CBD + Hemp

Hemp CBD Seeds: Harvest Checklist

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Farmers of industrial hemp might be understandably eager to reap the rewards of their hard work during the growing season, but going straight to harvest is definitely ill-advised and could result in legal issues. Preharvest is one of the key steps in proving that your product is compliant. During the preharvest stage, there are a few crucial steps a farmer must take before they can enjoy this season’s bounty.

While specifics may vary, each state has similar regulations regarding the preharvest process. Because of the THC content requirements surrounding hemp, preharvest testing is fundamental in proving compliance and assuring a stress-free harvest.

Blue Forest Farms devised a general guide for industrial hemp growers in the United States, to help take the confusion out of the preharvest process. If you follow the steps below and make sure to look up your state’s specific legislation, it’s unlikely you will have issues.

organic hemp farm

Steps to Success

  1. Determine Your Harvest Lots and Dates

Know your harvest date! And if you’ve planted more than one field of industrial hemp, know which fields you are going to harvest when. You’ll need to enter this information on your Preharvest Report Form. The actual name of this form can vary by state but typically includes the words “preharvest” and “testing” in the name. Typically, the state Department of Agriculture requires that the form be submitted no more than 30 days before your projected harvest date, and that sampling be completed within 15 days of harvest. However, this timing may vary by state so we recommend visiting the Department of Agriculture website for the state where your hemp field is located.

  1. Fill Out Your Preharvest Report Form

Pre Harvest FormThis form must be completed before your product can be tested. As you might expect, it asks for your name, business name (if applicable), and contact information. Additionally, it also asks for your registration number. This is issued to you after you apply for a hemp grower’s license. If you don’t have one of these, well, I’m no lawyer, so I can’t give you advice there. This form will also ask information about your lots, like location and size, in addition to which strains you wish to sample. Often there’s a section to indicate the lab, which will perform the testing.

Here’s a sample of a typical form. Expect additional pages that explain each field that needs to be filled out. Make sure to strictly follow your state’s guidelines for filling out the Preharvest Report Form.

  1. Send in Your Form

Send your form to your state’s Department of Agriculture. If you need to figure out where to send these forms, the department’s contact information – phone, email, and mailing address – will be on their website.

  1. Samples!

The previous steps were an important preamble to the main preharvest requirement: taking samples of your growing hemp. This procedure can vary significantly by state, so make sure you completely understand what your state requires. Usually, once you send in your report, the Department of Agriculture will assign you a sampling date. Some will send a sampler to your fields, and some will expect you to send your sample to the lab by the date assigned. One important thing to note Is the recent legislation changes regarding labs that are authorized to test hemp. Now, all laboratories testing hemp must be DEA approved and test for total THC not just Δ9THC.

Hemp Genetic Testing

  1. Results

Once your samples have been processed by the lab, they will contact you with your results, commonly via email. If you’ve started with a strain with good genetics, and you’ve followed farming best practices, you should receive good news. But, anything that tests over .3% THC will have to be destroyed and anything testing at or above .5% could lead to legal penalties. Once you’ve received your compliant results, it’s time for the fun part – harvest!

Preharvest testing may seem like a daunting process but it is really just a matter of accurate timing and paperwork – fun! You can always use the paperwork as a chance to get off your feet… It is essential that you make sure to sample within 15 days of harvest, as CBD and THC levels continue to change with certain factors like sun and heat as the plants mature. After all your hard work, sit back, relax, and prepare for harvest.

Sources:

https://www.westword.com/marijuana/deas-involvement-in-hemp-worrisome-to-colorado-farmers-11617685

https://hempindustrydaily.com/usda-national-thc-test-for-hemp-as-challenging-as-you-think-it-is/

https://www.sclabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Hemp-California-Pre-Harvest-IS-MKT0005.pdf

https://www.oregon.gov/ODA/shared/Documents/Publications/Hemp/SamplingProtocol.pdf

Healthy High Grade Hemp Grow Starts With Germination

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hemp plant germination

Picture this: Your Blue Forest Farms seeds have just arrived in the mail. You eagerly rip open the package. It’s beautiful seeds galore! Immediately, images of hemp fields start to dance in your head. The scent of various terpenes waft into your nose. But wait…you’re getting ahead of yourself. There are a few steps you need to take before you can go from an envelope of seeds to emerald fields.

Today, we are going to talk about just one of those steps: Germination. Hemp Seed germination, or germination of any plants you want to grow is the process of taking the seed from it’s dormant stage to it’s development stage. Germinating your seeds before planting them is an important first step to ensure that the majority of your plants do well once they get into the field.

Our seeds consistently perform well with germination. We’re proud to be seeing germination rate reports from our partner fields this year of 95-100% in some cases.

If you did not purchase your seeds from BFF, we recommend you inspect your seeds for quality. Here are three things you should look for:

High-Grade Quality Hemp Seeds

Color

A healthy seed will be dark brown, black, and/or gray. The dark color is often contrasted by lighter stripes or spots. If any of your seeds appear green or white, they are not fully matured and will not sprout.

Hardness

Healthy seeds should feel hard when squeezed between your fingers. If a seed has cracks or crumbles under pressure, it is unlikely that it will germinate.

Shine

Healthy seeds have a waxy coating so look for a noticeable sheen.

