Earlier we had a post on growing small shade loving plants out in full New Mexico sun.  Our method seems fine for adapting a full-sun plant to our climate, but what about a plant that loves shade?  I think the bottomless bucket will buy us a years time but after that we will need to have a more permanent solution.

The solution we are going to try is another plant.  We already have posts installed at the row ends. All we will do is put on a cross bar about 4-5 foot high and string wires between the now “T” posts so that it will look like a clothes line.  At the base of each post we will plant 1 hops vine.  Yes, the same hops as is used to make beer. These grow tremendously fast and by their second year I expect them to provide the needed shade.  Their scientific name Humulus lupulus roughly translates into wolf vine for their habit of “wolfing” or covering other plants.

Having grown these in the past, I know it takes a year to get them established.  The second and succeeding years they explode!  Twenty five to thirty foot of growth is not uncommon.  And they grow fast.  They will grow between 12″ and 20” per week!  When winter comes and they freeze, the vine dies back to the ground.  Next spring they shoot up again from the roots to start all over!  I have had them grow up trees to the top and upward is the normal path they want to take.  It remains to be seen if we can get them to grow in a horizontal position. 

We have grapes to make wine and now we are on the path to self-sufficiency in making beer also!