Growing Hemp Plants In The Four Corners Area
The people behind this site are 1st generation hemp farmers, working in coalition with established hemp farmers. We plan on sharing our experiences and best practices (as well as insight from others) with the rest of the community. We also plan on listing local solutions for acquiring seeds and everything post-harvest.
Colorado Department of Agriculture Application
Before you get started growing hemp, you must first fill out Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Hemp Growing Application. This application process includes GPS coordinates of the grow, plus other information such as who is growing the hemp. The application process takes around 30 days, so it’s best to get the application submitted as fast as possible! You wouldn’t want to plant late due to waiting on the application! Also, make sure that everything is filled out accurately and completely, otherwise the application will get returned.
Hemp Grow Location
The location of the grow is very important. There’s a lot of things to consider with the grow location. In certain places in the Four Corners, water is a major concern. If you do not have an adaquate water source, you’ll have to have water delivered, which will come with additional overhead. The size of the grow can also determine how big of a grow operation is possible. Soil quality, level of wind and whether or not the location is more prone to early and late freezes are all things to consider when deciding how feasible a location is for a grow.
Seeds / Starter Plants
The seeds and/or starter plants are very important. There’s advantages and disadvantages to going with seeds and going with starter plants. For starters, there’s the price point. Going with seeds are going to be much cheaper than going with starter plants. The drawback to buying seeds is that seeds aren’t guaranteed to germinate, to where starters are already sprouted.
The other thing to consider is that seeds can be sown while starters must be hand-planted. Sowing saves time, but not every plant is guaranteed to take. Seeds are very expensive, so if a large percentage don’t take, it can hurt! Not only that but the profit potential from each plant is substantial, therefore success rate of every plant is important.
Water and Watering System
Water and the watering system is also something important and should be considered. The first question you should ask is whether or not the location has an adaquate water supply, or if you’re going to have to have water delivered. the form of watering is also important. Are you going to use an irrigation system? Are you going to use drip tape? This is something that should be planned out ahead of time, and definitely before the plants go into the ground.
Plowing The Fields / Getting Soil Ready
The soil, soil quality and soil preparation is another very important aspect of growing hemp. If you have enough time to plan, you might consider setting up a cover crop or crop rotation. Hemp plants like nitrogen, so anything nitrogen-producing makes for a great cover or a crop to be placed before the hemp in the rotation.
You’ll want to plow the field before planting the hemp plants. If you’ve already got a tractor setup, you’re ahead of the game. If not, there’s plenty of rental companies in Southwest Colorado. If you’re renting, be aware that local tractor rental companies have been selling out, mainly due to all the new people jumping into hemp! You don’t want to end up planting too late due to no equipment being available, so plan ahead!
During the plowing phase, soil additives can be added to enhance the soil quality.
When To Plant The Hemp Seeds / Starters
This can be really tricky for growers in Southwest Colorado, especially those at elevation. It’s not uncommon to have late-season snow or freezes. This could kill your plants and completely compromise your grow! On the flip-side, you also want to ensure that the plants have plenty of time for their vegetation cycle, which occurs while the days are longer. June is generally the month to get starter plants into the ground. What part of June can be highly contingent upon what part of Southwest Colorado the grow is taking place in, and at what elevation.
Identifying and Removing Males (CBD Grows)
If you’re growing for CBD, you’ll want to remove all the main plants so that the flowers don’t go to seed. Male plants are identifiable once the plants start flowering. Female plants will have stigmas, which are in the form of white hairs at the earliest stages of flowering. Males are identified by their clusters of pollen sacks.
It’s important to pull all the males out as they are identified. A single male plant in a field of female hemp plants could make them all go to seed.
If you are farming for biomass and not CBD, letting the crop go to seed is a non-issue, in most cases.