to grow successfully.

Check these crowns out!
This is the Fuggles crown when I took it out of the box in January 2012 with shoots already!

Same crown February 23rd at 7 inches tall:

This morning February 28th, 5 days later 11 inches tall:

One last thing. Since you have garden experience you probably know what plants attract beneficial insects like ladybugs. Plant a bunch of those near your hops ESPECIALY if you plant them near a tree since trees are home to spider mites and aphids! I plan on overdosing my garden with cilantro, chives and a few other things to combat these effing pests! Per GreatLakes Hops suggestion I NUKED everything with dormant oil that could provide shelter to spider mites, hopefully I won't have to deal with them this year.

Cheers!
-John
Thanks for the awesome info. I'm kinda in a valley so most of the sun I'll get is 10:30-4. So hopefully I won't have any blistering. I'll take another look at the spreadsheet and maybe place the euros back a little in a different bed. With my raised beds, I know it's better to build a box. But I don't really want to spend alot on treated lumber to build it. Any cheap alternatives? Ideas?
 

cram

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As for planter boxes, it doesn't get much cheaper than cedar fence planks for garden boxes--plus, they hold up pretty well.
 

ForerunnerBrewer

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Amen to that Cram! Cedar boxes made from fence planks are the way to go. My first year/last year I did a 3' x 18" x1 ft deep box for my 2 Cascades. I didn't have a choice for size because of a tiny back yard and HOA. This year I realized it didn't matter to the HOA and I went ahead and made this and another 3x6 box. I did this bed for $2.25/board x 8 +$10 for the hardware and $3 for Rustolium flat black spray paint. There are simpler ways to do the hardware and sealing it isn't necessary but I wanted to spice it up! I sanded the cedar and sealed it with Marine sealer to protect it from the elements and keep the color from fading. If you do the marine or any sealer and multiple boxes I suggest getting the next size up from a quart and save some cash!

My 6x6 box:


My tiny back yard and 3x6 box in the foreground and the 6x6 in the background:



Link to pictures doccumenting the process:
https://picasaweb.google.com/john.m...&authkey=Gv1sRgCMX7z5aAqfXCUQ&feat=directlink
 

ForerunnerBrewer

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Thanks for the awesome info. I'm kinda in a valley so most of the sun I'll get is 10:30-4. So hopefully I won't have any blistering. I'll take another look at the spreadsheet and maybe place the euros back a little in a different bed. With my raised beds, I know it's better to build a box. But I don't really want to spend alot on treated lumber to build it. Any cheap alternatives? Ideas?
Stevo,
The hours you are quoting for the sunlight, are they the current winter/spring hours? If so summer will be a completely different story with longer hours and the sun will be high in the sky between 11am and 4 pm.

Last year I took some pictures to document what angle the sun was shining from during different hours in the day. Looking at those pictures I remember that the hottest part of the day extended all the way to 6 o'clock in July and August. Those pictures sure came in handy helping me to plan ahead for this year!

If you wanted to post some picts of the area maybe someone would have a good idea. :mug:
 
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Stevo2569

Stevo2569

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Those are current and later expected ours. Ive got trees on both sides so as the sun moves northward it'll get a little better but I'm not projecting a great increase. Good idea about the sun angle. I will start a log of it to help too. What does cilantro and chives do?
 

ForerunnerBrewer

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Cilantro and chives are supposed to attract "beneficial insects" such as ladybugs. I'm scouring Google building a list of plants that attract these beneficial insects because they are predators that prey on aphids and spidermites. This year I'm going to put a bunch of flowers and herbs near my hops for this very reason.

Last year spider mites that may have come from a nearby tree infested my Cascades and I spent a lot of time and energy keeping those heinous creatures at bay. This year I nuked said tree with "Dormant Oil" and will be dispatching lady bugs to go to war for me!

Dormant oil kills insects nesting in the tree during the dormant season.
 
