Hemp is one of those plants farmers dream about at night. It’s a hardy, tolerant plant that consistently performs. It can grow inside or out. It also does just as well when grown organically. And, that’s only the start. Hemp is a lucrative crop as well, so the fact that it’s easy to grow means more money in the bank.
These factors are attracting a lot of farmers to switch their crop to hemp. Do you have the right soil and climate conditions? Here’s what you need to know.
While hemp plants can tolerate a variety of conditions and still grow well, they do have their favorites.
Hemp, like many crops, loves water. It does best in well-aerated soil that drains well but has good moisture and nutrient-holding capacity. Ideal pH is 6 or greater. Even as it loves water, it’s also hemp’s Achilles’ heel. It’s an extremely sensitive plant when it comes to flooding and soil compaction. Excess surface water can actually damage a hemp crop.
To plant hemp, soil temperatures should reach a minimum of 42-46 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mild temperatures with a humid atmosphere are hemp’s favorite environment. This translates to between 70-85 degrees for a high, and no less than 62 degrees for the low. Too much heat isn’t as much of a concern, although it can slow down plant growth. Heat can also attract pets and increase your risk of disease. Extreme cold is more damaging since it can go so far as to kill off your plants. Cold is also an ideal environment for mold.
Rainfall should average between 25-30 inches per year. This helps retain good soil moisture.
Because everything depends on both soil temperature and the air outside, there’s really no set date to begin planting hemp. It’s when these conditions get met that it’s time to sow your hemp seeds or transplant your hemp seedlings.
The right hemp genetics
Hemp genetics play a huge role in the success of your crop. Not only do they tell you what the plant will smell and taste like, but the genetics can clue you in to how well the plant will grow at your farm. Genetics can tell you whether a plant is disease resistant, whether it can withstand harsh climate conditions, or whether it’s likely to resist mold. These are all important factors when taking a look at your local conditions. If you live somewhere with cooler temperatures or higher rainfall than what’s ideal for hemp, you’ll want to find a strain with stronger genetics to handle these differences. If your growing season is particularly short, you want a plant that goes from seed to flower in the least amount of time. Genetics tell the farmer which elements of a particular strain of hemp plant will manifest.
Alabama is meant for hemp
Alabama is a great state to grow hemp. It’s natural conditions suit the plant well. You’ll find a mild climate with temperatures averaging around 80 by July. While average rainfall is a bit above the ideal, you can work with this statistic by leaning toward hemp strains that can take on extra water or are mold-resistant. You can also take proactive steps to establish excellent drainage for your soil.
Speaking of soil, it’s considered a vital resource in Alabama. With about 25 percent of the state covered in farmland, this reverence for the land makes sense. One quarter of the state being farmed doesn’t sound like a lot, but in Alabama, this translates to nine million acres of farmland. With some good soil, already prepared for farming, transitioning to a hemp crop is much easier. With farmers experienced in growing cotton, peaches, peanuts and more, Alabama farmers won’t feel like the switch is so daunting. Alabama is already primed for hemp.
Hemp farming from start to finish
Combining the right soil, climate, and hemp genetics gives you a winning combination as a hemp farmer. You’ll discover that this hearty plant can yield a great and lucrative crop when properly irrigated and cared for overall. But, it’s a new crop that many farmers are approaching for the very first time. If that’s the case, connect with Arbor Vita8 today. Our team is there to support you with our expertise and services every step of the way. From seed to final sale, we’re available to make your experience as a hemp farmer seamless. Contact us today to learn more.