When our dad retired he learned how to brew beer. Our family has always been beer drinkers, (not excessively of course). We were Friday night, meet at the Godfather’s for pizza and a couple of pitchers of beer kind of beer drinkers. Also we loved to work in the yard and what is better than a cold beer after mowing the lawn or weeding the garden?
Dad is really good at brewing beer…I mean really good. He has had some duds. I’ve helped him pour out a few five gallons. The pigs he was raising at the time loved it though.
My husband Eddie now has the brewing bug. He is getting really good. His best so far, I think, is his Pale Ale. It’s delightful and not super bitter like his IPA’s. It’s the perfect “lawnmower beer.” The beer that is perfect on a hot day after working hard.
Eddie’s hobby is now taking over the garage and now my garden. Our neighbor gave Eddie 2 big hop plants. I don’t know if you have ever seen the way hops grow, but they need a lot of space and height. Neither one I was willing to give him in my garden. They are beautiful and I was happy to grow our own hops but we needed to come up with a better idea. So this is what we came up!
We decided that the only place we could plant the hops would be in a planter and they could grow up our back patio. Hop roots are really invasive so you need to keep them contained. The other thing is that we want to put them undercover in the winter. So the hunt for a TROUGH was under way.
We looked on Craigslist, but not to many people in the Seattle suburbs were selling troughs. We did find a little farm supply company in Fall City. It’s called Baxter Barn. Such a cute place, they have a ton of goats and really cool birds. The girls loved it. I highly recommend a drive out there to check it out. We purchased our trough for $100. It even fit in our Lexi Girl (our Lexus). That poor car has hauled some crazy things.
We wanted to put the trough on casters so we could roll it under the deck during the winter. Here is the play by-play of how we got our hops ready to grow up our deck in a beautiful trough (never thought I would say that.)
Items Needed –
- Drill with 9/32″ drill bit
- 4 casters (2 locking)
- 16 stainless steel 1/4 20 x 1 1/2″ bolts & nuts
- 32 washers
Lay casters on bottom of trough. Measure and line up casters so trough will roll easier. Make sure the 2 locking casters are on the same side and not diagonal from each other. Mark holes with sharpie or pencil. Drill with 9/32″ drill bit…TIP, make sure you drill, then put caster on and a bolt through, the drill will want to “walk” when you’re drilling and will cause the caster to not line up. Then drill with caster in place. Putting each bolt in as holes are drilled. After all holes are drilled, tighten bolts with nuts.
For drainage you will want to drill holes in the bottom. You can still use the 9/32″ drill bit. I would recommend 15 to 25 holes. The more the better for hops, they like good drainage.
Hops also like “loamy” soil (I have no idea what that means), but perlite will help it drain better. You can buy soil with perlite in it, but I would recommend adding a little more. Hop roots don’t like sitting in water, they like the water to drain through their roots. (Told you they were picky). They also only like the roots wet, try not to get the vines wet because they are susceptible to mildew and disease.
For the vines/bines we then added 4 cedar sticks and tied twine from the stick up to the deck. Our hops might not do so good this year because of transplanting them, but next year they should be happy and ready to climb.
You could use this method for any vine. The trough kind of gives my yard an industrial, county feel. Two opposites, I know, but I love the look.
Happy Growing and Happy Beer Drinking!!!