What does it take to build a hop trellis? That’s a great question with quite a few facets, sub questions, and answers. Let’s take this one step at a time.
Some of the questions you need to ask yourself are:
Q: What varieties of hops do you plan to grow?
A: This will lead to a huge decision on whether to build a short or tall trellis. Differences being cost of materials, labor needed to string and harvest, and total production quantity.
Q: How many hop plants do you plan on growing?
A: Once you go beyond, say 50 hop plants, the design of the infrastructure can change dramatically. (That number can vary quite a bit, so don’t think of it as set in stone.)
Q: Do you plan on being 100% certified organic…or are you happy with farming hops in a generally organic and sustainable fashion, much like 99% of the hop growing world?
A: As far as the actual infrastructure goes, this doesn’t change your plan significantly. But be thinking about using treated poles, fertilizing methods, etc.
Q: Is this going to be a hobby or something you might make money doing?
A: Either way is fine, but going commercial means taking into account quite a few potential investments and labor issues. The smaller you are, the tougher it will be to recoup your initial investment if you decide to grow on a full size trellis.