Chris Colby from Brew Your Own Magazine came up with a great idea for an adjustable hop trellis when growing hops in pots (or in the ground, for that matter). As the bines grow up the twine, you simply let out more of the twine from the top of the pole and let the bines loop and droop down. This design has been working great so far, but I've felt uncomfortable with the bines just hanging down without any support, particularly when one of our severe summer storms come through with heavy rains and high winds. I've been thinking about how to modify the existing design to provide the additional support I'm looking for and this is what I came up with:
I simply added 32 inch cross bars with eyebolts on the ends to the main pole every 18 inches. I can now attach the loops of bines to the ends of the cross bars as I let out more twine from the top so they not just left hanging loose. I played around with different ways to hang and loop the bines and found that criss-crossing the twines from one side of the trellis to the other will provide the longest lengths of twine (over three feet for each diagonal cross) on which to climb. The twine is then also kept in a generally upward direction as you follow along its length which will make it easier to keep the new bines growing along it. I found it could be a little difficult to train the new bines to keep following along the twine that was drooping and hanging down since they always want to keep growing up and not down. This design should also helps to keep the most amount of leaves in the direct sunlight. And, the entire planters are still self-contained which will allow me to move them into the garage should another Ike head this way.
I've already come up with a few improvements and other ideas as I was putting these together, but I think I'll save them until next near. Perhaps I'll try a different design for each pot and see which works bets.