Healthy Hemp Seeds

If you are concerned about the germination rate of your seeds, you can test them. However, you will need to germinate them immediately after the test is completed to avoid rot, or you can just test a few and discard them. This will give you a sense of the percentage of viable seeds that you have. To test your seeds, place them in a cup of lukewarm water and wait for them to sink. This could take a few hours. The seeds that sink will likely sprout and those that float likely will not. Whether or not you choose to perform this test, at some point you’ll be ready to germinate.

Germination Methods

1. Paper Towel Method

This is one of the most popular germination methods. You will need paper towels, distilled water, and two plates. Place your seeds between layers of damp paper towel. Put the paper towel on one plate and cover it with the second, making sure to store the plates in a warm, dark, humid place. We recommend checking the paper towel every day and moistening when needed.

2. Soaking Method

For this method, you will need a jar or cup and some distilled water. First place your seeds in the jar, cover them with warm (not hot) water, and secure the lid. If you are using a cup, you can put a plate over the top instead. Once your jar or cup is prepared, store it in a warm, dark place. Change the water every 2 days.

3. Rooting Plugs and Cubes

This method requires the use of peat moss pellets, rockwool, or any other sort of rooting cube. To use these products, you must soak them in water before inserting the seeds. It is also recommended that you use a planting tray with a humidity dome. Like the above two methods, place the tray in a warm, dark location after inserting the seeds.

4. Just try planting it!

The final method is probably the simplest but comes with a bit more risk if your seeds do not germinate. You can place your seeds directly into your chosen substrate and care for them accordingly. Because your seed is sitting in a large amount of substrate, it will likely be sitting in a large amount of unabsorbed moisture, which increases the risk of rot. If you choose to use this method, make sure not to soak the soil when watering.

Germination Timeframe

So then how long does it take?

Typically, germination takes 3-5 days and is complete within 7 days. You will know your seed is ready to be transplanted when a taproot forms and then you’ll be on your way to those emerald fields. If you don’t want to be tied down with the steps of germination, contact us to learn more about our high grade, fully germinated hemp seedlings and clones. These plants come ready to go into the field and are a great alternative if you’re coming in late in the season as well.

What’s your favorite germination method? Have you had more success with one method more than the others? Are you using a method we haven’t mentioned? Engage with us on social media @blueforestfarms. We love to hear from our BFF family!

Sources:

https://kinder.farm/germination-guide/

https://maryjanesdiary.com/tell-if-cannabis-seed-is-good/

https://www.leafly.com/news/growing/how-to-germinate-cannabis-seeds

https://www.philosopherseeds.com/blog/en/germination-of-cannabis-seeds/

Farming Marketing 101

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Holding Hemp Plants

When you think “farmer,” the  image in your mind might be from childhood books and songs, “Old McDonald had a Farm,” – a person working in the field with a big straw hat and driving a tractor. That might still be true for some, but our Blue Forest Farms farmer partners don’t fit a single mold. And today a successful farmer needs to work just as hard on their marketing strategies as they do outdoors in their fields to be successful. Modern times mean there are way more opportunities for farmers to market directly to their consumers, but also that failing to do so could cause new, or even well established, farmers to struggle or fail. Some questions to ask yourself are:

  1. what does a successful marketing plan look like?
  2. what options exist for farmers to market themselves?
  3. what strategies have proven to be the best investments of your time and resources?

Each farmer is unique, but there are some universal tips that can be applied to help get your business on an upward trajectory.

Hemp Sales Avenues

If you have a farm, especially a small or new one, you know that selling your entire crop is typically the goal. You have that short window after harvest to move your product, and identifying all the possible ways to sell your crop or products will give you the most opportunities to sell out your stock. The simplest solution is obviously direct sales, where you simply set up a structure or location on your property where people can come and purchase directly from you. This has tons of convenience, but obviously relies on your farm being accessible and visible, or having some way to drive traffic to your locale.

Many farmers rely on Farmers Markets, which bring a large number of people to a central location instead of, or in addition to, them coming directly to you. If your farm is within driving distance of a Farmers Market, having a booth or space, especially if you can arrange to be in the same location for each market, can connect you with a pool of ideal customers, and lead to repeat sales just by you showing up. Make sure to distinguish yourself by giving thought to the look of your stand and display, and making sure the name of your farm or products is prominent using a banner or logo. Friendly staff and samples, if appropriate, are other ways to drive traffic to your booth.

Community Supported Agriculture is a fairly recent innovation that gets your wares in the hands of consumers who will appreciate them. CSA shares is a system that individual customers buy into. People agree to support you season by season for a certain dollar amount, for which you will give them an agreed upon amount of your crop on a regular basis. This has the advantage of building your customer base, while also knowing exactly how much money you can expect to make. Finally, speaking to local restaurants or shops can be a very consistent and reliable source of income, even for hemp farmers. Restaurants, chefs, and boutique owners love to access fresh, local ingredients and will often pay well for them.

Be High Grade – Stand Out From The Crowd

You’re eventually going to have to figure out the best platforms for reaching your customers, but first you should determine what makes you and your farm unique. Assume that every potential customer that comes to your site or reads your blog is wondering why they should buy from you instead of someone else. What is unique about you, your farm, or your products that can’t be found elsewhere? Imagine your target demographic and speak to them as directly as possible. Being able to preemptively answer questions or ease concerns will make your customers more eager to purchase from you right away. Finally, a strong logo and tagline can be useful in building your brand. You don’t have to hire an ad company – you are the expert on your farm after all – so think about how to sum up who you are and what you do. Talk to your friends after you come up with some ideas. Logos can be simple, but should clearly represent your business and objectives in a positive way. You want people to feel good about your brand when they see it. Taglines should emphasize the unique qualities of your brand, and be short and memorable. Logos and taglines are all around us. Identify some that strike you and and brainstorm until you find something you think represents your business and goals best.

