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hemp plant seeds

Hemp plant seeds
Hemp seeds should be deeply water once a week, early in the morning, or at dusk to prevent evaporation. Watering is most important between the first 6 weeks, after this, hemp becomes mostly drought tolerant.

Hemp Seeds: A Step-By-Step Guide on Growing Hemp

Growing industrial hemp

Hemp is a dynamic crop that is easy to grow, maintain, and harvest. It also has a multitude of uses from medicinal to manufacturing. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you begin growing hemp seeds.

What You’ll Need

  • Planting Supplies
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Water Source
  • Well Draining Soil (ph6-7.5)
  • Garden Shovel (for moving soil)
  • Garden Hoe (for moving soil)

Harvesting Supplies

  • 1 Tarp
  • 2 5 Gallon Buckets
  • 1 scythe or garden shears/snips
  • 1 Stick, Club, or Bat
  • Refrigerator

Getting Started

First, we want to check the condition of the soil where you will be planting your hemp seeds. A simple soil test is quick and easy. Start by going to your local hardware store and purchasing a soil test kit. There are a number of kits on the market, so choose the one that fits you best. I like using Land Grant Labs. They provide a print out of the results, and recommendations on how to correct or solve a soil issue. Your local agricultural center can also provide means for soil testing.

Sending in a soil sample before sowing your hemp seeds is very important. Kush recommends doing a few soil tests from different labs. This will help you to have a broader idea of what is going in the soil, but one test will do the job to get started.

Soil Fact: Hemp typically prefers a soil with a ph of 6 to 7.5.

Prepping the soil

Once the results of your soil test are returned, take any recommended actions. Supplement your soil with the recommended minerals to ensure that the plants will have all the nutrients they need for the season. Another way to insure a proper mineral composition is to plant a cover crop the previous season.

Like growing any crop sustainably for the long term you must feed the soil and not the plant. Hemp is no exception to using proper crop rotation methods, such as:

Year 1: Hemp (planted for harvest)
Year 2: Common Buckwheat (planted for soil phosphorus regeneration)
Year 3: Hemp (planted for harvest)
Year 4: Alfalfa (Planted for soil nitrogen regeneration)

Following this cycle of crop rotation will make for better, healthier, dynamic soil. By design, it also leads to a better, healthier, dynamic hemp product for generations to come.

If the soil is healthy and vibrant, anything it grows will also be healthy and vibrant. My favorite cover crop is Common Buckwheat. It’s inexpensive, covers a lot of ground, smothers out common weeds, works well in poor soils, and is better than other cover crops at retrieving phosphorous. Additionally, buckwheat helps later crops with fruiting, flowering, and root growth.

If you don’t the time to plant a cover crop this season then simple supplementation from your local agriculture supply store can be a quick and effective way to ensure you have organic mineral content in time for the current season.

Sowing Seeds

Planting Hemp seeds from April-June is advised, although conditions are more important than the calendar date. A soil temperature above 50°F, in Full-Sun (6-8 hours of sunlight a day), and well drained soil is ideal. Upon planting, follow with a deep watering to promote germination. You should be able to see seed-sprouts emerge anywhere between 5-10 days although some seeds can take as long as two weeks.

Hemp seeds should be deeply water once a week, early in the morning, or at dusk to prevent evaporation. Watering is most important between the first 6 weeks, after this, hemp becomes mostly drought tolerant.

If you starting seeds inside, it is recommended to do so around May 1st. This allows 3 weeks of growth before transplanting outside. Seedlings should be lightly watered each day and stored in a warm (above 70°F) room with 6-8 hours of direct to indirect sunlight. When the stems near the base begin to become “woody” and more stable, the seeds are ready to make the move outdoors.

In some hemp fields, seed spacing is commonly 4’x6’, due to how big the plant will be at full maturity. This additional space also gives room to harvest material from the plant. Similar to an orange grove or apple orchard, all hemp plants have their own space. This is more convenient for the farmer, due to the creation of rows to walk, room between plants for inspection, and easier movement at harvest time. This is not necessary, but keeps the field orderly and manageable.

However, hemp can be planted very densley with no issues as well. Not only will this help keep weeds at bay, but it will provide more harvest potential. Another benefit is that the hemp crops do not need to be inspected as frequently due to the sheer quantity.

Either method of planting your hemp crops is acceptable.

Growing Hemp: Frequently Asked Questions About Planting Hemp Seeds

What is the ideal soil temperature for planting hemp seeds?

Hemp seeds should be planted in soil as close to 50°F as possible.

What level of sun is needed for hemp seeds?

Hemp should be planted in full sun.

When is the best time of year to plan hemp seeds?

Ideally, you should plan to plant your seeds from April-June.

How many days does it take for hemp seeds to emerge?

On average, it takes about 5-10 days for hemp seeds to begin to emerge from the soil.

What is the proper seed depth for hemp?

Hemp seeds should be planted ¼” to ½” deep into the soil.

What is the proper row spacing for hemp plants?

Hemp should have at least 4” between each seed when planting.

When do hemp plants reach maturity?

On average, hemp reaches maturity between 8-16 weeks (based on species).

When should you sow hemp seeds?

2 to 4 weeks after your average last freeze when soil temp is above 46F, or anytime up to 4 weeks

How to Harvest Hemp

Hemp can be harvested for fiber or seeds.

As soon as seeds develop (after 4-8 weeks) fiber can be harvested. The longer you wait to harvest the stalk for fiber, the more durable the fiber will be. You can begin harvesting hemp fiber as early as seeds are visible.

