Photo by Megan Zeigler
One of the hop setups on Bonvue Street in Observatory Hill.

By Alyse Horn

Observatory Hill Inc. has been looking for different ways to temporarily use vacant lots in the neighborhood, and one current solution has been to grow hops.

Megan Zeigler said she was brought in to help oversee the project because of her past involvement with GTECH and the Hops on Lots program.

“This is meant to be a temporary vacant land solution,” Zeigler said. “The current agreement is that all of the hops being grown will go to Allegheny City Brewing.”

A variety of cluster, centennial and cascade hops will be grown on 101 and 104 Bonvue St. Zeigler said one lot is complete and just waiting for a water donation from Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, and the other still needs poles and stringing to happen. The PWSA donated the water to the project as part of its community water program.

“We are waiting for that tap to go it, and can hopefully start planting next week,” Zeigler said.

Hop vines grow vertically and need something similar to a trellis or a long rope to wrap around as they grow. The setup has sparked the interest of some neighborhood kids, which Zeigler is thankful for.

“We want to have the kids help plant [the hops],” Zeigler said. “We’re trying to get them engaged so they can be our stewards.”

Zeigler said she has done similar projects like this in Millvale after leaving GTECH. While with the organization, she said the Hops on Lots was what she was most attached to. She was able to being her personal business venture in hops after receiving a grant from the Idea Foundry.