Marketing is an ever changing landscape. What worked ten years ago won’t today, and what works today may not work tomorrow. The difference between successful businesses and ones that struggle or fail is the ability to adapt and evolve with the trends, while staying true to their core values. Farmers may have one of the oldest professions that exists, but you need to be on the cutting edge with technology if you hope to survive and thrive. These tips should help you get a start in marketing your farm, but marketing is an ongoing process of learning and growing that should not be neglected.

Get Your Name Out There

Now that you’ve figured out your distinctive edge in the landscape of farm products – hemp or otherwise – it’s time to figure out how to get your name out there, especially if you want to grow. Actually, no matter how big or small your farm is, a strong presence on the internet can enhance your business in today’s world. The internet is the first place people go to when searching for everything, even fresh produce or products. Buying locally is a common value these days, and you want your business to show up in those searches and look professional. That means more than having a website, though. Social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are just as important for bringing people to your business. Having all these tools isn’t enough, though, you have to maintain and be active on them, too. Your website should obviously have all the information people need: where you’re located, how to contact you, what your products are, etc, but having a regular blog and posting and communicating on social media regularly will help keep your name relevant when people search. If you have products that can be mailed, that is another easy way to make additional sales.

We may not always like it, but the online world of marketing directly to consumers is here to stay! It’s really not that hard to get started and stay relevant to the ideal consumer of your farm products.

Sources:

https://www.thespruce.com/market-your-small-farm-products-3016897

https://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Bulletins/Marketing-Strategies-for-Farmers-and-Ranchers/Text-Version

https://www.hobbyfarms.com/11-steps-to-successful-farm-marketing-2/

Hemp Growing and Farming To-Do List: Month 1

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Secure Your Hemp Genetics if You Haven’t Already…It’s Not Too Late!

Blue Forest Farms utilizes advanced analysis and breeding technology to create high CBD strains that are optimized for a variety of growing climates. Our feminized hemp seeds exhibit high germination rates and produce high levels of CBD, while remaining complaint. Additionally, they display unprecedented uniformity in the field as well as during post-harvest processing. BFF genetics are a great option for farmers seeking to eliminate some of the guess work that comes with growing hemp. Reference code “SUMMER” when speaking with a BFF team member to save on your genetics!

Make Sure You’ve Filled Out All Required Forms 

Every state has some form of required registration. Make sure you’ve completed and submitted all required paperwork. Hemp cannot be grown without a license. 

Know the Rules

Licensed cultivators have ongoing responsibilities throughout the hemp growing season. Specifics regarding these responsibilities, like testing time or harvest reports, may vary by state and can typical be found on your department of agriculture’s website. You need to know the rules to be sure you’re complying with them.  

Know What Purpose You are Growing Hemp For 

Assess whether you are growing for biomass or smokable hemp flowers. This will likely dictate your irrigation plan and eventually your harvest methodology

Make an Irrigation Plan

Hemp seedlings are especially susceptible to risks associated with inadequate watering. Irrigation systems will vary by area and climate. It’s important to know that your system functions well and have a plan in place before your plants are in the ground. If you need advice on what system might be best for you, your local ag extension is a great resource. 

Create a Pest Management Plan

At BFF, we recommend employing an integrated pest management system. If you chose to do the same, it’s important to remember that you are creating a hospitable environment or your predatory insects. If you have recently transitioned to IPM, make sure you are aware of your past pesticides’ periods of residual activity. If you are having trouble identifying a pest, your local ag extension should be able to help you.  

Prepare a Weed Management Plan

Generally, this includes deciding whether or not you want to use plastic mulch. While plastic mulch does reduce weeding, it does not eliminate the need for it entirely. 

Assess How Much Manpower Your Operation Will Require

Growing hemp at a large scale can be a labor-intensive process. Machinery will reduce the amount of manpower needed but it is not always necessary. As a general rule of thumb, it’s always better to get things done slowly and correctly than fast and wrong. Make sure your crew is well trained and familiar with your standard operating procedures. 

Submit Pre-Planting Report

Some states require farmers to submit pre-planting reports in addition to planting reports. Typically, this includes information about the hemp variety, amount planted, and location. Forms are available on your state department of agriculture’s website. Depending on the state, this will also have to be submitted before moving plants from one location to another, like from the greenhouse to the field. Be sure to comply with the timing requirements for these forms. 

Germinate Your Hemp Seeds (If You Haven’t Already)

We recommend germinating hemp seeds indoors. This allows you to better control the environment and eliminates the risk of seeds not germinating in the field. By using transplants, you ensure you are starting with healthy plants. More information about the germination process can be found on our resources page, as well as our YouTube channel

Make Sure Equipment is in Good Condition

The last thing you want to do is get to work and realize you have faulty equipment. It’s extremely important that your machinery is in good condition so that the entire process from prep to harvest runs smoothly. If you are planting open ground, we recommend a carousel or ski type transplanter. For plastic, we recommend a waterwheel planter. 

Prep Your Field

Know your soil type, pH, and fertility. Fertilization should always be done based on soil tests. Assess your soil bed density and hardpan and till accordingly. If you are laying plastic, this is when it would be done. Generally, your last field prep operation should be done as close to transplanting as possible.

