This year, the only “new” plant I am putting in is a dozen Williamette hops rhizomes. I have been wanting to plant hops for several years, but have always run into supply issues. This year, I think my friend and I got our orders in on time and will soon be happy hops moms. But I have a couple of questions. I have researched several sites online that have given me many great tips, pointers, and suggestions…but there are a couple conflicting bits I’d like some dirt-under-the-nails gardeners to help me out with.
One source says to plant the rhizomes vertically with a bud close to the top, but doesn’t say how deeply to plant the rhizome. The same source also says you can plant them horizontally an inch under soil. Any preferences? Which way results in a stronger root base? I am patient; although I am growing the viney beasts mostly to screen the beer-bottle-flinging neighbors from trashing up my backyard and to insulate the north end of my house, I’m willing to wait a year or two for lots of vines as long as I have a good root system.
I know they love sun, but the north face of my house only gets about 6 hours of sunlight during the spring and maybe 8 during the growing season. During the winter, though, it hardly gets any sun. The copious amount of snow we received in Colorado over the winter is still lingering there in the shade patch of my house. How will that locale affect the hops growing patterns? I am planning on putting maybe two to three vines in that location to see how they fare and the rest in the backyard.
I’d also like some tips and pointers on how to train the vines. I have lots of nice copper pipes (say hooray for much-needed plumbing renovations to our old house, no matter how much swearing was done in the process) I plan on using as twine supports, but everything I have read says that in order to train the vines horizontally you must do so manually. How difficult is it to train the vines? My bleeding heart HATED me manhandling it and I’ve yet to see if it made it through the winter after I snapped so many of it’s vines trying to train them, and I really don’t want to manhandle the hops vines too much if they are as fragile.
I’m not terribly interested in harvesting the hops, although I do want to try and brew using my own; my prime reason is to prevent my backyard gardens from being so soiled by the awful litter from my neighbors…so I don’t plan on pruning too many of the side vines.
Thanks, and happy almost-spring!