- Hemp Farming
A hemp greenhouse is often the best way to ensure a strong start to any hemp crop. Hemp greenhouses needn’t be large, just sizeable enough for roughly 2000 seedlings per acre, or just over 300 square feet on average plus room to work. Whether solely for germination or the whole hemp growing process, germinating hemp seeds in a greenhouse is often the best way to grow.
Understanding Seed Germination
Seeds are fertilized plants waiting for the perfect time to grow. They consist of an embryo, a small food supply, and a seed coat to protect its delicate contents. Using a hemp greenhouse in the beginning makes all the difference.
Most seeds that experience dormancy do so thanks to their protective shell or coat. The casing ensures that the seed remains viable until it finds the best conditions under which to sprout. A hard, healthy seed coat is an important characteristic of any quality seed and ensures that it can travel safely to its next destination.
When the time is right, a seed’s coat will break down, allowing the fragile embryo to emerge, first with its taproot followed by a shoot that will soon develop leaves. Often, the “time is right” when Mother Nature says it is – when the ground warms and softens enough accept seedlings, or when the seed has experienced the right mix of cold and hot to trigger a reaction, for example. However, growers can induce seed germination using careful techniques involving light, humidity, and temperature control.
The Basics of Hemp Seed Germination
Hemp seeds need three things to germinate: oxygen, moisture, and heat. To germinate hemp seeds, soak them in distilled, room-temperature water for 12-24 hours. Remove from the water and place on a moist, sanitary towel (disposable paper towels are a common choice) or prepare your soil with mild nutrients to act as bedding.
Though many choose the paper towel method for hemp seed germination to better track germination phases, this method also required the additional step of seedling transplantation. Exposed roots can break or become contaminated quickly using this method, hence the reason many large-scale farmers choose soil-based germination practices.
Note that germination is a delicate process. Planting seeds directly in soil outdoors is known to net less-than-favorable results. Common causes of germination failure include improper seed depth and low soil temperatures. The ideal depth of in-ground hemp seeds is between half to one inch, and the ideal outdoor temperature is above 46 degrees Fahrenheit after the soil has sufficiently warmed for the season.
Though greenhouse hemp seed germination is ideal, often, farmers aren’t equipped with the extra space for on-sight greenhouse germination. If such is the case, pre-germinated CBD hemp seed starts are an excellent alternative.
A Hemp Greenhouse Provides Better Environmental Control
A hemp greenhouse is, by far, the best environment in which to start CBD hemp seeds. Greenhouses provide better environmental control, including temperature control, moisture control, and nutrient control. Greenhouses also make it easier to measure all of these critical factors using smart growth technology and rectify concerns immediately.
Additionally, hemp seed germination in greenhouses improves the chances of full-crop coverage. Expect no dead patches where seedlings didn’t sprout; farmers can utilize every inch of farmland for hemp crop cultivation. Hemp crops require a spacing of four to six feet apart on average. With pre-germinated seedlings, growers can use every eligible foot of farmland for CBD hemp production.
Moreover, hemp seeds that get off to a strong start produce higher cannabinoid levels compared to weak plants. When seedlings have everything they need to thrive from the beginning, they can put more effort into the development of healthy, bountiful leaves, stems, and ultimately buds.
Transferring Seedlings from Hemp Greenhouse to Field
Congratulations! Your seeds have sprouted into a beautiful seedling (when it contains between three to four sets of “true” fan leaves). Now it’s time to transplant them into their final home where they will grow into their full potential. If growing outdoors, greenhouse hemp seedlings must harden, or acclimate to outdoor conditions. Plants that are not sufficiently hardened can quickly burn when exposed to harsh UV light, not to mention the drastic wind, rain, and temperature changes likely to take place outdoors.
Hemp seedlings can prepare for an outdoor lifestyle with constant air circulation. Place fans in greenhouses or indoor grow rooms to strengthen stems against the wind current.
Farmers must additionally prepare seedlings for outdoor transplant by acclimating them to the sun. Omitting this vital step can cause wilting and seedling death quickly, and may otherwise stunt growth in otherwise vigorous plants.
To harden hemp plants for outdoor transplant, begin by placing seedlings in a shaded outdoor area protected from both wind and pests (including Fido because, let’s face it, hemp plants are tasty!). Bring seedlings indoors at night if freezing temperatures are a concern.
After a few days in the shade, move plants to the sun for a short time. Increase exposure to direct light by about an hour each day. After about a week, the hemp seedlings will be ready to transplant into a field.
Final Thoughts Regarding Hemp Greenhouse Germination
Germinating hemp seeds in greenhouses is an easy way to ensure that outdoor hemp crops are healthy, full, and prime for generous cannabinoid production.
Many hemp seed distributors sell “regular” (both female and male) seeds. However, this seed type is best for industrial, fiber and seed hemp crops. Farmers growing CBD hemp should only grow feminized hemp seeds and only from reputable distributors. Doing so removes the need for pre-sex hemp plants, thus reducing labor while increasing output.