Transplant

The exact time you transplant will vary by location but is generally after the last frost. Remember to only transplant well rooted, healthy hemp seedlings or clones. In the long run, inconsistencies can make the harvest process more difficult but can also affect your ROI. Always handle your plants with care and make sure to water well after planting. For a more in depth look at the transplanting process, visit our YouTube channel as well as our resources page.

Submit Planting Report

The department of agriculture requires hemp farmers to send in planting reports within a certain timeframe. This form must be submitted if moving hemp plants from one location to another, e.g. greenhouse to field. Planting Report forms can be found on your department of agriculture’s website.

Submit Your Buyback Application

Blue Forest Farms has secured a contract for biomass grown with their genetics based on last year’s performance. This means that we can now buyback your harvested biomass at an equitable, fair market price. Get more information about our Buyback Program and find the application.

Show Us What You’re Growing

For a chance to win prizes all summer long, share photos with us via email hello@blueforestfarms.com or on our social channels: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @blueforestfarms. We can’t wait to see what you grow!

Clone Problems: Understanding Hemp Clones and Avoiding the Pitfalls

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More and more people across the country are getting excited about growing hemp. In response, retailers have begun offering all sorts of options to entice curious hobbyists and new farmers – things like auto flowering seeds and feminized clones. 

Like most things in life, these options aren’t always perfect, especially since this industry is only beginning. Hemp clone technology is exciting, and yet there are a few things that can go wrong when growing with clones. Most of the pitfalls can be avoided by understanding how cloning works, and the unique characteristics of hemp clones

Growing plants from seed is pretty straightforward. You plant the seed in the ground and it grows. Maybe germinate it in some paper towel to give it a little extra care. Make sure the budding plant has the three necessities: air, water, and light. Then before you know it, it’s harvest day. It might not be that simple but you know what we mean. Growing from clones requires a bit more care.

What are Hemp Clones?

Cloning is a modern method of hemp cultivation (no it’s nothing like the sci-fi movies!). Rather, the methods and the scale of hemp cloning is modern; people have been propagating plants from cuttings for millenia. 

Clones are an exact genetic copy of the mother plant. They’re made by taking a cutting of a mother plant, and then caring for it until it develops roots and grows into a genetically identical plant. By identical, we really mean identical. The clone will have almost exactly the same cannabinoid and terpene profiles, as well as share the same resistance to pests and fungi. Cuttings can even be taken from clones to create successive generations. 

Nature vs Nurture

Cultivators strive for genetic uniformity because a predictable plant allows you to create a predictable product, but uniformity can trigger a number of issues for growers. For example, if a pest or disease strikes a crop made up of genetics that aren’t resistant to that pest or disease, it’s likely that the entire crop would be affected, or even wiped out. However, hemp proves to be widely pest and disease tolerant so this issue shouldn’t cause much worry. BFF always suggests that hemp farmers have an adequate integrated pest management strategy, which provides another layer of protection besides the plants’ natural resilience.

We learned above that hemp clones can be re-cloned. Some cultivators claim that this practice causes clones to degrade over time, meaning that successive generations become less and less identical to the original mother plant. To put it frankly, they’re wrong. Some clones do tend to exhibit different traits over time, but this isn’t due to degradation or changes in genetic code. Rather, it’s an excellent example of how environmental factors modify a clone’s genetic potential and expression without actually changing the plant’s DNA, also known as epigenetics. In fact, even two clones from the same mother grown in different environments often look and grow differently.

Hemp clones have another sensitivity – their lack of tap roots. The process of cloning results in plants that have a network of shallow, lateral roots instead of the deep anchoring tap root of a plant grown from seed. Because of this, they can be more susceptible to wind damage and have a harder time absorbing nutrients in arid environments. However, these issues can be avoided by following best growing practices. 

Mutation

Although studies regarding cannabis are still quite limited, research suggests that phenotypic or physical variations in plant cuttings appear because of mutations in the DNA sequence. Another theory, Muller’s ratchet, claims that clones are bound to accumulate a number of mutations which will ultimately hinder their ability to grow and thrive. Stay tuned for the results of further research. At Blue Forest Farms, we are deeply engaged in unlocking the mysteries of hemp genetics.

So What Can I Do?

Many of the issues that farmers see with clones can be traced to poor breeding practices. The first thing you should always do when seeking to purchase clones is ensure that they’re coming from a reputable breeder or retailer. As the financial promises of hemp grow, more and more frauds will enter the industry. In fact, a Minnesota farmer seeking to grow high CBD hemp purchased what he believed were four thousand feminized clones, only to realize that he had actually been sold unfeminized seedlings when they started to flower. 

Once you’ve found a great retailer, it’s time to pick out your hemp clones. Be sure to select a variety that is optimized for your desired product and climate. When you receive your clones, inspect them! While you may not be able to detect all issues with the naked eye, you might be able to identify an issue before it turns into a full-blown problem. We suggest examining the clone’s stem, as it is a great indicator of plant health. A flimsy stem is likely to produce a weak plant. Additionally, you should always check the leaves for signs of pests. Powdery Mildew commonly affects clones and is very easily spread, so it is worth keeping an eye out for.

When it comes to hemp, genetic uniformity is extremely desirable, especially when creating products that have to conform to legal limits. The best way to ensure uniformity is by growing with clones. They’re really the only way to take the guesswork out of growing. There’s no need to germinate seeds, or worry about male plants. Yes, there are some potential issues that can arise but these can be avoided by making educated purchases and providing your plants with stable growing conditions.

