Long time lurker first time poster. You guys are the best at answering silly people's silly questions (pedal powered wood chippers comes to mind).
The app I use tells me I live in a cool mountain area. I'm from nz and as far as I know we don't do zones all I know is hops and apples grow really well here if that helps.
Basically the property I live on used to be a hop garden and one of the areas has prolific amounts of hop rhizome that have established themselves. I didn't tend to them last year as much as I should've I let them grow wild on the ground thinking they would flower but they didn't which makes me suspect that the buds need airflow around them to flower (lesson learned).
The grass and doc and blackberry popped up all around them and was a nightmare to keep under control. I was pulling it out by hand today and thought that I could sow some sort of cover crop on top of it that didn't have long roots which would benefit from the hops being watered and discourage the grass from growing. It would be good to also put a winter crop in there but I don't want to disturb the soil too much as the rhizome is quite shallow in the soil.
Ideally it would be some sort of self seeding edible green. We have miners lettuce which has been growing and seeding like crazy this year. here so I was considering that whether or not that is a good idea I have no idea. I'm also unsure if it grows in the height of summer.
The pros either do heavy mulching or have mustards planted in between the rows. There's some wild ones around here and one grows with wood sorrel around it. But mustard is the only thing I've ever seen interplanted in a large hop yard
And the plants need vertical growth to produce cones. There seems to be a slight trigger toward lateral flowering shoots when they reach.the top of their support (or when seasonal factors trigger them if the support is super tall).
Also, do you know what variety of hops they are by chance? There could be some very cool varieties if their old NZ types
Thanks for the information I'll probably give all three methods (the two you mentioned and mine) a go. I have made beer from them in the past and been told it is most likely some type of hallertau. Supposedly there is not much demand for heirloom hop varieties.
My ultimate goal for them here is to donate the rhizomes to friends and family in pots to shade their balconies over the summer months. I've also heard people make good money selling the entire plant as decoration for weddings which seemed like you could make enough to buy more beer than you could make with the hops. I am relatively new to gardening so all I'm doing is trying to improve one aspect of my garden every year.
Diego Footer on Permaculture Based Homesteads - from the Eat Your Dirt Summit