To harvest hemp fiber

  1. Cut stalks 2-3 cm from the soil using shears or a scythe
  2. Lay the stalks on the ground to dry, also called “retting.” This process allows moisture and microbes to break down the stalk so that fiber is easier to remove. “Retting” can also be done by submerging the stalks in water for up to 7-10 days. Retting will not occur under 41°F or above 104°F. This process can take up to 5 weeks.
  3. Allow to dry completely before storing
  4. Once dried hemp can be bound in stacks, bales, or bundles for storage
  5. Hold cutting over a tarp or collection bin in a well ventilated area
  6. Thrash the clipping with a stick, club, or bat to kock all the seeds off onto the tarp/bin
  7. After harvesting each plant as a whole you will pour the seeds into a 5 gallon bucket

For seed harvest, wait 12-16 weeks until you see seeds forming at the top of the crop. Some seeds lower on the plant may be harder, where as some closer to the top may be soft and green. This is normal and means your plant is not quite ready for seed harvest. For maximum harvest wait until the majority of the seeds are hard.

How to Get seeds from your hemp crop:

  1. Cleanly cut just below the lowest seed pod off the stalk with shears/snips or scythe.
  2. Hold cutting over a tarp or collection bin in a well ventilated area.
  3. Thrash the clipping with a stick, club, or bat to kock all the seeds off onto the tarp/bin.
  4. After harvesting each plant as a whole you will pour the seeds into a 5 gallon bucket.
  5. Hold a bucket one foot above another bucket and pour the seeds back and forth. When the seeds are poured from one bucket into the next, the wind (or a fan) moving between will blow away all the residue and debris. Repeat this step 5-10 times until all debris and residue has been removed. This process is called “winnowing.”
  6. You can now pour seeds into a refrigerator safe bin with a lid and store between 32-40°F.

Once the seeds are harvested, you can harvest the fiber from the fully matured stalk as well. Fully utilizing the crop to its maximum potential by repeating the steps for “fiber harvesting”, listed above.

Hemp plant seeds
Hemp, (Cannabis sativa), also called industrial hemp, plant of the family Cannabaceae cultivated for its fibre (bast fibre) or its edible seeds. Hemp is sometimes confused with the cannabis plants that serve as sources of the drug marijuana and the drug preparation hashish. Although all three products—hemp, marijuana, and hashish—contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a compound that produces psychoactive effects in humans, the variety of cannabis cultivated for hemp has only small amounts of THC relative to that grown for the production of marijuana or hashish.

Hemp plant seeds

Hemp, (Cannabis sativa), also called industrial hemp, plant of the family Cannabaceae cultivated for its fibre (bast fibre) or its edible seeds. Hemp is sometimes confused with the cannabis plants that serve as sources of the drug marijuana and the drug preparation hashish. Although all three products—hemp, marijuana, and hashish—contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a compound that produces psychoactive effects in humans, the variety of cannabis cultivated for hemp has only small amounts of THC relative to that grown for the production of marijuana or hashish.

Physical description

The hemp plant is a stout, aromatic, erect annual herb. The slender canelike stalks are hollow except at the tip and base. The leaves are compound with palmate shape, and the flowers are small and greenish yellow. Seed-producing flowers form elongate, spikelike clusters growing on the pistillate, or female, plants. Pollen-producing flowers form many-branched clusters on staminate, or male, plants.

Cultivation and processing

Hemp originated in Central Asia. Hemp cultivation for fibre was recorded in China as early as 2800 bce and was practiced in the Mediterranean countries of Europe early in the Christian era, spreading throughout the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages. It was planted in Chile in the 1500s and a century later in North America.

Hemp is grown in temperate zones as an annual cultivated from seed and can reach a height of up to 5 metres (16 feet). Crops grow best in sandy loam with good drainage and require average monthly rainfall of at least 65 mm (2.5 inches) throughout the growing season. Crops cultivated for fibre are densely sowed and produce plants averaging 2–3 metres (6–10 feet) tall with almost no branching. Plants grown for oilseed are planted farther apart and are shorter and many-branched. In fibre production, maximum yield and quality are obtained by harvesting soon after the plants reach maturity, indicated by the full blossoms and freely shedding pollen of the male plants. Although sometimes pulled up by hand, plants are more often cut off about 2.5 cm (1 inch) above the ground.

Fibres are obtained by subjecting the stalks to a series of operations—including retting, drying, and crushing—and a shaking process that completes separation from the woody portion, releasing the long, fairly straight fibre, or line. The fibre strands, usually over 1.8 metres (5.8 feet) long, are made of individual cylindrical cells with an irregular surface.

Products and uses

The fibre, longer and less flexible than flax, is usually yellowish, greenish, or a dark brown or gray and, because it is not easily bleached to sufficiently light shades, is rarely dyed. It is strong and durable and is used for cordage—e.g., twine, yarn, rope, cable, and string—and for artificial sponges and such coarse fabrics as sacking (burlap) and canvas. In Italy some hemp receives special processing, producing whitish colour and attractive lustre, and is used to make fabric similar to linen. Hemp fibre is also used to make bioplastics that can be recyclable and biodegradable, depending on the formulation.

The edible seeds contain about 30 percent oil and are a source of protein, fibre, and magnesium. Shelled hemp seeds, sometimes called hemp hearts, are sold as a health food and may be eaten raw; they are commonly sprinkled on salads or blended with fruit smoothies. Hemp seed milk is used as an alternative to dairy milk in drinks and recipes. The oil obtained from hemp seed can be used to make paints, varnishes, soaps, and edible oil with a low smoke point. Historically, the seed’s chief commercial use has been for caged-bird feed.

Other hemps

Although only the hemp plant yields true hemp, a number of other plant fibres are called “hemp.” These include Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum), Mauritius hemp (Furcraea foetida), and sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea).

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Melissa Petruzzello, Assistant Editor.