Sources:

https://www.hempgrower.com/article/what-you-need-know-about-hemp-seed-clone-quality-issues/

https://www.agweb.com/article/hemp-fraud-hits-farmer-clone-scam

https://www.centralgreensmke.com/how-cloning-cbd-hemp-plants-affects-farmers/

https://www.leafly.com/news/growing/does-cloning-ruin-cannabis-strains

Planting Hemp: Field and Prep Process

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Any successful farmer will tell you that doing your homework is essential for starting off on the right foot; planning happens before planting! If you’re one of the tons of new farmers interested in breaking into the hemp industry, it’s crucial to understand as much as you can of this rapidly growing industry before you jump in. 

Of course, after you learn as much as you can – trust me, there’s always more to learn – at some point it becomes time to put seed to Earth and get all that knowledge working for you in the fields. Assuming you’ve already purchased high quality seeds or clones from a reputable source and maybe are in the process of germinating them, it’s important not to neglect preparing your field before that first seed hits earth.

Know Why You’re Growing Hemp

Hemp is a very versatile plant that has been used for industrial means for many years, but that’s not all it can be grown for. You have the option of growing hemp for three primary purposes: fibers, seeds, and CBD. Odds are that most people looking to start a hemp production today want to cultivate their plants for CBD. That’s understandable considering the boom in popularity and profitability that CBD products have been experiencing the last few years. Still, you have options, and knowing the goal for your farm is vital, because growing for fibers, seeds, or CBD requires different field preparation. When it comes to hemp production, all fields are not the same.

Growing Hemp for CBD

If you’re growing for CBD content, you’ll first want to make sure you’re growing female hemp plants, since those are the plants from which CBD can be extracted. CBD hemp farms can range from around 1,000 to 1,600 plants per acre of land. In contrast, hemp grown to produce fiber and seeds can be male and female, and can go up to 400,000 plants per acre. So, make sure you appropriately plan and prepare your farming space depending on what purpose you’re growing hemp for.

Growing Hemp from the Ground Up

Hemp, like any other crop, has unique likes and dislikes in terms of the soil it prefers to grow in. A common myth is that hemp will grow anywhere. While hemp is able to grow in a wide range of conditions, there are certain types of soil where it can really thrive. 

Test the Soil for pH and Nutrients

So, the first best step you can take, as part of your preparation for planting, is getting your own soil tested, either by purchasing a kit you can do yourself, or by sending in a sample to a lab. 

While the results may be a little intimidating to look at for the uninitiated, the most important parts to focus on are the pH and nutrient levels. Hemp typically grows best in soil with a pH between 6 and 7.5. Beyond that, the soil should contain plenty of organic matter and be as fertile as possible; around 3-4% is a good target number to look for on the report. If the soil is lacking, compost or nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium can be added to help feed your budding crops. 

Can the Soil Drain Properly?

Hemp also tends to grow well in aerated, loamy soil due to its fibrous roots. That soil consistency also allows for good drainage. Soil that doesn’t drain properly could result in a very early crop failure due to a plant disease called damping-off.  

Seeding Time

Once the soil is tested, and any adverse conditions corrected, if necessary, the seedbeds are tilled and smoothed out to remove any clods, and the weather is appropriate, it is finally time to seed. Adequate tillage is vital in helping prevent weeds, and since herbicides have yet to be labeled for use on hemp, that is a crucial time and crop saver. 

Preparing the soil correctly in the beginning will pay off! Because of how quickly hemp grows, and how resilient the plant is, weeds and pests are not usually a major issue for careful farmers. If you’re rotating hemp in with other crops, which is a highly recommended way to preserve your soil’s long term health, make sure there is absolutely no residual herbicide left in the soil if that was used on the previous crop.

Seeding is simple with hemp, as the plants can be direct seeded. Hemp should only be planted around 1 inch deep. Planting can be done when the soil reaches temperatures of around 50° Fahrenheit, with no chance of frost. This timetable allows for an ideal growth rate. The easiest way to plant is with a grain drill, but that is not necessary if that tool isn’t available. 

Finally, hemp tends to need 20 to 30 inches of rainfall throughout its growth cycle, so be aware if your climate will call for additional water, and put those preparations into place before they’re needed.

Know Your Hemp Growing Goals

Preparing to plant is a process done first on paper and then in the dirt. You need to know your goals and how to best achieve them, then understand your soil and climate conditions, and finally make a plan to manipulate those factors to give your seeds the best opportunity to grow. Once all that work has been done, the actual work in the field can be minimal and relatively simple. Without that forward thinking, though, poor planting can end your harvest before it even begins.

Our stable, genetically isolated hemp seeds give your grow the best chance of success. With CBD levels averaging in the 13-18% range, our low THC, high CBD genetics ensure your crop won’t run hot. Each one of our strains was hand picked for the sole purpose of industrial growth and harvest.

 

Sources:

https://www.cbdschool.com/how-to-grow-hemp/

https://morningchores.com/growing-hemp/

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/hemp/growing-hemp-seed.htm

https://legacyhemp.com/farming-hemp-101

https://joyorganics.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-growing-hemp/

Grow Guide Greenhouse Best Practices : The BFF Greenhouse Grow Guide

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When most people imagine growing crops, hemp or otherwise, the image that most often comes to mind is of a big, wide, open field divided into neat rows of crops. For many drawn to growing hemp, that idyllic image is likely to deter them from pursuing that dream due to the heavy investments required to begin an operation at that scale. 

