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Hemp: What it Is & How to Grow It

Last Updated: February 27, 2022By Joshua Mezher

Many online articles and testimonials are popping up from all kinds of folks – maybe even in your own circles --  who are now growing their own hemp gardens. 

What is Hemp?

Where Does Hemp Come From?

Hemp is part of the cannabis family, and contains trace amounts of THC -- though smoking it (or consuming it in other ways) will not produce a psychoactive buzz. Hemp may look and smell like marijuana, but it grows much taller and skinnier than marijuana, and is not as rich in aromatic terpenes. Mature plants look more like stalks of sugarcane than the bushy, full look of a marijuana plant’s foliage. 

With the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act and the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), hemp was considered the same as cannabis. 

So, how can you grow hemp legally?It's much easier than in the past, thanks to both the Farm Act and handy grow kits like a Pot for Pot.

Now, the novice user, hobbyist, or farmer for profit can now grow a personal hemp plant without paranoia of a bust.  Where once you had to have a hidden field with everything kept under wraps, it’s now easy to grow your own hemp for personal and medical use right in your own house or apartment. You don’t need a large greenhouse, field, or a backyard to grow your own hemp. You can do this in your own bedroom if you wish!

How to Grow Hemp

So, how do you grow hemp? How do you take advantage of growing this extremely versatile renewable resource? 

This is easy and inexpensive thanks to grow kits like a Pot for Pot.  Our all-inclusive grow kits have everything you need to grow your own hemp seeds in the comfort of your own home. Now you don’t have to hassle with unreliable sources for information on growing hemp. Everything you need is in this kit. Simply supply your own hemp seeds and water!

Finding Hemp Seeds

Finding hemp seeds to grow your own hemp is becoming easier. But the seeds you need are not the ones packaged up in the health food aisle at the grocery store. Those are for eating and exactly like what you can grow yourself. To get viable seeds you will need to look a little harder.

Because hemp was in a legal timeout for a few decades, reliable genetics are now emerging as hemp is now legal nationwide. It is best to buy seeds from a reputable company like I Love Growing Marijuana.com so that you may grow hemp with the characteristics you are looking for whether that be for hemp seeds, hemp seed oil, hemp CBD flower, or whatever hemp your heart desires. 

How to Grow Hemp Indoors

Get some seeds from an online seed bank as well as organic soil, nutrients, and some lighting. Once you have your seeds, it’s time to germinate

We usually recommend germinating seeds by soaking in water for 24 hours then planting in Jiffy Pellets as they are designed to be the perfect environment for starting a seed with no risk of damaging the fragile first root. Jiffy Pellets mean less mess and less handling-- less stress! Alternatively, you can start seeds by soaking them for 24 hours and then placing them in a damp paper towel until they form their little tails. Just be careful as sometimes they can catch on the paper towel.  If you start with one of our Complete Kits, you’ll have everything you need to quickly sprout your seeds

Place your seedlings somewhere they will get plenty of light. We recommend a window sill that will be sunny throughout the day if you are growing indoors. Our grow kit has everything you need, but for extra lighting, purchase a Light for Pot. Once your hemp plant begins growing, the fun has begun! 

When your plant reaches the next stage of its life, and it has sprouted 4-5 sets of leaves, then it is time to transplant your plant into its final resting place, aka its finishing pot. Transplanting ensures that your plant does not become rootbound and will be able to properly take in water and nutrients

Don’t have a lot of space in your house, or don’t have a grow room? You can still grow hemp outdoors or in your backyard! Hemp can grow quite tall, and thus prefers to stretch to its maximum size, outside. Just ensure your plants get plenty of sunlight on a back patio or deck.

The felt fabric pots in our grow kit make it easy for you to move your plant to the areas in your backyard that get all the sunlight, or inside when it rains!

How to Harvest Hemp

Thanks to a Pot for Pot, you have everything that you need to harvest your hemp when the time comes. However, how and when to harvest your hemp depends on what your growing goals are; If growing hemp to harvest the fibers, begin harvesting before your plants produce seeds.

Growing hemp for the seeds? The time to harvest will be when the plant has seeded. Your stalks should be cut down and dried, a process called “retting,” which can take up to 5 weeks. 

Pro-Tip: When growing hemp for the seeds, ensure seed husks are hard; if you wait too late, your seeds will start dropping as your plant dries -- the longer you wait, the more seeds you lose!

Harvesting Home Grown Hemp

When growing hemp for its CBD, you need to be extra careful at harvest time. You’ll know when it’s time to harvest when the trichomes on your buds start turning from solid white to a milkier white color when looking under a microscope. 

You would not want to destroy all your hard work over just a few percentage points! Trim off your buds using the bud trimming shears you received with you’re a Pot for Pot grow kit. Dry and cure them by hanging them upside down in a well-ventilated area that’s not warmer than 65°F and not more humid than 63%, to prevent mold and mildew from ruining your buds!

How Long Does it Take to Grow Hemp?

