Rigging Hop Bines Without a Hop Trellis

    Adjustable Hop Bine Rigging

    Adjustable Hop Bine Rigging

    Rigging Hop Bines for Unlimited Height

    Rigging Hop Bines for Unlimited Height

    Rigging hops experiment for maximum growth with limited height.   Ok, here is my theory put to action.  As the hop bines reach the top of the rope, I let out some rope and loop the slack off the ground and the hop bines have more vertical space to grow.  I am thinking about using hose hangers mounted to the garage wall to loop the rope and bines with room for air circulation.

    A hop trellis in my opinion is more for looks than functionality (traditional trellis definition of lattice wood structure – sometimes rope/twine structures are referred to as a trellis, a loose interpretation).  Harvesting hops from a trellis requires a ladder or cherry picker to reach the hop cones.  Rigging hops with rope allows you to lower the bines to the ground for picking the hop flowers.  If you use a pulley or similar rigging system, you don’t need to go to the top of a line/pole/trellis to harvest or drop the bines to the ground.  Don’t get me wrong, I love hops climbing a trellis or arbor or pergola.  Hops make a great shade cover, look great and aromatic to boot.

    As you can see, my hop plants – humulus lupulus have to compete with my wife’s Peonies.  It won’t be long and the hops will be towering over their competition.  I would rather lose the flowers but that is not a battle worth waging, besides, the flowers were there first.

    From left to right are: Nugget hops, Magnum hops and Cascade hops.  To give you a sense of proportion, the wooden stake is a foot out of the ground.  The hop bines are bout 2 feet tall and growing inches a day, about to take off!

    Nugget Hop Bines Starting to Climb

    Nugget Hop Bines Starting to Climb

    Cascade Hops Growing Vertical

    Cascade Hops Growing Vertical

    Magnum Hop Bines Racing to the Top of the Rope

    Magnum Hop Bines Racing to the Top of the Rope

    The rigging for the hop plants consist of a stake with a hook, rope, a pulley and a tie down (flag pole cleat).  The pulley allows for lowering the rope for additional growth and makes harvesting easy – just lower the bines – no ladder needed once installed!  It is far safer to harvest on the ground than on a ladder.  Especially if you are celebrating the harvest with a few homebrews!  Another advantage is you can always lower the bines, harvest the ripe hop cones and raise them again if you have some hop flowers that are not ripe to pick yet.

    I didn’t keep track of the cost of the hop rigging equipment (hooks,  rope, cleats and pulleys)  but I believe it was about $20.  I have close to $20 in hop rhizomes and shipping.  So for $40 and a little time planting hops, I have a great hobby for years to come, I can watch hops grow!  I plan on bartering hops for homebrews from my homebrewing friends (I may even break out my homebrewing equipment and brew a batch), trying some hop sprouts to eat and hop tea to drink and I may try a hop pillow too!

    I have about 15 feet for vertical growth and if this works as planned, I could eventually grow 30 to 40 foot hop bines!  That’s the theory anyway.  I will keep you posted with pictures and stats.  This is a design in progress so I will adapt my configuration as I gain additional experience from this setup.  Keep checking back for progress reports and pictures!

    Categories : grow hops


    1. […] my house or garage and back towards the ground to tie off (tie cleats work good).  Here is how I rig hop bines.  If you are already growing hops, let me know how they are doing.  Hop […]

    2. […] but we can start planning what varieties of hops to plant.  It is a good time to start planning support structures for our hop bines.  Eighteen to twenty feet is an optimum height, but they will take what you give them.  My pulley […]

    3. Laurie,
      I am on year 4 of growing hops and have not noticed any bugs on my hops. I have a friend that has 10 times as many hop bines as me – I help him harvest every year and he has no bug issues either. Not saying it isn’t possible to have an insect problem, but they do not appear to attract bugs more than any other plant in my experience.

    4. Laurie says:

      Great idea. About to grow some cascade in metro Seattle area. Love this system. We have a tall side of the house. Sister-in-law a few hours south of us mentioned bugs were drawn to it and so had to plant it away from the house. Any info on this?

    5. Todd,

      I did not locate a stud. just drilled a pilot hole and screwed the hook in. It is something like 1/2 inch plywood for my eves – has held for 4 years so far. I figured if it ever did pull out, I would use those spring loaded ceiling anchors (whatever they are called). Not sure on the weight, but guessing around 20 pounds per rope.

    6. todd says:

      I’m wondering about your pulley setup. Did you locate a stud beneath your siding to hang the pulley from? How did you find the stud? How heavy do the bines get? I want to try this, but am having difficulty locating studs and don’t want to just put it into the wood siding.

    7. Nila,
      It doesn’t hurt to try – not much invested in time or money. I am interested in how these grow for you. Keep us posted.

    8. Nila Helmig says:

      First time trying to grow hop vines; not necessarily for the hops themselves, but for covering some unsightly structures in my small yard. Most of the day there is shade, with only a couple of morning sunshine hours. Since Idaho is known for its hops, I think the soil is okay although I haven’t tested it. Hey, if I live in Fruitland, everything must grow, right? I bought 2 plants, approximately 2′ in height, from a well-known nursery in Oregon, and, since I do have a green thumb, I’m giving it a try, next to the house. I’ll admit, when I bought the plants, I wasn’t even thinking about all the sun they would need! I’ll let you know what happens as I embark on this trial.

    9. Still alive and kicking! I recommend a pulley system for ease of harvesting and easily re-raising the bines allowing the bines to continue storing energy post harvest for the crown / rootstock (especially first year hops). Although my experiment showed very little hop cones production on the loops of hop bines. The hop cones mostly appeared above the hose hangers I looped them on (about where they would naturally occur). Although I did achieve bine length 6 – 8 feet longer than without, the results showed no additional hop cone harvest.

      I am interested in trying a spiral approach. I have not figured out how I want to achieve this yet. I want an upward angle steep enough so I would not need to train the hop bines daily to stay on the ropes, especially when they are above reach without a ladder. If I figure something out I wish to try this year, I will post it on the blog. 2010 second year hops should rock – posts and pics will be coming! Thanks for the inquiry!

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