Greenhouse growing can be a more realistic entry point to the hemp industry, and it actually has some unique advantages over traditional farming. To set yourself up for success, and maximize the advantages greenhouse growing can provide, Blue Forest Farms has a few suggested best practices.

The Where and What

It might seem obvious, but deciding were you intend to grow your hemp is one of the most important decisions that needs to be made before placing your greenhouse.  Possibly the most important factor in choosing your location is sunlight.  A location that receives a lot of natural sunlight is ideal as it can drastically reduce the extra energy costs you might spend in providing artificial lighting to your crop.  Another thing to be taken into account when picking a location is the possibility to expand.  If you think you may want to add more greenhouses in the future, having appropriate space available is essential.  Once the where is figured out, the type of greenhouse will be the next major decision.  There are two primary types of greenhouse to focus on.  First is a poly connected greenhouse, which is great for a wide range of crops besides just hemp. The main benefit of a poly connected greenhouse is the ease with which it can be expanded. However, it is also architecturally designed to have great condensation control, as well as very efficient ventilation options. It also easily allows for climate control. The second type is a cold frame greenhouse, which tends to be a more cost effective option. Savings can hold great appeal to those just starting out. Keep in mind that a cold frame primarily uses solar energy for climate control. 

For the small-scale grower, especially if you intend to keep your crop small, an attached or lean-to greenhouse would be a great option, as well. These are typically less than half the size of freestanding greenhouses, and are built right up against the wall of an existing home or structure.

Greenhouse Growing Tips You Should Know

Once you’ve decided on the installation location and type of greenhouse to build, there are still some very important things to know, which can save you time and frustration, before your first attempt at growing hemp. 

Blackout Curtains

While it may seem contradictory to the idea of growing in a greenhouse, blackout curtains are highly recommended for anyone planning to grow hemp for CBD content. Hemp needs intervals with twelve hours of complete darkness while they’re in the flowering stage in order for them to fully flower. Investing in enough curtains to fully cover the interior of your greenhouse so that absolutely no light can enter is the best method. It’s possible to cover the greenhouse from the outside, which may be cheaper, but it’s harder to prevent light leakages, and it’s always possible that the elements will damage your covering. 

Conversely, for those taking advantage of the year-round growing possibilities greenhouses provide, but who live in Northern climates, adding light may be necessary in darker months. While twelve hours of darkness is needed during the flowering stage, eighteen hours of light is needed while in the vegetative state. LED lighting systems are popular with greenhouse growers.

Greenhouse Panels

Another choice you’ll have to make when building a greenhouse is what type of panels it will have – diffused or clear. The general consensus is that diffused, or semi-diffused, panels are best for growing hemp as they will prevent the plants from competing for unevenly distributed light, as well as prevent any hot spots from developing. Combined with installing a blackout system, choosing the right panels will help your entire crop grow evenly and provide a consistent CBD content and a higher yield.

Watering and Climate Control Systems

Depending on the type of greenhouse you choose, there are automated systems that can be installed to make the growing process even easier. These can be ideal for new or small-scale growers who are not able to devote a lot of time to taking care of their plants, as well as for solo farmers who grow on a larger scale. 

Watering systems, for example, can be installed and set up to automatically water your hemp plants on a set schedule. There are also climate control systems, which monitor and adjust the temperature inside your structure. Advanced darkening systems with motorized rollout can replace blackout curtains. These types of additions can be rather expensive, of course.

Greenhouse Ventilation

Whether or not you choose to install any automation in your greenhouse, a ventilation system of some kind, even a manual one, is absolutely essential to keep the hemp plants at an ideal temperature. Fresh air also helps keep things like pests, mildew, and diseases from affecting your plants. 

Without ventilation, the climate in a greenhouse can easily become unsustainable for proper plant health and possibly lead to losing your hemp crop. It’s also important to remember that just because they’re in a greenhouse doesn’t mean all aspects of outside farming can be ignored! Fresh, high-quality, soil must be added every year of growing. Reusing soil for too long will lead to an unhealthy garden.

Get Started Growing Hemp

Greenhouses are a flexible option for those looking to get into the hemp industry at nearly any scale. They can be as small and hands-off as a lean-to with a fully automated watering and climate control system, or as large as a full-scale growing operation with multiple structures. 

Whatever is right for you, knowing how to fully take advantage of the positives greenhouses provide, and what pitfalls to avoid, can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches. Just remember that, despite all the equipment, tools, and technology that greenhouses utilize to control things outdoor farming can’t, hemp plants are still living organisms that need to be cared for just as much as they would require in a traditional farm.

Our stable, genetically isolated hemp seeds give your grow the best chance of success. With CBD levels averaging in the 13-18% range, our low THC, high CBD genetics ensure your crop won’t run hot. Each one of our strains was hand picked for the sole purpose of industrial growth and harvest.

Sources:

https://ggs-greenhouse.com/blog/advantages-of-growing-hemp-in-a-greenhouse

https://www.advancingalternatives.com/blog/growing-hemp-greenhouse/

https://www.ilovegrowingmarijuana.com/growing-marijuana-greenhouse/#consider

https://www.greenhomegnome.com/greenhouse-sanitation-sterilizing-soil/

https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/greenhouse-growing-cultivation-zmaz11zsto

Growing Hemp: Indoor vs Outdoor vs Greenhouse

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When it comes to growing hemp, there really are a lot of options. Should you grow indoors? Outdoors? Do you need a greenhouse? Sometimes the decision is simple, and sometimes there seem to be multiple options to consider. Growing hemp is an undertaking that requires some advance preparation. It’s best to know a bit about each growing method to make the decision that’s right for you. Lucky for you, we know a thing or two about growing!

