Young Hop Bines

    Young Cascade hop bines are finding their rope to climb.

    Young Cascade Hop Bines

    Young Hop Bines – this is no April fool’s joke.  About 2 and a half weeks since the hop shoots were uncovered and they are now about a foot and a half to 2 feet tall.  They are finding the ropes on their own or with a little help from me.  This is an early start for here in Minnesota.  Other years it was Early May or mid April before hop shoots appeared.  We had a very mild winter and an early spring this year.  There is still a strong possibility of a freeze here (statistically).  We will see what the rest of the year brings, but I am anticipating an earlier harvest this year with the head start these hop bines have.

    Young Magnum Bines are ready to rock.

    Young Magnum Bines

    Amazingly the Magnum hops are the tallest of the 3 (Nugget, Magnum and Cascade).  This is after they almost died last year from a boron deficiency (hint, check the sitemap tab on the menu bar under the header image for a list of all posts).  I do not plan on allowing another boron deficiency this year, I will spray them with a boron product to prevent this.  As I try and stay as organic as possible, I plan on top dressing the soil with kelp, bone meal and blood meal and compost.  The compost will help feed the hop plants and help to retain soil moisture.

    A lot of folks ask me what kind of rope, twine or cord to use.  That is up to you, but I like nylon rope as

    Young Nugget Hop Bines

    it is strong as heck, doesn’t rot, and bugs and critters do not eat it.  This is year 4 with the same rope for me and it is showing no sign of wear and tear.  I leave it up year round exposed to the elements and it lasts a long time.  My pulley system and leaving the rope up saves me a lot of time and besides, I am not good with heights.  Heights don’t bother me so much as the fear of landing if I should fall off the ladder.  After mounting the pulleys up top, the only ladder time is cutting bines between the up and down ropes.  Then I lower the bines as I am harvesting.  Once I am done harvesting hop cones, I raise the bines back up to continue gathering energy through the leaves to be stored in the hop crown or root stock for next years growth.  Also if there are some immature hop cones, you can give them some more time to grow and then start to dry on the bines.

    If we get some good sunshiny weather, I anticipate the hop bines to top out Early May.  That will be the earliest they have topped out so far.

    Categories : Forth Year Hops


    1. Kevin,
      Check out the “Sitemap” tab on the menu (top – below the header(hop cones pic)) – it is an index of every post from day one. These hops are on the south side of my garage (southern exposure). The peak is 15 feet tall and the 2 side ropes are 13 feet tall. Essentially I screwed hooks under the eves and hung pulleys on them. I have a stake with an eye screwed in the end driven into the ground right next to the hop crown with one end of the rope tied here.

      The rope goes from the stake, up and around the pulley and tied off at the tie cleats mounted on the garage (about 4 feet off the ground for easy access. I use tie cleats (similar to boat/dock cleat), for the anchor point (tip – leave enough extra rope to lower the rope/hop bines for harvest and still have enough to re-raise them). If you look at enough posts, you will see how the ropes and pulleys are rigged for a simple trellis (ropes work best – better than wooden trellis).

      Here is one pic of the bines:

      Hope this helps. I really like the setup, minimum ladder time…

    2. Kevin Gebert says:

      Hello, I see you are simply growing your hops next to a house or similar building in the above pics. Can you post photos showing your pulley rig and if you have past photos, showing the fully grown plants as they have fully climbed your rope? How high up do you have them?

    3. Temp was 35 when I bothered to look at it about 8am. Went to fill my bird feeder and the bird bath had a 1/4 inch of ice on top. Must have been a pretty good freeze. Not worried as hops are hardy.

    4. Mortimer Bondurant says:

      Keeping you posted on my season, Growing Hops. My second year hops look exactly like yours did on March 13th, as of April 7th here in Spokane County. We’ve had a very mild winter too but, still, just buds.


    5. Rick,
      You are ambitious – 160 hop plants! That is a big hobby. Sorry to hear about you challenges but it doesn’t sound like that is going to stop you. I have been lucky as pests have not found my hops (yet). Other than a boron deficiency of my Magnum hops last year, I have had no problems (other than a young Mt Hood container plant killed by 50+ MPH winds and a container Fuggle that didn’t survive it’s first winter – environmental, not pests). I hope you don’t have pest problems this year.

      My hops seem to weather hard frosts just fine also (so far). Sounds like we may have frosts coming up this week, I am not worried about it. Best of luck to you. Keep us posted on your season.

    6. rick sevigny says:

      Hi! I just bumped into your web site and I wish I’d found it three years ago. I’m in Maine (mid coast) and am starting my fourth year of so far strictly Hobby/Learning hops growing with about 160 plants! Chinooks, Magnums, Nuggets, Santiams, and Mt. Hoods. I’m still strictly organic with out the expensive certification but have had my hands full of all of the probs. some of your other growers have experienced. Experienced Aphid plague last year once the cones were developed so I couldn’t soap spray. Before that starting 1 July till 8 Aug. it was Japanese Beatles by the thousands. I’m waiting for results from Milky Spore applications with baited breath but have already in March, dug up larva while transplanting my own rhizomes. yep, I can’t get enough, just love growing those Hops!

      Spring 2010 I had 90 plants at about 4 feet and went thru 2 very bad frosts with absolutely no visible sign of damage. I did not cover anything at all. Perhaps it was my choice of variety but I doubt that I could be that lucky. This year I have had buds poking out so far for about twenty days and we have had 12 nights of 20 degree weather. I see no reaction to these freezing temperatures at all. They just stopped growing and remain nice and green and red. That 2010 spring I was literaly checking out the plants at day break after frost night and the leaves where just plastered with frost no problem it melted, they grew!

    7. Mort,
      These hops have survived temps as low as 25 F in previous years uncovered. I will just take my chances unless I hear it will get below 20 F – then maybe wrap them or find out what they can take. If the young hop bines do die off, I am sure they will be replaced with new shoots. We will see soon enough – I will post my experiences we can all learn from.

    8. Mortimer Bondurant says:

      So, what is your plan to deal with a probable frost? Wrap a blanket around and tie it tight at the top when frost threatens? Thanks.


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