Preparing for the Outdoor Hemp Cultivation Season
Planting hemp outdoors isn’t as simple as tossing some seeds on the ground, it takes preparation on multiple levels. With the experience of 2020 under our belt, we’re now preparing for our 2021 outdoor hemp cultivation season by tackling five key elements: soil testing, tilling, seeds, irrigation, and scheduling.
Hemp, like all plants, needs food to grow well. Since our first season cultivating hemp affected the nutrient levels in our field, we sent our soil to a lab so we could get an agricultural soil report to help us make informed decisions regarding our feeding regimen.
We found our soil still has an optimal amount of nitrogen, so we won’t have to change our nitrogen feeding schedule. On the flip side, we also learned that our soil is phosphorus deficient, so we know to increase the amount of phosphorus we feed during flowering.
Tilling is a hot topic in farming—to till or not to till. This year, we are tilling our field as we have to establish new beds because we’re planting a new section of our field. Once we establish these beds, we will likely transition to a no-till practice as a means of sequestering carbon, protecting the moisture in the beds, and preserving the soil’s microbiome as a means of enhancing plant growth.
We’re planting 2,000 Oregon CBD seeds and 500 Big G clones this year across 1.5 acres. We’ve already started our seeds indoors, and we’re also prepping our Big G for cloning.
After much contemplation, we’ve decided to revise our line up this year. We’re going to stick with Big G, our high-CBG cultivar, because its trichome-laden flowers can’t be beat. Meanwhile, we’re going to retire Hillbilly Hash. We loved the gooey, fruity aroma of Hillbilly Hash and its high-CBD content, but we’re swapping it out for some exciting new genetics from Oregon CBD.
Since we covered the cost of most of our irrigation equipment last year, we are cleaning our valves, generator, lay flat, and gauges, and making sure they are fully functional for the season. We’re also double checking to make sure we don’t have any leaks in the system because every drop of water counts!
And because every drop counts, we’ve decided to upgrade our drippers this year. We want more water output to make sure our plants hit that ideal saturation rate, so we’re going with a dripper that drips twice as much water compared to the model we used last year.
The sign in our office says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Accordingly, we like to schedule everything out, so we’ve already scheduled every element of the 2021 season, from planting our seeds and determining our feeding days to scheduling labor for pruning and harvest. Obviously, plans can change, but we like having a framework in place to keep us on track.