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.
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.