Some might think one method of growing is better than another, but what it really comes down to is personal preference plus your individual circumstances. There are three ways to cultivate hemp: indoor, outdoor, and greenhouse. Each method has its own benefits, drawbacks, and requirements.

Hemp Indoor Growing

Indoor growing is, well…when you grow inside. It’s usually a closed room that has been optimized for growing with artificial light and ventilation. The reason for growing hemp in a closed environment is that it allows you to control almost everything that goes into the plant. Plus, you can grow year-round. Hemp seeds are typically optimized for a specific purpose and, similarly, you can optimize your plants environment for this purpose. 

Indoor plants are less prone to mold, mildew, and pests due to the closed environment. This is obviously a plus. However, you must be diligent about monitoring CO2 levels to eliminate the chance of CO2 poisoning. Another caveat is that artificial light can’t completely mimic that of the sun, which could affect the terpene and cannabinoid profile of the bud.

Hemp Outdoor Growing

One of the biggest advantages to growing hemp outdoors is the quality of the final product. Natural sunlight allows plants to more fully express their genetic potential. In terms of smokable flower varieties, this means dense buds with rich, diverse terpene and cannabinoid profiles. 

Outdoor growing start-up costs are far less than that of indoor or greenhouse growing, as there’s no need to invest in additional materials like lights, fans, or tarps.

But, sometimes Mother Nature might not be so kind. There’s really no way you can control the climate or the weather, so you may be limited to certain growing seasons depending on your locale. You also don’t have much control over the presence of pests when growing and cultivating hemp outdoors. They can be dealt with, though, by keeping a close eye on your plants and with an effective integrative pest management system.

Hemp Greenhouse Growing

A greenhouse is technically indoors, but it’s not the same as indoor growing. The main difference is that greenhouses allow in natural sunlight rather than requiring artificial light. Some hemp growers might be limited to certain seasons in a similar fashion as with outdoor growing, but the inside of a greenhouse is typically 30° F warmer than the air outside, so it can potentially extend your growing season. And it’s far more sustainable than artificial lights. 

Just like us, hemp plants can be sensitive to UV rays. By growing them in a greenhouse, you’re basically giving them a bit of sunblock. They still get everything they need but they’re protected from potential harm. Some growers even like to use light deprivation, commonly an indoor method, to trick their plants into flowering faster. 

The one major disadvantage to greenhouse growing is the cost. Greenhouses can be quite expensive, especially if you’re planning to grow hemp on a large scale. That being said, greenhouses give you the best of both worlds: a rich terpene profile as a result of natural sun and the ability to control almost every growth factor.

If you don’t want to make a large initial investment, outdoor is the ideal option. However, outdoor growing does require a bit more skill, as your plants are exposed to the elements. For those who want total control, greenhouses are a great option. Hemp does prefer temperatures between 70 -80° F, so this might not be the best option for those with colder, darker seasons. Indoor is optimal for anyone who wants to grow year-round even if the weather won’t permit.

Take Your Hemp Growing to the Next Level

Although you can find success with every method, they might not all be right for you. Some things to consider when choosing a hemp growing method are your experience level, where you live, and how much you want to invest initially. These three factors seem to narrow things down quite a bit. Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages, but it’s really up to you to determine how each of these factors affects you and your plants. 

Looking to make money in the hemp industry but unsure of where to start? At Blue Forest Farms, our team of experts are here to help. Offering contracted grow solutions, our team has the infrastructure, experience, and expertise necessary to make your dream a reality. Take your growing operation to the next level in a scalable, honest, transparent way. Partner with the best.

 How the Hemp Community Can Help Fight for Equality

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The world has been experiencing unprecedented perils due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and this week saw an explosion of protests against the police killings of two more Black citizens in the United States of America. While Blue Forest Farms is a hemp industry focused company, we believe more than anything in helping people and doing our part to stand up to injustice.

Anybody in the hemp or cannabis industry who’s been paying attention has seen how racism and discrimination have impacted our community with more arrests, higher punishments, and less access to resources for farmers and producers of color. Police brutality, racism, and discrimination are far too common and affect Black citizens in every area of modern life. These ways of thinking and acting have no place in the world and we will continue to work for change until equity is achieved. We know the road to equality won’t be easy, and BFF is committed to listening, educating, and advocating for change in the hemp industry and wherever else we can.

Blue Forest Farms says, “Choose hemp. Grow love.” and, at the same time, we know love is not enough. Our company leadership is made up of women and people of color, and we are very clear that we will always stand on the side of justice and equality. We will amplify Black voices wherever we can as we seek, with our hemp community and our farmer partners, to find our way through the pain and mourning of these senseless murders. We pledge to speak the truth and to stand with our brothers and sisters in the struggle for equality and against brutality and injustice.

We urge everyone to do their part, in whatever way you can, to get involved and join together to make it clear that this type of tragedy will not go unnoticed, that the world will not tolerate this any longer, and that love and community among all people is a future we will fight for. We fight for equality in hemp. We remember those POC who are imprisoned for cannabis crimes. We fight for equality in the world. And we join our voices to those saying the names of those who have been murdered: George Floyd and Breonna Taylor this week, but so many more who have suffered and died in police custody.

