Dave Marshall, a close neighbour and fencing contractor, drives deer fence posts into an area approximately 35m by 10m. Shelter belts in place.
A 2.5 high tensile wire is attached to near the top of posts, held in place with barbed staples and looped to form a wire on each side of the post. The wire is joined with a crimp and an inline strainer placed near one end of the row to tighten the wire when necessary. This gives just over 2 meters of vertical growth before the hops are trained horizontally. Basically you are making a clothes line. Advantages of this system are the hops can be picked in situ without special equipment and it's less cost to build than a conventional trellis.
4 rows and 5 bays per row with 5 hops of the same variety in each bay gives an area for 100 hop plants of 20 varieties. Posts in the rows are 7 meters apart. Rows are 2 meters apart. We then covered the complete area with professional weed mat but removed the weed mat in the rows after one growing season leaving the weed mat on the paths between the rows intact. Photo shows string tied to bricks
We bought several hop screw pegs from the UK to anchor the string in year 2. We then had a further 100 made for us in NZ.
A. These screw pegs are strong and robust creating a perfect anchor point for your hop plants to grow from but can also be used for any climbing plant. The advantage is they can be added after planting.
B. An alternative anchor can be made from #8 wire, bent in a vice and is used at planting time. Put the bottom of the L shape in the bottom of the hole, place the plant on top, back fill and firm soil leaving the hook above soil level. The growth of the hops roots system will help to secure the anchor.
Orange Sunrise happily growing along the horizontal wires.
This photo will give you an idea of how productive this horizontal method can be for the home grower with only a short step ladder and a few buckets required for hand picking.
Orange Sunrise foreground and Tangerine Dream behind
Because the hops were picked in situ, we can let the plants grow on building their root system until the first frost of the year kills the growth above ground. The bines can then be cut down and mulch added around the roots for the Winter until the plants emerge again in the Spring.