When transitioning to hemp farming, there are a few important factors to consider before putting that first plant into the ground. These are genetics, climate, water, soil quality and nutrients, plant density, and propagation. All impact the quality and success of your crop. Ignoring one of these can lead to extra costs and extra time spent caring for your hemp. Checking it all out in advance is the way to go with hemp cultivation planning.
Genetics for hemp planning
Hemp is a great crop because of its diversity. However, this fact also means you need to know a lot about hemp cultivation in advance. Each strain of hemp has its own unique genetics, making it easy to pair the outcomes you want from your crop with the right plant.
For example, if you want to grow hemp to extract CBD, you’ll want to look at American-grown strains like Otto II or Cherry. If you’re looking to grow industrialized hemp for fiber, other strains will work best. However, you can’t select the right genetics without having an end-result in mind.
Once you decide on what you’re growing hemp to produce, make sure you only purchase seeds or seedlings from reputable breeders. It’s even a good idea to test new varieties, on a small scale, before planting your entire field.
Climate for hemp cultivation
Hemp is not a high-maintenance crop. Its deep taproot makes it better at hunting down water, even if it’s far below the soil. Successful hemp cultivation planning is possible indoors and outside, but you’ll most likely have an easier time outdoors.
While hemp is versatile, it prefers a mild climate with plenty of humidity. Temperatures should range between 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideal rainfall is between 25-30 inches per year.
Hemp is pretty drought-resistant once it has begun sprouting. Its ability to get to water sources deep within the soil makes it less necessary for you to constantly water the plant. Only in the seedling stage is it necessary to water often. Seeds going into the ground need water 1-2 times per day for the first four weeks. By the time the plant is two inches tall, you can already start cutting back on watering frequency.
With its eventual loose schedule for water, you may want to consider installing an automated watering system. This saves you the time of having to remember, and having to water, the crop yourself. It also helps maintain a proper water level for plants, so they don’t get too dry or too wet.
If you decide to use a drip system in your field, it’s best to install it as you’re preparing the land for successful hemp cultivation.
Soil quality and nutrients
Hemp plants like soil with a slightly alkaline pH level. The ideal is between 7.0 and 7.5. Soil should hold moisture and nutrients well, but drain adequately. Hemp plants are sensitive to flooding, so too much water is a bad thing. Ensuring you have good soil before planting is essential, but you also need to have the right food on hand as the plant grows.
Hemp is sensitive to what kind of nutrients you add during the growing season. Chemical nutrients can impact the quality of the flower in a negative way. They can make it harsh and harder to smoke. That said, feeding your plants is a necessary part of hemp cultivation.
Mineral food sources work best, and there are two key times during cultivation when you need to feed. As the plant grows, it requires a lot of Nitrogen. Use a Nitrogen-rich fertilizer. When the plant begins to flower, it needs phosphorus and potassium. Finding a fertilizer that’s higher in these two elements verses Nitrogen will help maintain the nutrients in the soil.
Another thing to map out in advance is plant density. It varies based on what type of hemp crop you’re planting. The only consistent thing to know is that hemp should grow close together. That’s the opposite of how to plant its cannabis cousin, marijuana. Achieving the right density impacts the quality of your crop, so you want to take this advice seriously.
When a hemp crop is correctly planted, it resembles a cornfield, with thousands of plants growing together.
Propagation in hemp cultivation planning
Finding the perfect strain of hemp for your crop means you want to plant it again and again. You can do this by working with a wholesaler who provides reliable information on the composition of their strains. You can also attempt cloning yourself.
Most states allow, for those who already have a cultivation license, to propagate their own cuttings. While you won’t be able to sell your clones without an additional license, you can use them yourself.
It’s relatively low maintenance to propagate hemp. Within one small room, you could produce up to 10,000 clones, from cuttings, in a single month.
Find the right partner for hemp cultivation
Getting your field ready, checking conditions, and selecting the right strain are just the first steps to a successful hemp crop. After hemp cultivation comes harvesting, drying, extracting, and processing. Finding a trustworthy and knowledgeable partner to assist the whole way through is priceless.
At Arbor Vita8, we know hemp. Our combined experience means we’ve either tried it or seen it all. Not only that, we stay on top of the latest industry trends to pass on what we know to our farmers. From selecting the best strain to hemp cultivation planning, to all the services that come after harvesting, we’ve got you covered. Our state-of-the-art facility can do it all. Contact us today to learn more.