How to Grow Hemp?
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DISCLAIMER: GROWING HEMP MAY REQUIRE LICENSING FROM YOUR STATE AGRICULTURAL DEPARTMENT.
BEFORE GROWING, SELLING OR PROCESSING HEMP, MAKE SURE ALL APPROPRIATE LICENSES ARE ACQUIRED.
How to Grow Hemp
This is a brief how to, written to help a startup hemp farmer know what is needed for the agricultural product he/she is getting into.
There is a lot to know about Hemp, but hopefully this educational article makes it easier for those with a desire to pursue its potential as a viable agricultural commodity.
Questions to ask yourself:
What am I growing Hemp for?
If you are planning to grow Hemp for its Fiber you should know that facilities in the U.S. currently processing Hemp stalks into usable materials are few and far between. It is a wonderfully strong and healthy fiber, that can be made into thousands of products ranging from Clothing, Paper, Hempcrete (a concrete like material for building) Hemp Plastic, and SO much more. If it's your desire to grow hemp for this purpose plan ahead and try to find someone interested in buying it or decide if you'd like to invest in the equipment to process yourself.
The Hemp flowers are definitely in higher demand right now, but you should decide whether you will be growing for a shelf flower quality, or for processing your flower into hemp extract/oil.
The price you make per pound will be higher with Shelf Flower but the Cost/Labor you put into it will also be higher.
If you are growing with clones or feminized seed starts, they can be planted 3-5 feet apart, starting after the last frost of the year, or up until about early June at the latest.
Starts should be planted in early morning and given water after being transplanted into the ground.
Growing for Shelf Flower, it is best to have experience with the cannabis plant and how to properly dry it, cure it, and trim it, as these things are important to ensure a high quality flower.
Drying and curing can take a lot of time and space, so if you don't have a facility to do this part of the process, you will need to have a relationship with somebody willing to dry and possibly cure the flowers for you.
Growing flower for the oil or extract will be a similar process, the flowers will still need to be grown, dried, and cured properly.
But the overall labor put into the product will be less intensive, therefor you may be able to produce a higher quantity but have a lower price-point for your end material.
Growing for Seed you will be doing a different process. When you grow for seed, all the energy of the plant is going towards those seeds, so the remaining flower produced will be minimal, and it will need to have the seed separated from it.
That seed can then be sold to other farmers, distributors, or it can be used for next years crop.
The flower can be extracted for oil, or sold to processors for their own extraction.
(Please note if you intend to sell your seed you may need to require a seed handlers license from your state department of agriculture.)
Growing for seed, you will need Male and Female plants. You may need to encourage the spreading of pollen from the Male plants to ensure a well seeded crop. This can be done by hand, or with equipment. Although, the wind may do most the work for you.
There are different strains of Hemp plants that produce different percentages of CBD, and other Cannabinoids.
Making sure you have Hemp Seed, Clones or Starts that have been tested to have a low level of THC (below 0.3%) and High levels of CBD (10-20%) is one of the most important parts of growing Hemp successfully.
These Cannabinoids are what give hemp flowers value, and if your flower is over the legal percentage of THC it may not be considered Hemp in your state, and this would end in all of your product being destroyed due to it being classified as “Marijuana” which takes different, much more stringent licensing, and is in some states still illegal to grow.