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Stevo2569

Stevo2569

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I got 2.3 tons of screened top soil yesterday. Today I built the bine support out of 1 3/8" chain link top rail and 1/4" steel cable and built a box 4'X25' out of treated pine pickets. I had the pickets and top rail laying around, so that was a bonus. I drove one stick in about a foot then swedged the other on top making it about 20' tall. The top stick has a 1/4" hole drilled in the top. The steel cable goes from a stake through the pipe across to the other pipe then down to the other dead man(fence and guard rail term). It held up quite well with a windy tornado warning. We will see how well with 8 fully grown plants on it. I'll run bailing twine from the plants to the steel cable.
I also recieved my 8 crowns (2 Casades, 2 Centennial, Chinook, Williamette, Mt. Hood, and East Kent) from Great Lakes today. All of the crowns have several 3-5" sprouts except the East Kent and the Mt. Hood. I gave them a little soil, water and the last couple hours of sun light. Tomorrow I'll mix the peat, formiculite, and manure in and get the soil sample to see what NPK to add after a couple weeks in the ground. I'm excited to start seeing all this work pay off.

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cram

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I haven't grown chives with my hops but I grow cilantro with them yearly and they do very well together. The cilantro, when allowed to flower, attract a ton of predatory wasps. Plus, you get the added bonus of coriander seeds in case you're brewing some Belgians or winter warmer brews. If you do go with cilantro, start them soon because they like cool seasons best. It gets too hot here in socal to grow them through the summer...YMMV.
 

ForerunnerBrewer

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I'm waiting on 6 cilantro and 7 marigold seeds to germinate in my mini Jiffy greenhouse. A gardner I showed a house to today confirmed that marigolds are good at attracting ladybugs. One of the best ways to attract ladybugs is to have a decoy plant. The job of that decoy is to attract aphids and spider mites and let them have their way! When I demonstrated the lack of space I have in my back yard she didn't think that would be a good idea for me but instead recommended finding plants that would deter pests such as Marigolds. Apparently Marigolds have a chemical pyrethrin that deters some insects.

2 good websites that came up on a google search for marigold ladybug:
http://everything-ladybug.com/attract-ladybugs.html
and
http://toadstoolponds.wordpress.com/2007/12/07/why-plant-marigolds-in-your-vegetable-garden/

Has anyone had experience or success in this type of plan?
 
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Stevo2569

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I'm waiting on 6 cilantro and 7 marigold seeds to germinate in my mini Jiffy greenhouse. A gardner I showed a house to today confirmed that marigolds are good at attracting ladybugs. One of the best ways to attract ladybugs is to have a decoy plant. The job of that decoy is to attract aphids and spider mites and let them have their way! When I demonstrated the lack of space I have in my back yard she didn't think that would be a good idea for me but instead recommended finding plants that would deter pests such as Marigolds. Apparently Marigolds have a chemical pyrethrin that deters some insects.

2 good websites that came up on a google search for marigold ladybug:
http://everything-ladybug.com/attract-ladybugs.html
and
http://toadstoolponds.wordpress.com/2007/12/07/why-plant-marigolds-in-your-vegetable-garden/

Has anyone had experience or success in this type of plan?
Sounds like a plan to me. Thanks for sharing the links. A lot a good info. I think I'll go with Cilantro and Marigolds. I also found a aquaponics article on there. Pretty interesting. Got me thinking of using some float switches to auto water from the rain water reservoir.
 

ForerunnerBrewer

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I haven't grown chives with my hops but I grow cilantro with them yearly and they do very well together. The cilantro, when allowed to flower, attract a ton of predatory wasps...
Thanks alot! How close did you have the cilantro? And how densely did you have them packed together? With the limited space I'm utilizing I'm imagining tending to the hops during the season and having to fight off wasps because of how close they will be to the hops.