If you are called to march and protest, we support you. Learn how to keep yourself safe out there. If you want to volunteer with or donate to organizations feeding or serving the communities who’ve been impacted by the most recent murders, we’ve compiled a list of those that could use your hands or your dollars. If you want to learn more about how people nationwide are standing for justice, follow Black Lives Matter, Barack Obama, Trevor Noah, or other progressive voices for change on social media. There is a place for your energy and attention, however you are ready to show up for change. Blue Forest Farms is proud to stand with you.

National Urban League

NAACP We Are Done Dying Campaign

National Action Network

Black Women’s Roundtable

National Bail Fund

Color of Change

George Floyd Memorial Fund

Kenneth Walker Fund

Breonna Taylor Memorial

More Resources:

https://www.thecut.com/2020/06/george-floyd-protests-how-to-help-where-to-donate.html

https://www.theverge.com/21277358/protests-donate-police-bail-demonstrations-minneapolis-nyc

https://www.forbes.com/sites/morgansimon/2020/06/01/enough-thoughts–prayers-5-ways-to-donate-to-honor-george-floyd-and-work-for-justice–accountability/#734547276fb5

Genetics, Not Field Conditions, Makes Hemp ‘Go Hot’

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Genetics, Not Field Conditions, Makes Hemp ‘Go Hot

By Krisy Gashler

As the hemp industry grows, producers face the challenge of cultivating a crop that has received comparatively little scientific study, and that can become unusable – and illegal – if it develops too much of the psychoactive chemical THC.

A Hemp Plant Study

In a new study, Cornell researchers have determined that a hemp plant’s propensity to “go hot” – become too high in THC – is determined by genetics, not as a stress response to growing conditions, contrary to popular belief.

Hemp-cbd- plant genetics

Horticulture professor Larry Smart examines industrial hemp plants growing in a greenhouse at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, New York.
Photo credit Justin James Muir/Cornell University

“Often that issue of going hot has been blamed on environment,” said Larry Smart, senior author of the study and professor in the horticulture section of the School of Integrative Plant Science.

“[People thought] there was something about how the farmer grew the plant, something about the soil, the weather got too hot, his field was droughted, something went wrong with the growing conditions,” Smart said. “But our evidence from this paper is that fields go hot because of genetics, not because of environmental conditions.”

The study, “Development and Validation of Genetic Markers for Sex and Cannabinoid Chemotype in Cannabis Sativa L was published Jan. 10 in Global Change Biology-Bioenergy.

Hemp Genetics and Chemistry

Smart and his team conducted field trials at two sites, in Ithaca and Geneva, New York, studying the genetics and chemistry of 217 hemp plants. They found that differences in growing conditions between the sites had no significant influence on which chemicals the plants produced. But when they compared the CBD (cannabidiol) and THC levels of each of the plants against their genomes, they found high correlation between their genetics and the chemicals they produced.

Hemp and cannabis are both family Cannabis sativa, but hemp plants produce low levels of THC (0.3% or less), whereas cannabis plants typically contain 5% to 20% THC. Hemp has high levels of the medically useful chemical CBD, while high-THC cannabis contains minimal CBD.

Jacob Toth, first author of the paper and a doctoral student in Smart’s lab, developed a molecular diagnostic to demonstrate that the hemp plants in the study fell into one of three genetic categories: plants with two THC-producing genes; plants with two CBD-producing genes; or plants with one gene each for CBD and THC.

Minimizing the Risk of Hemp Plants Going Hot

To minimize the risk of plants going hot, hemp growers ideally want plants with two CBD-producing genes.

“The molecular assays developed in this paper provide useful tools in breeding hemp,” Toth said. “To keep THC levels low, ensuring a lack of THC-producing genes will be important for the development of future compliant cultivars. Molecular testing is also much quicker and less expensive than current methods, and it can be done on seedlings instead of mature plants.”

While conducting the research, the team also discovered that as many as two-thirds of the seeds they obtained of one hemp variety – which were all supposed to be low-THC hemp – produced THC above legal limits.

hemp plant genetics

Industrial hemp plants are shown in a greenhouse at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, New York. photo credit: Justin James Muir/Cornell University

Hemp Breeding

The researchers hope their work will help address this problem by providing breeders with easy-to-use genetic markers that can be utilized much earlier on seedlings and both sexes of plants. CBD and THC are produced by only females, but breeders may be using a male plant for cross pollination without knowing if it has genes for THC production, until it appears in their female offspring, Toth said.

The team also developed genetic markers to determine the sex of hemp plants prior to flowering, since the sexes of young plants are indistinguishable. “This technology is, at this point, too expensive for farmers to use on an entire field, but it will be very useful for breeders who want to separate males and females early on to better control cross-pollination,” Smart said.

Smart said future research in his lab will focus on breeding hemp cultivars – for CBD, grain, and fiber – that are high-yield, legally compliant and adapted to New York’s growing conditions.

Contributors to the Hemp Plant Study

Also contributing were postdoctoral researcher Craig Carlson and doctoral student George Stack, from Smart’s lab; Rebecca Wilk, field coordinator for Cornell AgriTech; Don Viands, associate dean and director of academic programs and professor of plant breeding and genetics; Jamie Crawford, research support specialist in Viand’s lab; Christine Smart, professor of plant pathology and plant-microbe biology; Ali Cala, a graduate student in Christine Smart’s lab; Jocelyn K.C. Rose, professor of plant biology; and Glenn Philippe, a postdoctoral researcher in Rose’s lab.

The research was funded primarily by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, through a grant from Empire State Development Corporation.

Krisy Gashler is a freelance writer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

News courtesy of the Cornell Chronicle. Click Here

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