|Welcome to the hops jungle|
|Helping friends made it possible|
Happy hops farmersThe trellis system design and construction plan are Rich’s brainchild. Here is how we planned ours, in case you ever get the wild hair to do one. (Don’t bother, just get your hops from us!)
|Used a 10-inch auger to dig holes|
|Poles were cut from woodlot|
There is no one way to build a hops trellis. Each is unique to its setting. Ours needed to fit into the space allotted and be made with the stuff we had on hand. Our system needed to fit 110 plants in an area about 75x115 feet. Each of the seven varieties needed its own row to avoid confusion. Rich designed (and redesigned) the system into sections, so it could be expanded or dismantled. To keep setup costs low, we cleared a test field and cut our own poles from the straightest hardwood trees we could find in the woodlot.
Here’s Our Trellis Project Plan
|Made cable loops from old garden hose|
Step 2: Dug 22 holes 3 feet deep, 1 foot wide; used an auger for most and our hands to dig out the rocks.
Step 3: Measured and cut cables for each section between poles. Used 1,000 feet of 3/16-inch galvaniz ed cable for the main support lines , and 800 feet of 1/8-inch cable for the lateral support lines (so the trellis doesn’t sail away in a storm).
|Poles ready to raise for each row|
Step 4: Looped the ends of each section of cable, lined them with old garden hose, and clamped each cable end loop with two wire clamps. These cable sections are looped over poles and rest on the hooks. Instead of having one long cable weighing down the length of the row, the cable sections make it easy to lift off the poles when harvesting the hops vines, and add or remove sections of trellis.
|Used two clamps for each loop|
Step 6: Strung the coir, secured with W-clips in each mound and trained the vines, wrapping them clockwise around the coir to follow the sun.
The Great Trellis Raising
|Brace to help raise poles|
Rich designed and built a brace that was placed into the 3-foot hole. It acted as a pivot for the pole to slide down and also to prevent the sides of the hole from collapsing.
|Group effort to raise poles|
|Hanging the coir twine|
In the end, we all sat back and enjoyed a cold adult beverage while surveying our job well done.Back in March, we rookie farmers naively thought that we could just construct the trellis one week and plant the hops the next week and be done with that. As with most big projects, the actual process took us 1,000 more steps and four months longer. And we’re not done yet. Our next project is to install drip irrigation. Thankfully, family in town has offered to help. We hope to get that done before the hops are ready to harvest!
|Completed hops trellis|