Growing Indoor Hemp
Many CBD users will find and buy CBD flower for sale online, but want to make sure it is high quality hemp. So you may want to grow some premium hemp and you want to do it indoors for high quality. Well alright then!
The passing of the Farm Bill in 2018 made the hemp plant federally legal for consumption, cultivation, and distribution. This comes on the heels of sweeping marijuana legalization in states across the country. Both hemp and marijuana fall under the species of plant known as cannabis.
The differences between hemp and marijuana are levels of the primary cannabinoids found in cannabis. Cannabinoids are the molecules that give cannabis the beneficial properties many use the plant for. CBD (cannabidiol), the main cannabinoid found in hemp, does not produce any feeling of being “high”.
That feeling is caused by the main cannabinoid found in marijuana, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Legally, hemp contains less than 0.3% THC. This article will focus on the growth of hemp plants in an indoor environment.
Male and Female Plants
An additional distinction between plants can be made regarding their gender and what your goals are for the plant. The uses for hemp are vast and they all come from the hemp plant’s seeds, fiber, and flower.
Seeds can be either male or female (sometimes both and these are called hermaphrodites). Hemp fiber can be harvested from either the male or the female plant, but hemp flower only comes from the female plant (Gardeners).
The first step in growing some hemp plants is to germinate the seeds. We will get into specifics in a bit. During this process, usually you will find a 50/50 split of male and female seeds. If you wish to increase your odds, feminized seeds can be purchased. These seeds have been manipulated to grow a female plant.
Indoor vs Outdoor Grows
Outdoor grows are most useful for the larger grows out there as land is considerably less expensive than a giant facility in which to grow indoors. Outdoor flower tends to be less flavorful and appears less attractive than its indoor counterpart.
Growing indoors allows for greater control of many factors which contribute to the overall quality of the finished flower. The air, light, and soil are all customizable to fit your exact grow specifications. Because the light and heat sources are controlled, you can also fit in several harvests each year.
Outdoor harvests come once per year when the conditions are right. Possessing the knowledge necessary for a successful indoor harvest takes time, practice, and patience to acquire. But once you possess that knowledge you can grow some of the finest hemp around.
How to Grow Hemp Indoor
There are several things you need to keep in mind when setting up the grow room. Two of the main concerns are having proper ventilation and light control. A well ventilated room, filled with constant fresh air, will keep your plants happy and healthy. Plants expel toxins from their leaves, so without proper ventilation, the leaves can clog up and then die (Hempseedshop).
Being able to completely control the amount of light and the amount of time light is hitting the plants is crucial to a successful indoor grow. Cannabis plants are photo-periodic, meaning they need specific light cycles to grow and then flower.
At times, you will want the grow room to be 100% dark. Using a timer to accurately and precisely control when the lights are on can be very useful. Popular lights to use are high-pressure sodium lamps at 400-1000 watts (Suzyseeds).
Germinate and Care
Germinating seeds is to develop the seed into a plant. With the seeds planted about 1-inch deep in some moist soil, controlling temperature and humidity becomes the biggest concern. Temperatures should stay between 65-75℉ and relative humidity around 65%.
The lighting period should be 20-24 hours. When the roots of the newly formed plants have reached the walls and bottom of the planter, it is time for a move into a bigger pot!
You have your planter and your flower, so what soil should you be using? First off, it should be sterilized soil to avoid any potential parasites that could ruin your crop. Next, the pH level should be between 6.5 and 7.5. The pH level tells you how acidic the soil is.
Highly acidic soil can push the plant to be male, which we do not want (it’s all about the ladies!). Finally, having soil that drains well is crucial for maintaining a well-watered plant.
Transplant the Plant
When the roots have grown to touch the walls of your second pot, it is time to upgrade to an even bigger pot. This should be the last pot your plant will need.
Fertilizer, when added to soil, increases the soil’s fertility by loading it with essential nutrients that will encourage plants to grow to their full potential. Starting with diluted fertilizer and gradually increasing concentration will keep your plants growing without overwhelming them.
Many growers add fertilizer as needed, and this usually occurs about 1-2 times a week. Make sure to stop fertilizing directly before harvest as it is possible that it could harm the end products potency (Hempseedshop).
Over watering, bad. Under watering, bad. There is a sweet spot in the middle that is ideal for plant growth. This sweet spot is when the top layer of soil is dried out. That is when the plant needs more to drink. This most likely will not be every day, but maybe every few days. As mentioned before, having soil and a pot that drains well is essential to let any excess water exit the system.
Vegetative and Wait
While the plant grows, before it begins to flower, is called the vegetative stage. During this stage, the temperature should stay in the 65-80℉ range with relative humidity staying between 45% and 65%. The vegetative stage usually lasts between 30 and 60 days, at which point the photo-period (time light is on) will change to push the plant into the flowering stage.
In the flowering stage, the relative humidity should stay on the lower end of the range mentioned above (45-55%) and the temperature the same. The main difference between the environment in this stage versus the vegetative stage is the photoperiod. 12/12 is the best ratio to follow (12 hour light, 12 hour completely dark). This dark period will trigger the flowering process and get you those fresh buds!
Growing hemp indoor is an exciting experience that will teach you a lot in the process. Having reliable equipment, a proper set up, and a bit of knowledge to begin can lead you on your way to a successful grow. A well-ventilated room with proper temperature, humidity, and photoperiod are essential to growing fresh hemp.
Soil with a pH level of about 6.5 that drains well will keep your plant at ideal watering levels. Fertilizer can help get your plant the nutrients it craves to grow to its full potential. Speak with your local gardening store or fellow cannabis growers to really customize your grow to your specifications. Happy hemp farming!