Side Yard Hops Trellis

A little hard to see in these crapular photos: the new south side hops trellis.

I love looking out our bedroom window in the summer at the hops I’ve trained up the east side of the house. And I also like the beer I’ve made with those hops, so much so that I decided to expand my hops growing project to the south side of the house.

Otherwise useless, the narrow side yard on the south side of the house is the perfect place for a vertical plant like hops. To accommodate the bines (what you call a plant like hops that attaches itself to a support without suckers or tendrils) I put some pulleys on the eaves of the house so that I can lower the bines to harvest the hops without having to climb a ladder.  I attached some twine to metal cables that run through the pulleys. Hops stick to twine like Velcro and grow so fast you can almost watch them climb. I train them into a “V” shape and cut down all but the strongest two bines from each mound in the spring.

Year three of the front porch hops: Cascade and Nugget.

Two years ago I started Cascade and Nugget hops in self watering pots placed by the porch on the east side of the house. This year I transferred those bines to the ground and they seem to be doing well. Cascade, especially, grows like a weed here. While I proved to myself that you can grow hops in self irrigating pots, I think they will do better in the ground.

The new varieties on the side of the house are Golden and Chinook. Since this blog also doubles as my garden diary I’ll note that the Golden is on the southeast and the Chinook on the southwest. It’s important to keep the bines labeled so when it comes time to make beer you know which variety is which. When I planted the Cascade and Nugget in the ground I got them mixed up. They look and smell different when mature so I’m pretty sure I can tell the difference come harvest time. But, never having grown Chinook or Golden, I don’t want to forget which one is which.

Here’s how you have to harvest hops without a fancy pulley system:

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17 Comments

  1. Thank you for the timely article, I was just given some hops to grow, and was curious as to the best way to set them up for an easier harvest. I have NO idea what kind of hops these are, I’m hoping to be able to figure it out come harvest time.

  2. At first, I thought you named your plants like I name my hens…lol. Then, I realized you had different varities. Is that a neighbor’s house so close to yours? Do hops not need much sun? Is beer the only use for hops? It seems like they might afford lots of shade to cool a house.

  3. I sure wish I’d seen your pulley system before putting up strings for my new hops plants ;-) Have you tried to divide them yet? My second year hops are growing like gangbusters so I’m hoping to be able to divide them next year…

  4. Practical–I think how much sun hops needs depends on where you live. Here in hot and sunny central Los Angeles they seem to do well with a half day of sun. Other places I imagine they need more. They do need rich soil and moisture. I’ve got them on a drip system.

    De–I have not tried to divide them yet. I probably should!

  5. We have wild hops near us that I’ve harvested before, but only to put in sleep pillows etc.

    I’ve planted a hop this year to grow over my allotment shed for brewing. It may be joined by another next year, depending on how well it goes (the hop and the beer!)

  6. I don’t know about anybody else but I love the way the house smells when beer is being brewed, and it gets heavenly when the hops go in. You think bread smells good baking?

    Try brewing beer.

  7. We grow hops on trellises that are in front of our south facing bedroom windows for shade in the summer.
    We have found that ladybugs love Hops which is a good thing.
    Hops like a deep watering at their roots and an occasional shower.We hose down the whole bine once a week.
    The hops themselves can also be dried and put into a pillow to aid sleep
    We don’t brew beer but the hops make for good trading.
    Hops can take over if you are not careful to divide them.Another good trade item.

  8. Meant to say that I also pick the hop shoots for risotto di bruscandoli. There are lots of recipes for cooking hop shoots, but that’s the one I usually do.

  9. @Hazel: Hops risotto! Now there’s a new one. We’ll look into that.

    I’ve always wanted to make a hops pillow, but Erik is hops greedy and insists on stuffing the freezer with them instead! Maybe when the new crop comes in I can clear out the freezer. Hopefully they’ll still smell good.

  10. Great idea! At DogFishHead Brewery in DE, they have their hops growing over the side patio and it’s a beautiful place to sit in the summer, with that hops canopy overhead.

  11. I my experience, you give em enough sun and water they can grow up two stories and back down another (especially cascade in California weather). This can clog the pulley if you were to try to pull the vine+twine through it. Hooks worked better for me.
    /$0.02

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