Where in Missouri (or should I say Missoura) are you BB? My father grew up in a super small town in the north named Milan. Spent a lot of time back there as a youngster.
Well, here we go.
A friend of mine has been dying to do something with his property. He owns quite a few acres 10 min away from me. He saw my first year hops and after much thought, research and deliberation decided to jump in headfirst into growing a test bed which may or may not get expanded. I guess it all depends on if we can get a couple local brew pubs interested in taking the hops off our hands.
We went back and forth on how we wanted to set everything up. We decided on tent complexes, but placed the 25ft treated pilings in a straight line so that later, if we wanted to, could adapt it to more of a commercial approach.
We tried to do it on the cheap. We split a bunch of wood for a friend of ours that runs a marine construction company. He in turn, at no cost, supplied some decent used pilings, as well as a bobcat with an auger on it. We used a farm tractor with a bucket, lashed the pilings to the bucket and set the posts using the bucket. Eyelets were attached around the top of the piling before setting.
There is a pond right next to the hopyard, as well as a 55 gallon drum/truck/fill up at the house operation we've been using for water for the time being. The hop yard is on a decent hill so we're thinking about stockpiling water above, and setting up a gravity fed drip irrigation system. It's amazing the amount of material we have to work with in all the barns and such.
Our next job is to stake/run line for the hops. We've pitched in and bought a crapload of hop twine. Our plan is to have enough line to go from the plant, up to the eyelets, then back down to be tied off so we can raise and lower individual lines for harvest or to keep things from getting tangled.
My friend ordered and payed for the hop rhizomes, which was the bulk of the money spent. He ordered 40 rhizomes but they send quite a few extras... I've never seen that before ha.. We ended up with 50 total. Columbus, Nugget, Williamette, Chinook and Cascade.
One problem we may encounter is the fact that we've got 5 varieties and only 4 poles.
Each half circle on the ends includes only one variety each, Nugget on one side of the hop yard and Chinook on the other.
One full circle hill is 3/4 Cascade and 1/4 Williamette. The other full circle hill is 3/4 Columbus and 1/4 Williamette. They are separated and spaced accordingly in each hill to keep the varieties away from each other, I just fear that if they make it the 19 or 20 ft up to the top, we may have a tangling problem. We definitely don't want mixed up varieties but with our lines being able to be lowered, we may be able to extend the few Williamette lines by staking them a second time closer to the pole, thereby gaining an extra 6 to 8 feet of line to climb before they get to the top. We're still trying to figure everything out.
The hops are just now poking through, with some of them already 6 or 7 in tall. Not bad since they were planted just 3 weeks ago. We will see what happens as time goes on. It's going to be quite a bit of work. Any and all advice is appreciated. I'll update from time to time.