Re: Belgian\Jersey Fuggles
While up in Washington (1 hour away from Yakima valley)I grew 4 varieties of hops: Cascade, Centennial, Horizon, and Santium. Overall, I harvested about 5 lbs of dried hops/year from 12 plants. Cascade and Centinnial were the most aphid resistant and productive. Santium was plagued by insects and disease. Horizon was in the middle of the bunch. This will vary by geographical location.
Here's my advice:
1)Location: Plant the hops in a location that receives direct sun for at least half the day. Preferable along side a tall structure for ease in trellis attachment (i.e., pole barn).
2)Soil: Well drained. They love lots of water, but not sitting in their own wettness. Sand is great, but needs nutrient enrichment. (see below)
3)Spacing: 4-6 feet apart, further if you have different varieties.
4)Bed Prep: prepare the bed before planting. Dig a 3 foot deep hole, about 2 1/2 feet wide, saturate with water then mix in manure (preferable chicken), compost and sandy soil. Make a nice wet manure-compost mud pie (mmmm)and then bury rizome in center (bud end up, about 3 inches below soil from top of bud).
5)Pruning: Hop plants grow like weeds, but as a result, they need constant attention if you are trying to maximize cone growth. Try to maintain 3-8 main stems and trim all the rest. Trim ground trailing bines low, then replant in another location.
6)Water: Install a drip line or other type of irrigation system. Hind site information here. I found myself watering those plants every evening after work becasue I didn't install the drip line. If you like to stand for hours in your shorts and sandles with a garden hose while being eaten by Mosquitoes’, feel free to ignore this advice.
7)Trellis: Use thick hemp twine; best for training hops to grab and grow upward. Wire and nylon does not provide enough traction and you'll endup spending you time tying twist ties around the bines to maintain upward growth. Trellis hight should be as high as you can go: 15-30 feet.
8)Harvest: I found that hops are way cheaper to buy than to grow. The benefit to growing your own hops is the accessability to fresh cones. Save your energy and just pick when the cones are ripe and toss those beautiful cones directly in your boil pot. You friends will love you for it! (note: fresh hop amounts are a 6 to 1 ratio; you need 6 times as much in weight to acheive the same IBU)
Some Hop Growing Links:
Enjoy the Fuggles!