This is our second year growing hops. We grow the hops at AJ’s uncle’s cattle farm in Matsqui Prairie, right next to the Fraser River. In our first year growing hops, we made the mistake of trying to buy one of every type of rhizome: Cascade, Mt. Hood, Willamete, Fuggle, Godding, Zeus. While we thought it would be nice to have a lot of different varieties, it also was not an effective use of the space on our trellis. Plants of a different variety should be planted further apart than plants of the same variety in order to avoid of cross pollination.
This year we smartened up. We specialized in two types of hops. Because we don’t know the AA% of homegrown hops, we figured it would make more sense to specialize in aroma/flavour hops. We bought 6 Centennial rhizomes and 3 Mt Hood rhizomes, and transplanted the existing plants towards the east end of the trellis.
The trellis system is in the so-called commercial style.
17 feet high by 50 feet long.
Building materials: rebar and bale twine (as these materials were lying around the farm already).
The east end is anchored by an old shed, while the west end (by the trailer in the picture) in anchored by a telephone pole.
This system has worked well for us. Last year only two of the plants reached the top of the trellis, but this was the first year of them growing, and we expect them to grow much higher this year. The only issue with the height is difficulty tying the twine at the top. We had to buy a three-point ladder to be able to reach the top of the trellis. The trellis is not strong enough to support a ladder and the ground is too uneven for a A-frame ladder. We hope to build a couple more trellis adjacent to this trellis, resulting in our system resembling the system below.
We have purchased all our rhizomes from Left Field in Sorrento, BC. All their hops are certified organic and they have a fairly good selection. Since we are in Canada, it is much easier to purchase Canadian rhizomes than import hops from the USA and deal with the Canadian Border Service Agency (importing living plants to subject to more procedures)
The only downside with Left Field is they take a while to ship their hops because they ship their hops quite late, around mid May. This is because they are in the BC Interior, a region where the snow often isn’t fully melted until the end of March. We might try Hops Connect, based out of Pemberton BC, next year for their rhizomes.
We have reorganized our hop plants to this system.
3 foot gap between hops of the same variety
5 foot gap between hops of a different variety
The Cascade and Golding hops we bought last year did not grow, thus we did not transplant them.