While hemp has been around for quite a lot of time now, growing hemp is the newest trend in the cannabis industry. Hemp refers to the cannabis plants that people grow solely for industrial purposes. Hemp produces fiber, paper, textiles, and even animal feed. Today, people are also growing hemp for recreational and medical reasons. So, if you want to start your hemp farm, here is all you need to know about how to grow hemp:
1.) Planting the hemp seeds
The hemp seeds need consistent and moderate weather to grow. So, the ideal weather to plant will be late spring when the temperature ranges from 16 degrees Celsius to 27 degrees Celsius. Moreover, you can check the temperature of the soil to make sure it is well above 10 degrees Celsius.
Once the temperature is right, the next step would be to check if the soil is healthy. To ascertain that, you can conduct a pH test with the paper test strips. If the pH level varies from 6 to 7.5 on the paper, the soil is healthy. Another important point that you must consider here is that hemp grows better in soils that have proper drainage. To test the soil, dig a hole and fill it up with water. And in case the water takes more than 1 hour to drain, start looking for another location.
Now you can start putting the seeds into the soil. Bury them deep to ensure the birds and pests cannot get to them. If you plan on harvesting the seeds, you might want to spread the seeds. It will help the plants to grow shorter due to branching out. But, if you are growing it for the fibers, sowing them apart will do the trick. If it seems to be too tiresome, you can always take help from a seed trill or a lawnmower. Here’s a cheap marijuana grow room setup how-to article to help you out in your quest for the best cannabis yield.
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2.) Taking good care of the crops
Once you have sown the seeds, the next major task for you is to care for the plants. Put your finger into the soil till your knuckle and check the moisture level. If it feels dry, you can water the farm till the point that the water reaches at least 2 inches deep. During the initial 2 weeks of sowing, hemp needs water consistently to grow. Post that, they are resistant to drought and can go a few days without water.
Fertilizers are as important for hemp plants as it is for any other. But in the case of hemp, you must go for nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Once the seeds have germinated, you can out fertilizers only once, that too between the rows of plants and not on them directly. Do not forget to water the plants right after.
With hemp plants, the chances of weed growing into your farm are very less. To be sure, you can use herbicide on the hemp after germination. It will protect the hemp plants while they are still growing.
3.) Harvesting the fibers
Once the harvest is ready, get your sickle out and start collecting the stalks. Try to cut the stalks as close to the ground as possible to get the maximum fibers. If you have a large farm and larger crop, get a sickle bar attachment for your tractor to help you with the task. After you have all the stalks, pile them on top of each other and leave them in the open for at least 5 weeks. It will give them to rot, and the microbes will make sure that the stems separate from each other.
Once this process is over, your next step is to dry the stalks in a cool and dry area. They need to be completely dry before harvesting, so make sure that the level of moisture in the stems is below 15%. If they are dry, you can get a decorticator to separate the fiber from the hemp stalks.
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4.) Collecting hemp seeds
If you aim to get the nutritious hemp seeds, check the seed pods which are present near the flowers. Once they are hard, most of the leaves of the plant will fall, and you can cut the seed pod off the stalk. After collecting all the pods, in a well-ventilated area, lay down a tarp and spread all the seeds on it. To get to the seeds, break the pods with a bat and gather them. Separate all the leaves and stems from the seeds, by either winnowing or renting an industrial winnower if you have a large crop. Lastly, put the seeds in an air-tight container and store them in a cool place.
Growing hemp is no easy feat, but by following the right steps you can get a good yield. Spring season is always a good time to sow so that hemp plants can flourish well during the summer. Before you begin farming, cross-check the laws for your state and country to see if it is even legal to grow hemp. Well, if you feel farming is too much of a hassle for you, you can try vaping, which is another ‘it’ trend of the cannabis industry.