Hemp Growing. All you need to know

Image of two farmers collecting hemp
Image of two farmers collecting hemp

 

Hemp is an all-terrain plant, a bad weed as they say, and when given proper care it grows like no other plant. It improves soil structure and is perfect for crop rotation. 

Usually it does not need chemicals or pesticides as it does with other crops. In addition, it does not need much water or fertilizer, so its growing is profitable.

Hemp is sown in spring, depending on the area, from the beginning to the end of this season. During germination and the early stages of growth it is important to keep the environmental humidity high.

Hemp grows quickly and develops a lot of plant mass until the nights begin to lengthen, in mid-summer. At that time they start to flower until late summer or early autumn. The ideal temperature for hemp growing is between 59 and 77 ºF (15-25 ºC). Values below 59 ºF (10 ºC) slow down the development of the plants, which can stop completely or even die.

 

⛳ What are the advantages of hemp growing?

 

Compared to most traditional crops, hemp grows much faster, needs less care and is more profitable overall, but let’s take a closer look at these aspects which can be very interesting.

  1. The speed at which hemp plants grow is one of their great advantages. Firstly because it is capable of forming more plant mass in less time, which makes the production of fibre and paper, among other things, cheaper. But also because its roots colonize the maximum space, so it comes in handy to eradicate bad weeds as well.
  2. It can be grown completely organically, which is a great advantage nowadays. The use of pesticides and herbicides such as Glyphosate causes us several problems that can be avoided by growing organically.
  3. Hemp does not need a large amount of water and nutrients for its cultivation, although it is true that when administered in greater quantities it produces more.
  4. It is perfect for crop rotation as it returns 40% of the resources used to the environment. When potato or wheat crops are rotated with hemp they are usually more productive than in non-rotated years.
  5. It can be grown in almost any climate, the warm and temperate ones being the best. In some places it is possible to have more than one harvest a year.

 

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✨ How to grow hemp?

 

Although this plant can grow in many different types of soil and environment, there are situations where it develops much better. Let’s see which ones they are:

  1. Substrate: For perfect growth, hemp needs an aerated, minimally deep soil with a PH of around 6 or higher. Ideally, it should have good drainage, since this plant does not like flooded or compact soils.
  2. Germination: It is recommended to germinate in seedbeds with light soil and transplant to the ground when the seedlings have at least 3 knots to avoid losses.
  3. Feeding: During the first month and a half or 2 months of cultivation you need a greater amount of Nitrogen. It is estimated that you need 90 to 110 kilos of this nutrient for each hectare of crop. Once the plants start to flower they absorb more Phosphorus and Potassium, needing around 40 to 55 kilos of Phosphate per hectare and 60 to 80 kilos of Potash.
  4. Harvest: When grown for fibre, hemp is harvested about 2.5 to 3 months after sowing. If it is grown for seed collection, we will have to wait a little longer.

 

Image showing the requirements for growing hemp, Infographic representing the advantages of hemp growing*
Image showing the requirements for growing hemp, Infographic representing the advantages of hemp growing*

 

👌 What is hemp grown for?

 

Historically, it has always been grown to obtain fibres. The production of clothes and ropes has been its main use for hundreds of years.

In the Middle Ages most fabrics were made of this material because of its high resistance. So much so that it is said that if it were not for hemp, Christopher Columbus would never have made it to America.

Another widespread use of hemp at that time was the production of paper, as the most relevant fact in this matter, it is always said that George Washington signed the US independence statement on hemp paper. We would like to think that the most important contribution that hemp paper has made to the world is that thanks to its low production costs a large number of Chinese children were able to study once.

Nowadays it is not so profitable for those uses, but other very interesting ones have appeared, I will give you some examples:

  1. Seeds for athletes, thanks to its high amount of protein, including Glutamine that is widely consumed in the gym.
  2. Hemp flower for smoking, with hardly any psychoactive effects, has become the ideal day-to-day substitute for tobacco.
  3. Stems and leaves to produce biofuel, due to its fast growth hemp is perfect for this purpose.
  4. CBD for medicines, since medicinal properties of Cannabidiol were discovered a few years ago, more and more pharmacological products are produced using hemp.

 

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🚀 Conclusion

 

Hemp cultivation is booming, after many years of polluting the soil and the environment with toxic chemicals it is time to go back to the past. This plant has the ability to improve both the soil and the air where it is grown, and also contains more medicinal properties than any other. Let us hope that the revolution that is beginning will continue for many years to come, for our sake and above all for the health of the planet.

Hemp growing is the most interesting at a commercial and environmental level, its many advantages collide head-on with capitalism, which is why they tried to extinguish it. Luckily it is now reborn stronger than ever and they’ll never be able to stop this magnificent plant.

 

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