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Hemp Uses And Care: Learn How To Grow Hemp Seed

By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Hemp is the non-psychoactive variety of Cannabis. It has great potential as a grain and fiber material. There are approved varieties for planting depending upon where you live. Learn more about hemp seed here.


The number of US acres devoted to hemp is 100 times greater than five years ago

Industrial hemp is the fastest growing crop in US agriculture.

The US defines industrial hemp as cannabis sativa plants containing 0.3% or less THC. Any higher than that, so to speak, and the plants are considered marijuana, which is federally outlawed. Before 2015, hemp was virtually nonexistent in terms of US agriculture, because the Controlled Substances Act lumped it along with all cannabis plants (also known as marijuana) in 1970 as a Schedule I substance with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

Then, in 2014, a new farm bill opened up industrial hemp cultivation to state-controlled pilot programs. The following year,1,500 acres of hemp were planted in the US. Today, nearly 100 times that many acres of US farmland are covered in the stuff—146,000, according to new data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Last year, hemp was planted in 18 states. Today that number has more than doubled, with 37 states planting industrial hemp, for a 350% increase over the acreage planted as of December 2018. And more of those states are going big on hemp. In 2018, just five states had over 1,000 acres of hemp planted, compared with 21 states today.

Leading the charge is Montana, which has more than twice the acreage of the second-place state—Colorado—when it comes to hemp cultivation.

“There’s a lot of good land and a lot of good farmers,” said Colby Johnson of the state, whose family farm has around 1,500 acres of varying crops about 60 miles from Glacier National Park, adding that relatively low humidity means plants are less vulnerable to mold. Johnson’s farm sits in a region known as the Golden Triangle because of the abundance of wheat farms. Johnson said the 600 acres of hemp he planted in 2019—up from 300 the previous year—might otherwise have been covered in wheat or barley, but tanking commodity prices make hemp an appealing alternative.

“Farmers are growing hemp only because all the other commodities—you know, wheat, barley, corn, soybeans, whatever it is, they’re all the dumps,” he said.

Although the booming market for CBD (also known as cannabidiol, which is derived from cannabis or hemp flowers) is driving the demand for hemp, Johnson said he’s thus far had better luck selling his harvest for its seeds, or grain. Those can be used to make hempseed oil—which is used in food and skincare—as well as “hemp hearts,” as the sprouted seeds are called when they’re sold for sprinkling on salads or cereal, or blending into smoothies.

Johnson said the prices he receives for the grain might be slightly more modest than those that farmers reap for CBD, but that the booming CBD business brought out some shady players. Indeed, Montana Public Radio reported that some Montana and North Dakota farmers are seeking roughly $7 million in damages from CBD deals gone awry.

Despite doubling his hemp acreage since last year, Johnson—who also farms cattle for beef—says he won’t be betting the whole farm on it anytime soon.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” he said. “It’s not going to save a farm. It’s going to just help. Hemp won’t be the lifesaver. It’s just going to be another tool that farmers can use going forward.”


Buying Hemp Seeds

Since hemp was only recently legalized, seeds are a bit hard to come by. That will change in the future, but for now, there are a few suppliers that you can get seeds from.

  • Seeds From Hemplogic , a leader in the hemp industry. You must contact them for prices and to see if they sell to your area.
  • ColoradoByDesign has non-feminized varieties available.
  • Seeds from bulkhempwarehouse.com carry unnamed varieties for $10 per ounce. This may be good for the person who wants to experiment a little in their garden.

Seeds that are “feminized” have been genetically altered to produce more female plants and don’t require cross-pollination. These plants may be hybrids or they may be a GMO crop. Do your research if you plan to have organic production. Genetically modified seeds aren’t an option for sustainable farmers and gardeners.

Purchasing seeds may still require an application until companies and regulations adapt. You can contact your state DOA for more information. Also, be prepared that hemp seeds are expensive compared to other crops.


Growing Basics

For those curious and adventurous enough to get started, cannabis can be a wonderful addition to a variety of garden landscapes. A few plant basics to keep in mind:

  • While cannabis varietals offer vast differences in aroma, growth habit, and morphology, most produce dense inflorescences of flowers, called colas, in late summer and fall. These colas are the consumable “buds” that cannabis is so famous for.
  • Because cannabis is wind-pollinated, its flowers lack the profusion of petal colors found in many other annual flowers. In fact, cannabis plants produce no petals at all. Still, cannabis flowers are quite showy, adding interesting forms to the garden, and in mid to late fall, its leaves and colas can demonstrate impressive displays of color.
  • A highly aromatic annual flower, cannabis is a hardy and vigorous grower which prefers full sun and well-drained soils, and performs well in a variety of climates.
  • Depending on the variety and environment, plants can range from dense clumping shrubs measuring around four feet in height to lanky trees reaching 12 feet or more.


How to Grow Hemp

Last Updated: September 3, 2020 References Approved

This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards.

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wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 89% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

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Hemp is a hardy plant used for textiles, paper, animal feed, and much more. While hemp is typically grown for industrial purposes, it’s also a plant you grow on your own. After planting the seeds in the spring and caring for them through summer, you can harvest the fibers and seeds to use. But before you start a crop, make sure to check your local laws to see if it’s legal to grow hemp in your area!


Watch the video: Which Are Better Hemp Seeds Or Flax Seeds? Dr Michael Greger


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