Since the legalization of hemp, many farmers have ventured into hemp farming. In 2019, states issued 16877 licenses for hemp cultivation, a 476% increase over 2018. The high earning potential of hemp farming is also a contributing factor to the increasing interest.
But hemp farming can pose some stumbling blocks, especially to the beginner farmer. You may face poor first-year yields because of a lack of knowledge on how to grow hemp. Besides, not all hemp seeds produce yields of $40,000 per acre.
There are several things you should understand about hemp farming. Keep reading to find out what they are.
Why Hemp Farming?
Hemp, legalized because of its low THC content, is one of the most beneficial plants to humanity. It features as an ingredient in products such as building materials, cosmetics and food. Its been found to have over 25,000 potential benefits of hemp.
As an eco-friendly plant, hemp provides green alternatives to many unsustainable products. You can use it to make products like cement blocks, soap, paper, shoes, lubricants, bio-plastics and fuels more environmentally friendly. Its durable fiber makes it more reliable and popular as a raw material.
The rise of CBD as a therapeutic supplement is another reason to grow hemp. A Gallup study shows 1 out of 7 US adults use CBD products to fight pain, anxiety, or insomnia. The FDA’s approval of CBD as an epilepsy remedy may encourage more research into hemp’s properties.
Where to Grow Hemp?
Hemp’s legality has created an even playfield for all farmers. In the past, laws on hemp farming were inconsistent. You couldn’t farm hemp in some states but with the passing of the Farm Bill 2018, you can now grow hemp everywhere─ except in Mississippi, South Dakota and Idaho.
South Dakota only allows Epidiolex while prohibiting Industrial hemp and entire CBD products. In Idaho, your hemp must contain 0% THC, a requirement that may be impossible. If you’re in Mississippi, the absence of rules limits hemp farming.
The best place to grow hemp is still Colorado. Apart from the clear rules, farmers enjoy state support and education on how to grow hemp. Colorado also thrives with a hemp-friendly climate, soil, and terrain.
Oregon has a supportive department of agriculture and a leading research center. While New York still lags Oregon and Colorado production-wise, it has the research, climate, and market for hemp farming.
Hemp’s Growing Conditions
You can grow hemp in most areas, as long as you know how to grow hemp seedlings. In the early stages of growth, the seedling may require close attention. Otherwise, hemp is drought resistant and can grow in most climates except for deserts.
If you’re looking for the best hemp farming climate, consider mild weather with organic and well-drained soils. Make sure you’ve tested the soil’s PH levels. A PH of 6-7 is usually the best for growing hemp.
Wet areas or areas with high rainfall may not be the best for hemp because of their saturation level. Excess water can damage hemp’s roots, while sandy soil may not keep enough moisture.
In the early stages, make sure the temperatures are between 50-80 degrees. This allows the roots to grow before climatic conditions change. Meaning, you can start growing hemp seedlings 2-3 weeks after the last frost.
Once hemp sprouts, the heat of the summer shouldn’t worry you. Sprouted hemp can thrive even in temperatures of 80°F.
How to Grow Hemp Seeds
One of the most critical steps in hemp farming involves seed selection. Some seeds can result in low yields. High-quality CBD hemp strains guarantee a high-quality CBD biomass in the final product.
Choose hemp seeds with a higher female ration from proven breeders. The best ones claim a female ratio of up to 99% and a germination rate of 93%. Genetics and the seed’s origin also affect quality. Most of the time, Colorado sourced strains have a higher yields potential.
Grow Hemp Seeds
Hemp is a friendly and affordable plant to grow because it usually needs minimal inputs. Being a hardy plant, it can resist most pests, grow fast and outgrow weeds. Because of its tolerance, most farmers prefer growing it organically.
You won’t need to use agrochemicals or pesticides. There are also no particular herbicides designed or prescribed for hemp farming but for the best yields, you must till your farm before sowing hemp seeds. A finely tilled farm encourages steady growth and encourages the roots to strengthen.
Don’t plant the seeds over 2 inches deep. Space the hemp seedlings 4-5 inches apart and allow a foot between the rows. This allows the comfortable management of plants and accessibility.
Water your hemp plants sufficiently, especially in the first six weeks. Watering them twice a day can speed their germination and encourage quicker growth. You can reduce the watering once the plants reach 2 inches in height.
For better results, use nitrogen and phosphorus-rich organic fertilizers. The hemp plant snowballs and produces vast vegetation within a few weeks. In the first 6-8 weeks, they may require high nitrogen content. Potassium and phosphorus can boost flowering and enhance seed formation.
How Long Does It Take Between Growing and Harvesting Hemp?
Most people, especially hobbyists, grow hemp in pots before transplanting. This can be hectic if you’re planting hemp on a larger farm. Transplanting can be time-consuming and a risk to the plant’s health.
Sowing the seeds directly into the soil is the best way of growing hemp. This allows the plant to grow without disruption. Besides, hemp seeds take between 24 to 48 hours to germinate and six days to emerge, making pots insensible.
Within 100 days, the head of the hemp matures fully. As maturity nears, you will notice a gradual change in the seed heads from the bottom. Matured seed bracts expose the seeds to allow sun drying. This occurs between the 100th and 120th days when your hemp is ready for harvesting.
Learn How to Grow Hemp the Right Way
Growing hemp may seem an impossible task if you’re starting from scratch as a beginner. But if you have patience and trust the process, you’ll improve your green thumb.
Use this guide to understand the A-Z of how to grow hemp and what it takes to generate high yields. For more content on CBD topics and advice, check out our blog.