A 2 Minute Introduction to Hemp Farming
Thanks to the unbelievable growth the hemp industry has been enjoying these past few years (pun intended), it’s only natural that many people want to get in on this booming market. The most common barrier to entry is that people don’t know how to get started. While not all-encompassing, this beginner’s guide will give you a rundown on the basics you’ll need to know before rolling up your sleeves and joining the hemp revolution.
Check your legal boxes.
Many people have questions and concerns about whether or not growing hemp is even legal or not. it is. In 2018 the United States Federal government added hemp to the list of agricultural crops that can legally be grown, joining several other first world countries like Canada and Australia. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp farming is federally legal. That being said, there are some things we suggest you do to protect yourself before you throw on your overalls and straw hat. The last thing you’d want is for your farm to get shut down just as you’re getting started because of some technicality in paperwork.
✓ Contact your city, county, and local zoning agencies to make sure you’re in compliance
✓ See if your state requires you to get a permit to grow hemp
✓ Make sure that the seeds you choose will produce a crop that will have less than 0.3 THC percentage
That last step is important because even though growing hemp is federally legal, the hemp that you grow must meet that THC level standard. All seeds purchased from Blue Forest Farm have been verified through our Proven Process and will meet this standard, ensuring that you remain federally compliant.
Find the best genetics.
“Genetics is everything.” Our CEO Trina is always speaking about the importance of this step. Genetics are directly connected to your yield. Our Chief Growth Officer Zach explains further: “When you have good genetics each plant is uniform and flowers at the same time. This translates directly to improved harvests for the farmer.”
In addition to crop manageability problems like inconsistent flowering and plant sizes, if you choose to grow a hemp plant with the wrong genetics you can quickly get into a situation where your entire crop is “hot”. Hot is a term in the industry that references when a hemp plant ends up containing higher levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The hemp plant belongs to the family of Cannabis sativa plants. Most hemp plants naturally produce low levels of THC but the absolute best preventative method to ensure you do not run into this while farming is to start with seeds that have been genetically tested. We have spent years dedicating research to this effort, are proud of what we have accomplished with our hemp breeding, and are looking forward to improving even more in the future.
Check your soil standards.
Once you have your seeds, you’ll need a designated area to plant them. Generally speaking, a size fewer than 2 inches is generally advised for each plant. Hemp seeds are not a difficult crop to grow when it comes to soil and weather conditions, though deserts and areas where heavy rainfall saturates the soil are an exception. It does best in warm environments with soil high in organic materials. You can easily test your soil before planting to make sure your seeds will thrive. Some of the more important things to test are the PH, sulfur, potassium sulfate, and rock phosphate levels. You’ll want to aim for a PH level between 5.5-6.5.
● Typically your state college will have an agricultural lab that will test your soil for about $15
● If you’ve got a bigger budget consider using a commercial lab
● Purchase a self-test kit. Here is a list of the top ten from Garden Helpful
If your soil report comes back non-satisfactory you can improve it using organic and sustainable methods like composting. Here are some helpful links for more information:
● Check out this in-depth PDF from Science Direct
● A cool interactive map provided by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)
● An easy to read guide on soil health compiled by Farmers.gov.
Make sure you take test samples before treating your soil. You can retest again after.
Once you have healthy soil for your plants to grow, the next step is acquiring your seed or clones. There are tons of sources for places offering seeds and even clones to get you started. Clones are a great way to get started with your hemp farm because the plant is already partially grown, putting you ahead of the game!, including Blue Forest Farms. Make sure you place your order with us well in advance to ensure you get them in time. Hemp is usually planted between March and May in the northern hemisphere and between September and November in the southern hemisphere. It will be ready to harvest in three to four months. Wherever you choose to purchase your hemp seeds or clones from, just make sure they’re reputable and legitimate. Do your research, and ask questions.
Tending to Your Hemp Crop.
As we already learned, hemp is a pretty tough plant, so caring for them isn’t going to be too taxing, which is good news
for all you new farmers out there. That said, there are some important things to remember to maximize your chances of a successful farm. The first is that at least for the first six weeks or so after planting, regularly irrigating the seeds can be essential. Second, and much more obvious even to a newcomer to the world of growing, is providing adequate water. Most types of hemp require somewhere around 25-30 inches of rain per year but monitor your plants to determine what is right for your specific conditions.
Lastly, we highly suggest growing your hemp organically. Hemp doesn’t require extra nutrition besides what is found in the earth, and pesticides are unnecessary since the plant itself is so resistant to most pests and diseases anyway.
Harvesting Your Hemp!
The time has finally come. You’ve watched your little seedlings grow into fully matured hemp plants over the course of around 100-120 days, but now what? Well, it’s harvesting time, of course! You’ll want to make sure to properly harvest and store both the hemp flowers and fibers if you’ve planted female plants, or seeds if you have male. Harvesting hemp is as easy as clipping the plants as close to the ground as you can and letting them dry out. As a beginner,
odds are you’ll probably want to start out simple and either sell your crop or perhaps make some CBD products for yourself, such as oils. If you’ve purchased your hemp seeds or clones from Blue Forest Farms, you may qualify for our seed cycle program, where we purchase your harvest back from you. Wherever you choose to purchase your hemp seeds or clones from, just make sure they’re reputable and legitimate. Do your research, and ask questions.
There’s so much you can do with the hemp plant that we would be here all day, or multiple days, if we tried to cover everything at once. To review some options check out our complete guide for extracting CBD from hemp if you’re ready to go down that route. For now, this is all you really need to know in order to get started on your own personal hemp farm. Good luck out there, and remember to have fun! If you need help or are ready to get started with an order send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.