Hemp has been an important crop throughout human history for food, fiber, and medicine. It is one of the fastest growing plants and is an annual broadleaf plant with a taproot and is capable of very rapid growth under ideal growing conditions. In addition, it is commonly used to refer Cannabis strains cultivated for industrial (non-drug) use. Hemp has many desirable traits that require improvement, including eliminating seed shattering, enhancing the quantity and quality of stem fiber, and increasing the accumulation of Phyto cannabinoids. Globally more than 30 countries grow hemp. Hemp stalks contain two key fractions, the bast fiber and hurd.
For Fiber hemp plants it will usually grow to 2-4 meters tall without branching. Items ranging from rope, to fabrics, to industrial materials were made from hemp fiber. The stem has an outer bark that contains the long, tough bast fibers. They are similar in length to soft wood fibers and are very low in lignin content. Hemp rope, textiles and clothing is made from these fibers. The core contains the “hurds” or “Shives” (short fibers), similar to hard wood fibers and these are used for building, particleboard(MDF) and pet bedding, as well as plastics. Moreover, Hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, are the seeds of the hemp plant, or Cannabis sativa. Although marijuana comes from the same plant, hemp seeds only contain a trace amount of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and they will not get you high. In fact, hemp seeds are safe and very healthy to eat.
Now let’s talk about Cannabis cultivation or growing a perfect hemp. Be aware that many locations specifically forbid any hemp growing. In areas where it is permitted, you will likely need a license and adhere to a rigid set of rules unique to each locality. There are some factors to consider in growing hemp. Let’s clearly understand and take note of these following factors.
The soil condition Hemp responds to a well-drained, loam soil with pH (acidity) above 6.0. Neutral to slightly alkaline (pH7.0 – 7.5) is preferred. The higher the clay content of the soil the lower the yield of grain or fiber. Soils must be well draining but should also have enough organic matter to retain moisture as hemp is a high-water crop. It requires 10 to 13 inches (300-400 mm) of rainfall during the growth period. Extra nutrients and water will be required to achieve maximum yields on these soils, hence the extra costs make production uneconomical.
The climate for growing requires lots of moisture; approx. 3-400mm (10-13”) of rainfall equivalent. If that amount of rainfall does not occur during the growing season it is important to make use of early soil moisture and to get early ground cover to reduce surface evaporation, as well as maintain good weed control. About ½ of this moisture is required during flowering and seed set in order to produce maximum grain yields. During the vegetative growth period Hemp responds to daytime high temperatures with increased growth and water needs. After the 3rd pair of leaves develop Hemp can survive daily low temperatures as low as -0.5 degrees Celsius for 4-5 days.
The fertility of the hemp requires approximately the same fertility as a high-yielding crop of wheat. Apply up to 110kg/hectare of nitrogen, depending on soil fertility and past cropping history. Research also supports the application of 40-90kg/hectare of potash for fiber hemp. Base your phosphorus (P205) and potash (K20) applications on a recent soil test.
Finally harvesting time, harvesting begins when plants are between early bloom and seed set and should be executed in such a manner that stalks are not broken or cut up. It begins approximately six weeks after flowering. Harvesting is usually done by hand but nowadays they have discovered baling and swathing equipment’s as well.
These factors should be considered to grow hemp perfectly and successfully.