Ramble On

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hops Stringing part 1 @hawksbillhops

With bines literally popping up all over the hopyards, David and I decided to get out there and try our hands at stringing a row or two.  We had plenty of encouragement from other hops growers in the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative, and both of us had watched some YouTube videos showing how they do it in the Pacific Northwest.  Still, we knew there was going to be a bit of a learning curve before we got this right...

We ordered rope made from coconut husks - coir - from the Pacific Northwest to provide the lines that will guide our hops bines up the trellis.  The version we ordered comes in 200 line bales, which is shown with me up on the lift.  Foolishly we thought we could just roll out with these lines coming off one at the time.

No such luck: by the time I had the first line tied, the bale looked like I'd just pulled 200 strings of Christmas lights out of storage!

So it was back to the ground to rework our plan.  We decided to separate out handfuls of 10-12 ropes and see if that made things easier.  The answer was yes, but the hanging ropes were still somewhat tangled, only in much smaller bunches.

Still, we rolled doing it this way - finishing up the Fuggles roll fairly quickly, and making some adjustments along the way.

The next step was to anchor the ropes.  Along with the bales of coir we had bought authentic "w-clips" and a special tool for this purpose.  I figured there would be written instructions in the packaging -  there weren't, but we got the hang of it quickly.

Finally we had our first row strung - there was a lot of learning curve about how to do the tying, how to anchor the ropes, and some possible tinkering with the trellis we need to look into.  But all-in-all, I'm pretty satisfied with what we have accomplished.

We do need to get back out there and finish tying these bines, though!

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