Learn How To Plant And Grow Hemp In 4 Easy Steps
In a time such as now, when the entire world is focused on protecting and conserving the environment, it’s no surprise that hemp is getting as popular as it is. The plant, which has been cultivated all over the world for centuries, comes with numerous benefits.
Today’s article will break down how to grow hemp indoors in the USA using vertical farming technology. Before that, however, let’s run through the basics.
What Is Hemp?
Hemp is a class of cannabis that was traditionally grown for industrial purposes. Although hemp is chemically quite similar to ‘real’ marijuana, it lacks THC, the psychoactive component that gets you high. It is chock full of CBD instead.
Other than CBD extraction, hemp is used to make fibers, which translates into a wide range of applications- from biodegradable shoppings bags, to socks and even toilets. The hemp industry is one of the fastest-growing in the economy today, with a market size value of $5.66 B by 2020. It is estimated to reach $27.72 B by 2028.
Why Grow Hemp?
Hemp is a powerful, resilient crop. It grows vigorously and requires much less water, fertilizer, and herbicides than other plants. Hemp is an annual plant; it takes about 90-120 days to grow from seed to mature plants, meaning you can grow numerous cycles throughout the year.
Hemp has tens of thousands of uses, and feeding cattle may soon be one of them. Research is currently being undertaken to see whether hemp can be used to make livestock feed without cannabinoids ‘leaking’ into the milk and meat. The crop is a raw material for numerous industries, including fashion, paper, textile, and pharmaceuticals, and is therefore in high demand.
If you’re a farmer looking for a profitable, low-risk venture, hemp farming may be worth your consideration. The plant has reasonable demands in terms of nutrition and maintenance, making it an ideal venture even for the beginner farmer. What’s more, advancement in technology has made it possible for farmers to maximize their production without having to source for more space. An excellent example of this is vertical racking technology.
What Is Vertical Racking Technology?
Vertical racking technology is a new trend in agriculture that will be with us for the foreseeable future. Designed to maximize productivity even in the smallest room, this technology uses grow racks stacked vertically, allowing you to utilize as much space as possible between floor and ceiling. This, ultimately, means safely growing more crops in the same space.
Our vertical grow racks are made from 14-gauge steel, giving them the strength and capacity to hold soil-filled pots, lighting equipment, and even fans. If you’re considering using vertical grow racks to grow hemp in Wisconsin, Texas, and other parts of the USA, this article will give you all the information you need.
Here Are A Few Advantages Of Vertical Farming
Vertical farming technology has a host of advantages over traditional farming techniques. As mentioned above, this system maximizes production capability, which translates to greater output per square foot. This, in turn, points to higher revenue per square foot- by up to 3 times.
Vertical farming will also help you save money. Normally, to double your output, you’d ideally have to have twice the space. Leasing or purchasing this space would be expensive; you would also need to double the size of your staff. Investing in vertical grow racks will allow you to increase production without spending too much money.
Our high-density vertical racking systems can also be customized to fit your unique indoor grow operation. Whereas some people are cultivating their hemp in warehouses, smaller-scale farmers may be using smaller spaces. We offer free floor plans and customized drawings to ensure all our customers get the best value for their money when they purchase our products.
The main goal of our vertical grow racks is to help maximize production. When you increase your harvests, you’ll be able to keep up with the ever-growing demand for hemp. This will ultimately help you compete with other businesses, grow a loyal customer base, and cement yourself in the industry.
Now that we’ve delved into why you should use vertical grow systems, let’s talk about how to grow hemp using these systems.
How To Grow Industrial Hemp
Growing hemp isn’t complicated. As we’ve mentioned above, the crop requires less maintenance than most crops produced at a similar scale. If you’re just entering the world of hemp growing, there’s no need to feel intimidated.
Our high-density vertical racking systems are designed to hold growing pots, thus can be used right from the germination stage. Hemp requires temperatures of about 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate.
Germinating Your Hemp Seeds:
- Soak the seeds in water for 7-12 hours.
- Provide temperatures of 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Using a germination tray, place the seeds 1 inch in moist soil or seed-starting biomix.
- Leave to germinate.
