Tuesday, September 7, 2010

2000 strings of coir on the trellis, 2000 strings of coir...

Farmhand Ale

I don't want to be that blogger who always apologizes when a few months have past since publishing their last post - so I won't.

Let's get down to business. My inspiration tonight happens to be a fine bottle of Farmhand Ale by Driftwood Brewery out of Victoria, BC. We have yet to strike a deal with the folks over at Driftwood re: hops sales, but we think they are the forward-thinking chaps who would entertain such a transaction. Lord knows, there will be enough hops to go 'round this harvest season. Rewind...
It was the first weekend in May when the potted plants went into the ground (that post) and by the third week in May, many of the bines needed to be trained.

Onto what you ask? Well, my friend that is the subject of this week's blog!

Coir - we purchased two bales of the coconut stuff from a distributor based out of Washington. Approximately 5000 strings fit into the bulky shipment, whose origins can be sourced back to Sri Lanka. Coir twine is one of many useful products made from the byproducts of the coconut industry. Lucky for us, this fibre is cheap, strong, and organic. It will break down in the compost along with the waste hop material after harvest.

The bales are neatly bundled together in 100 string bundles, each of which measures 20'6" - enough extra length for knotting the strings atop out 18' trellis and anchoring them into the ground.

I grabbed a few strings and hiked myself up to the top of the orchard ladder to figure out how they should be tied to the trellis. I'm confident there is a knot out there already invented for just such a task, but I'm not aware of it. Instead, this is the one I devised:

When the knot is cinched, it holds in place and doesn't slide along the wire.

Now that the knot was figured out, I realized that walking up the ladder with a handful of coir and tying three or four at a time before having to move the ladder was not an efficient use of my time. Where's Hal? He will have a solution for our little predicament. Our neighbour Hal is always thinking. And while I was screwing around with the ladder and making next to no progress, Hal was thinking, "Why don't those boys move the ladder with their brand new tractor?". And so it was done.

Ratchet straps holds the ladder section cradled in the bucket and a rock box keeps the tripod in place towards the rear of the tractor - brilliant.
When we load up 100 strings to the top of the ladder, tying strings is fast and efficient. Although, this worked well for us in 2010, we have an even more skookum  method devised to make stringing even faster - with two people tying at one time. We'll save that for 2011.


  1. you guys are ridiculous. lovin it

  2. I believe that note is called a clove hitch, or a variation thereon.

  3. how about a trailer behind the tractor. then you could have the ladder on the tractor and a ladder on the trailer. :)

    -Michael Stathers

  4. Dear Sir

    We are producers and suppliers of Coir Twine (Hop Strings)
    to grow hop vine in the USA and Canada. Please send your
    requirements so that we could offer our best prices delivered
    to your farm.

    Thanks & Brgds -

    D. S. N. Liyanage
    Managing Director
    285/B, Hospital Road
    Kiribathgoda, Kelaniya 11600
    Sri Lanka.
    Tel : 0094764103752
    Website : www.coirassociation.com
    Email : coirassociation@gmail.com