Growing CBD Step One – Genetics
Growing your own CBD starts with a good foundation, and that foundation is quality feminized hemp seed. Unfortunately, there is no way for a grower or farmer to cause their hemp crop to produce CBD. The second you plant the seed, your fate is sealed. Because of this, you have to start with hemp genetics which have been bred to produce high amounts of CBD. Our hemp seed has been carefully selected to do just that. All of our hemp seed is feminized (will grow female plants) and genetically pre-disposed to produce high levels of CBD and low levels (0.3% or less) of THC. Do not gloss over this step, as your hemp seed selection is really the foundation of your entire grow.
Step Two – Environment
Where you choose to grow is obviously dependent on what facilities you have available. If you have access to a greenhouse, that is probably the most ideal environment, because you can control all environmental factors. Since most of us do not have greenhouses in our backyards, let’s discuss some more practical options:
- In a garden outdoors during Spring-Summer
If you can grow outside and your timing aligns with Mother Nature, this is probably the easiest. Plants were made to grow outside, so Mother Nature will pretty much take care of all your environmental needs. The downside is, of course, Mother Nature can be fickle, so temperature, thunderstorms, hail, etc… are always a worry. Overall, hemp is a rather hardy plant, so if you have experience gardening vegetables, you should have no trouble with hemp.
- Inside near a large window, which provides natural light
Growing indoors removes all the environmental factors, but gets more complicated when it comes to temperature and lighting. Hemp likes cooler nights and warmer days. It also likes a good amount of full spectrum light (sun or grow lights). This can be more difficult to duplicate when growing indoors, especially if you keep your home at a constant 70-72 degrees. If you grow indoors, even next to a large window, be prepared to supplement the light with some type of grow light.
- In a grow tent under artificial light
When growing indoors, this is probably the preferred method. A grow tent allows you to make a micro-climate, which you can adjust to be warmer during the light period and cooler when it’s dark. You can also control humidity and light completely. While this method is on the more professional end when it comes to knowledge and equipment, your product will also be higher quality.
NOTE: No matter where you grow, consider the odor. Hemp is cannabis and when it flowers it smells just like cannabis. Consider your unique growing conditions, including neighbors and your local laws when choosing a growing environment.
Step Three – The Grow
Growing Hemp is surprisingly simple. Like all plants, it likes to be comfortable 60-70 degrees F, have regular drinks of water (once every other day or so), and eat a balanced diet. You can either use very high quality soil, which will provide the plant its nutrients, or you can use many commercially available fertilizer regimens. There are a few key points that are unique to hemp, which I detail below, but other than that, they are just plants that want to grow.
Equipment You Will Need –
- Pots – We recommend 7 gallon pots to grow to full maturity. This is a nice size for the plant and allows for a good root structure. Once your seedling is established, we recommend you move it directly into this 7 gallon pot. You can use either a plastic reusable pot or a fabric pot, both work well.
- Soil – Use a good high quality soil. We don’t work for them or make anything for referring them, but Fox Farm Soil and Fertilizer Company ® makes a terrific line of soil for hemp.
- Water – you will need access to clean water, which is free from chlorine and chloramines. If you are on well water, you are most likely safe. If you are on municipal water, consider using a filter that can remove chlorine.
- pH Tester – These can been sourced relatively inexpensively from your local garden / grow store or online as well. They are indispensable for checking the pH of your water/nutrients and your runoff after watering.
- Thermometer/Hygrometer – purchasing a decent digital thermometer/hygrometer allows you to monitor your growing environment. They cost about $10-15 and we recommend the kind that display the current temperature / humidity along with a high / low history. This is helpful to track the overall conditions your plants are experiencing.
- Liquid Nutrients / Fertilizer – You can get as crazy or simple here as you want. Generally you will want to add calcium / magnesium to your water. Beyond that, there are numerous brands and types of fertilizers available. Again, we don’t get paid for this, but we have had excellent results from the Botanicare ® line of nutrients.
- Light – Either the sun or some type of grow lights. There are all different types and price ranges here. We use LED grow lights, because they produce less heat, but many growers swear you need High Pressure Sodium lights. There are entire blog posts about lights, so I won’t try to explain it all here, just make sure your light of choice is full spectrum (both UV and IR).
Unique Hemp Considerations:
- Hemp likes a slightly acidic soil and can be very fickle about its pH. Buy a relatively inexpensive pH meter from your local grow store or online (about $20-30) and it will make all the difference. Check the runoff after you water. You want to keep the soil/runoff pH about 6.5. This allows the plant to absorb nutrients efficiently.
- Soil/Water Temperature should be kept between 68-72 degrees F. When watering use a thermometer and try to get it as close to 70 degrees as possible. This is where the plant is happiest and will absorb nutrients the best.
- Hemp likes to dry out slightly between watering. Use your finger and press it down into the soil about 1-2 knuckles deep. If the soil is still moist, don’t water yet. Hemp is used to growing outside and actually prefers watering that mimics that of nature. One of the most common ways new growers cause themselves issues is actually over watering. Once the soil is nearly dry, it’s time to water again. When watering, apply the water slowly and water until there is runoff coming out the bottom of the pot.
- Hemp is typically a photo-period dependent plant. This means the plant grows differently based upon the length of light it receives each day. Typically, when growing hemp in the vegetative phase, you will want a (16 on / 8 off) or (18 on / 6 off) light cycle. This keeps the plant growing and not flowering. When it’s time to switch the plant to flower, you will want a (12 on / 12 off) light cycle. Obviously, if you grow outdoors, the sun will take care of this part for you. Also, if you grow an “auto-flower” strain, you can disregard this note.
Step Four – Harvesting
Harvesting is a relatively simple task. Basically harvesting involves cutting the plant down, drying it appropriately, and then removing the flowers.
Drying – We recommend drying the plant by hanging it upside down from a wire or string. Optimal drying conditions should be 65-75 degrees F and relatively low in humidity. Any normal comfortable environment should be fine for drying.
Shucking or Trimming – This step depends on your plans for the plant. If you are going to make CBD oil, you need what we call bio-mass. Bio-mass is simply the flowers and leaves of the plant, which are dried and crumbled up for extraction. This process can be done completely by hand by simply stripping the material off the stems into some type of container. Then the material can be ground up to the consistency required, also by using your hands.
If you intend to use the flower to smoke, you will want to carefully hand trim the flower and then cure it. There are many articles online detailing this process, as it can be quite involved. Just know the more care taken in trimming and curing, the better quality your flower will be.
Step Five – Planning Where to Spend All The Money You Saved!
Ok, I’m kidding, but only kinda. With retail smokable CBD flower prices around $300-400 a pound and retail CBD oil prices around $100 per gram, growing your own can save you some serious cash. Growing CBD Hemp isn’t for everyone, but hopefully this article has shown you that anyone with the desire and a few hundred dollars in equipment can be very successful. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call, at Blackstone Farms, we are always willing to help. Happy Growing!
Botanicare® Nutrients – www.botanicare.com
Fox Farm Soil and Fertilizer Company® – www.foxfarm.com
10 Pack – Magic Bullet #5 Seeds
High Quality Feminized Hemp Seeds