Caring For Your Hemp Seedlings:
Like any other plant, hemp seedlings may require a little bit of maintenance and care. Remember, the processes you follow at this stage determine the health and productivity of the plant in its final stages. Everything adds up.
Once your hemp seeds germinate:
- Provide temperatures around 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Keep humidity levels at around 65-70%. There are various products in the market that will help you manage humidity levels in your grow room.
- Use high output LED lights or fluorescent grow lamps to illuminate the seedlings for 18-24 hours each day.
- Mist your seedlings with water-soluble, nitrogen-rich fertilizer until they’re ready for transplanting.
Transplanting Your Hemp Seedlings:
Once the roots of your seedlings have spread to the sides and bottom of the germinating tray, it’s time to transplant them into bigger containers. Place the seedlings in 4-5 inch containers filled with rich, organic soil. Wait for them to outgrow these containers and then transplant them into the final pot or fabric grow bag.
Most hemp seedlings take 7-10 days to outgrow their small germination containers and then the 4-5 inch pots. When planting hemp, transplanting at the right time, in addition to providing optimum conditions during this period, will determine the quality of your final crops.
Planting Hemp Using Vertical Grow Racks
Vertical farming is here to stay. It has been proven to maximize production and increase revenue. It also allows farmers to make full use of all the space they have. If you’re keen on growing hemp in California, an indoor vertical growing system offers a great shot at success.
Our high-density mobile racks allow you to go high without compromising on light, and more importantly, access to all plants. We have a patent-pending on a retractable mezzanine walkway that will allow you and your staff to access all tiers of your grow operation. Our products all have an 8-bend design for extra strength, thus can easily support all your equipment.
4 Tips For Starting A Vertical Hemp Farm
If you’re wondering how to grow CBD hemp using vertical farming technology, these tips should give you some insight on what to do and what to expect:
1. Go For The Best Quality You Can Afford
When you’re looking at vertical farming technology, think long-term. Will the products be able to support all your plants, lighting equipment, fans, and more? For this reason, you can’t compromise on quality. Remember, you also have to guarantee your safety and that of your staff. You should therefore spring for the best quality vertical grow racks you can afford.
2. Start Out With 2 Tiers
Although we have the capacity to go as high as a customer’s needs would dictate, we would advise you not to go beyond two tiers- at least not on your first grow operation. The more tiers you have, the more work there is to do. If this is your first time with vertical farming, it may be a little overwhelming for you. After you’re more confident and comfortable with the process, you can extend your farm.
3. Proper Spacing Is Key
When planning out a vertical grow rack, it’s important to ensure your racks are well-spaced out. This way, all plants have access to air and light. Spacing will also allow you to easily reach all plants when feeding, watering, and pruning.
4. Think About The Wastewater From The Get-go
What size do you project your grow operation to be a few years from now? Keep that goal in mind when designing a grow room, even if your first operation will be at a smaller scale. Account for that goal when planning the drainage system.
Remember, with an indoor hemp growing operation, you will have to deal with all the wastewater yourself. This is why you need an efficient and scalable wastewater management system from early on.
Is It Legal To Grow Hemp In Florida?
For a long time, hemp has been seen as a grey area as far as anti-cannabis laws are concerned. This leads us to something you must be wondering about: is it legal to grow hemp in Texas and other states in the USA?
According to the Farm Bill of 2018, hemp is considered legal at the federal level. That said, different states have different laws. For example, while Florida legalized hemp farming in the state in 2019, other states like North Carolina are trying to ban smokable hemp– that is, hemp that is grown for its CBD.
All in all, what’s most important to note is that you WILL require a license to grow hemp in all American states. You will also need to get annual registration from the DATCP. If you’re looking for more information on how to grow hemp for profit in the USA, here are more helpful resources for you.
Creating An Indoor Hemp Farming Operation You Can Sustain
Although it’s tempting to maximize the number of tiers to increase profits, it’s important not to go beyond a level you and your space can sustain. Such an operation is subject to the law of diminishing returns, meaning at some point, increasing tiers wouldn’t translate into higher productivity. Be keen not to go beyond this threshold point.
Now that you know how to grow hemp for CBD, are you more inclined to get started on your journey?
What ideas do you have for your operation? Would you like to consult on whether your indoor space would be ideal for setting up a hemp farm? Please contact us to get a free quote.