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Hop To It

One thing I have a lot of at my house is unused space. It drives me crazy. I keep telling myself I’m going to fix up the yard, plant a garden, make the patio look nice, yet it seems to moe at a snail’s pace. Since I recently got a lot more free time on my hands, I decided to finally do a project I’ve had on my mind for 2 years now: plant hops. 

The orignal idea was to build a trellis. I had scoped a couple pots in the yard for a trellis, but each had their disadvantages. That’s when I noticed the big ugly wooden structure the previous tenants had built under the redwoods. Their was some windbreak provided by the shed to the east, fence to the west, redwoods to the north and the house to the south. There was easy access to water and plenty of sun all day long. Best of all, I could simply run some coir twine up it and my trellis was built.

Now that I had my trellis and site, the next step was digging some holes. The soil in my yard is hard as hell, so I would need to dig a big hole, replace some soil with potting soil and compost and create a friendly environment for the young rhizome. Each hole I dug was about a foot deep and a foot and a half in diameter. I also cleared an area about 18 inches around the hole of all weeds and the top layer of soil to help control weeds around my precious hops.

When the holes were dug, I mixed a full pag of potting soil and a half bale of compost along with enough existing soil to fill the holes.  I also se aside a bit of the potting soil and compost to enrichen the area immediately around the rhizome.  When the holes were filled, I dug asmall hole for the rhizome and placed it vertically, leaving the top of the rhizome approximately 1 inch beneath the top of the soil.  The final touch was the mulch.  On each site I used a full bag of mulch, keeping it thinner over the rhizome and new soil, and heavier as it spread to the areas around it.

I’m using two source primarily in my hop growing venture.  The first is the Homebrew’s Garden.  This is the book I used to prep my site.  The second is Freshops.com.  They provided mewith my hops (2 Cascade rhizomes) and in their package came a small pamphlet.  This is where I got the idea to plant the rhizome vertically.  By planting vertically, I hope to prevent the hops from running out of control in the coming years.  A horizontal planting seems to be more beneficial if planting a full full hop yard.

So there it is, hopefully two healty hop bines will begin growing soon.  I will update the progress via twitter, so go ahead and follow, with more significant updates to make the main website.  Wish me luck.