Thanks Cram!
 

cram

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I grow most of my hops in 24"-30" wide boxes or barrels (you can see some pics in my "rhizome harvest" thread). And I'll plant between one and three cilantro plants in each box/barrel. You won't have to worry about the wasps--they're tiny and keep to themselves. Plus, the cilantro tends to grow really tall (like 3-4') and then tips over on its own, so they end up away from your hops. You'll see the wasps come when the cilantro starts to flower but the strong smell of the cilantro, like the marigold, is also a deterent. As for marigolds, I really like the giant marigolds (I believe they're often packaged as Mexican Marigolds, too) because they get 3-4' tall, so the blooms are higher up the hop plant, which might deter more pests. Note that the marigolds due better in the summer sun, so I'd start with the cilantro seeds now and, when they peter out in June, you can transplant some marigolds in there to finish out the season.
 
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Stevo2569

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Finally got my bed done. Bought a tiller to mix in the formiculite, peat and manure. Boxes still need some clean up and the soil sample is getting tested. Planted all 8 this afternoon after ditching work early.

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SkyHighBrew88

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Stevo, can you tell us about your trellis poles? What are they and how did you secure them into the ground? I'm actually looking into doing something similar to that...

Looks great by the way...

-Matt
 
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Stevo2569

Stevo2569

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SkyHighBrew88 said:
Stevo, can you tell us about your trellis poles? What are they and how did you secure them into the ground? I'm actually looking into doing something similar to that...

Looks great by the way...

-Matt
Thanks guys.

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Stevo2569 said:
I got 2.3 tons of screened top soil yesterday. Today I built the bine support out of 1 3/8" chain link top rail and 1/4" steel cable and built a box 4'X25' out of treated pine pickets. I had the pickets and top rail laying around, so that was a bonus. I drove one stick in about a foot then swedged the other on top making it about 20' tall. The top stick has a 1/4" hole drilled in the top. The steel cable goes from a stake through the pipe across to the other pipe then down to the other dead man(fence and guard rail term). It held up quite well with a windy tornado warning. We will see how well with 8 fully grown plants on it. I'll run bailing twine from the plants to the steel cable.
I also recieved my 8 crowns (2 Casades, 2 Centennial, Chinook, Williamette, Mt. Hood, and East Kent) from Great Lakes today. All of the crowns have several 3-5" sprouts except the East Kent and the Mt. Hood. I gave them a little soil, water and the last couple hours of sun light. Tomorrow I'll mix the peat, formiculite, and manure in and get the soil sample to see what NPK to add after a couple weeks in the ground. I'm excited to start seeing all this work pay off.
I drove the top rail from a ladder with a post driver. 4 sticks at 10'6" each. 2 for each side swedged together. The ropes are tied as tight as possible but could slide. I will get some crimp clamps a secure then to the upper cable on the tail of the knot. I made some stakes from aluminum square tubing I had laying around and drilled a 3/8" hole in the end to tie on the twine.
 
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Stevo2569

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I added a drip irrigation system today. Installed a weldless ballvalve on the drum and ran 1/2' PEX for the main trunk. Off the 1/2" PEX I ran a adjustable drip irrigation system that I bought at the Depot(about $25). Right now I have the drip heads adjusted to barely run and the ballvalve is open. Soon I will have open the heads up all the way and add a batery powered timer. The cascades and centennial are almost 8" tall and I will start training them probably Wed.

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Stevo2569

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Update:
As predicted one of the cascades is the best performer so far with one of the centennials in second. The biggest has 2 bines trained and is about 14" tall.



I've started a spread sheet to keep track of the growth and the weather conditions. The other Centennial and the other Cascade are showing signs of overwatering(lots of rain), Potassium deficiency(Not likely), or frostbite(possible). The lower and mid leaves are browning on the edges and curling down. Lynn at Great Lakes said that they probably just don't like the cool wet weather we've been getting and that some of his are doing that as well but they will grow out of it.(fingers crossed) Should have my soil samples analysis back today so I'll be able to rule out the potassium at least. The two doing this are 9' apart in the same bed with the best performers between them. What do you guys think?

 
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Stevo2569

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Well my cascade is over 2' now. Winding away. The two plants that were browning we're apparently getting too much water and are just fine now. I renovated the bed to get better drainage and separated the varieties. Been working with them every day. Much more exciting then the tomato and pepper plants.

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