Hops are an important ingredient in craft beers and if you like a good IPA, then thank the hops for the wonderful flavor and aroma. Hops are easy to grow, fast growing (if grown in the optimum conditions) and can grow up to 12 inches a day. The growing location is very important to the success of your hops and providing a strong trellis to grow on is essential. Watch our video on How to Grow Hops for a complete guide to growing and harvesting hops.
Choose a location with deep sandy, loam soil with a pH between 6 and 7.5 and it should be in full sun. Plant in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked.
Training Your Bines
Hops need a trellis to grow on. The plant puts out lines, which are like a vine, but rather than tendrils to climb, they have tiny hairs along the stem that help the line climb the support. The bines wrap around clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere. When the plant is about a foot tall, start training the bines on the trellis by wrapping it around the string or twine clockwise. You can train two bines per string and this should be done about three times, spaced out two weeks apart.
Flagpole – very easy construction, especially if you already have a flagpole in place. Secure the twine to the ground with ground staples and attach the twine to the built in pully (to raise and lower) and raise to the top and secure. You can run more than 3 lines around the pole, but keep in mind at the top, the space will be more limited, so don’t go crazy.
TeePee Design – these are not too difficult to build and can be quite large. If you have access to long fairly straight logs (not too big) and begin with lashing together the tops of the poles with rope. Raise up the poles and spread out to the diameter that you want. For additional security, sink the poles in the ground about a foot.
House Eve Design – if you need something to shade a west or south facing side of the house, this is the design for you. It is pretty easy with few parts to buy. In order to raise and lower the bines easily, you can attach a pulley to the top of the eve. Secure the twine to the ground with a ground staple and attach the other end to a metal ring. For a complete diagram, check out the article on trellis designs.
Clothes Line Design – the design can be created using 4×4 posts (taller the better), some 2×4 lumber or metal piping for the horizontal beam. Run your twine from the ground to the top of the horizontal support.
However you decide to trellis your hops, give them a lot of sun and enjoy the heavenly aroma of the cones around the house, and grow organic… for life!