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Hemp is an annual plant that needs at least one season of the year to reach full maturity. Most plant it after the last frost, and harvest it in October if growing outdoors. For those growing indoors, we can grow hemp year-round, with multiple harvests each year if you grow hemp autoflowers

Autoflowering hemp plants mature in less than half the time of a regular photoperiod hemp plant. They also do not need a lighting adjustment once they begin flowering. If you get your timing just right, have the right conditions, and use the right tools, you can grow up to 100 ounces per year.

Now, you too know how to grow hemp, and you know how to grow hemp legally yourself, from the comfort of your home. We’re here to help you with the right tools for making your hemp growing project a success!

Industrial Hemp & What to Expect From Your Garden

Most good patriots know that even George Washington grew hemp at Mt. Vernon. Our first president established a profitable relationship with the plant because of hemp’s versatile industrial uses, mostly by making ropes, sail canvases, fishing nets, and thread for clothing.

Washington was an enterprising farmer with acres of hemp. You, dear reader, may not harvest enough fibrous material to sew your own Betsy Ross flag from your one or two backyard or kitchen window plants. Although, if your plants are really stalky, why not harvest the stalks too? If there is not enough fiber for clothing, you could use the material to make pulp for paper.

But, you most likely can expect a more than satisfactory haul of hemp seeds, rich in essential fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals as well as totally delicious in smoothies, salads, and on top of your morning avocado toast.

Or maybe you’re in it for a healthy harvest of CBD-rich flowers which you can smoke, vape, or use to make your own hemp oil. And juicing the fresh hemp leaves is a fun and nutritious way to utilize your ‘waste’ and get a bigger health payback from your plant.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

Let’s be clear: Cannabis is a plant.

“Hemp” and “marijuana” are not really plants, but words used to broadly classify variations of the cannabis plant.

In an attempt to distance themselves from the antiquated association of your new favorite garden plant with red-eyed teenagers and incense, many well-mannered farmers will discuss how hemp has a unique biological structure. 

They may tout that hemp is long, lean, and fibrous while marijuana is shorter, leafy, and displays robust flowers or buds.

This oversimplification is simply not true.

With the cultivation of any plant, selective breeding results in variations that display the most desired phenotype, or observable characteristics.

Cannabis has a long relationship with human cultivation. Perhaps the longest of any plant that humans have grown, with evidence of hemp-based agriculture going back thousands of years. This is due to the plant’s wide spectrum of applicable uses.

As a result, cannabis comes in all shapes and sizes. And you may find that it grows just like any other house plant!

The hemp vs. marijuana classification comes down to one major difference: can this variation of the plant get you high (or not)?

Or, to put it more scientifically, what is the percentage of the main psychoactive cannabinoid, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, in the mature cannabis product?

This distinction was defined legally with the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill that classified cannabis as “hemp” when the plant does not contain more than 0.3 percent of THC by dry weight.

This places all cannabis plants containing more than 0.3 percent of THC, by dry weight, into the “marijuana” category.

So, it could be argued that any cannabis plant is “hemp” until the plant is harvested, cured, and tested by a laboratory to determine the THC percentage.

Does Hemp Have “Buds” Like Marijuana Does?

Like female marijuana plants, female hemp plants also produce buds. To the uninformed, they look exactly the same as marijuana buds, with trichomes. The difference is that they will not get you high if you smoke them but their CBD content is famed for its support with anxiety or chronic pain.

All buds are trimmed and cured the same way , by properly inspecting each bud for caterpillars, bud rot, mites, mildew, and mold. You certainly don’t want to be smoking moldy hemp or using it to make edibles or oil for your friends and family!

What Does Hemp Look and Smell Like?

Hemp looks so similar to marijuana, most people cannot tell them apart while experienced growers can tell the difference right away. Hemp grows much taller and skinnier than a traditional cannabis plant, with long, hollow bamboo cane-like stalks.

Hemp does have a smell, but it is not nearly as aromatic as marijuana. It has more of a fresh piney smell, with a hint of citrus. You don’t have to worry about your garden attracting unwanted attention like you would if you were growing marijuana!

Hemp Uses and Benefits

Hemp has boundless uses— over 50,000 and counting.

Hemp is the strongest natural fiber in the world and hemp products span across multiple different categories: everyday and industrial textiles, building materials, paper, fuel, body care, food, wellness products, plastic substitutes, and more. It truly is a magical plant.

Top 8 Uses for Hemp:

  1. Textiles and Clothing
  2. Food
  3. Paper
  4. Dietary supplements
  5. Skincare
  6. Housing materials
  7. Fuel
  8. Plastic replacements

Moreover, hemp demonstrates clear superiority when matched against comparable materials like cotton, flax, trees, soybeans, and petroleum.

Hemp has a unique ability to be strong, durable, and flourish in relatively small growing areas, with light to moderate needs in terms of soil quality and water consumption, and a speedy turnaround time from seed to harvest. Plus, every growth cycle it renews the soil.

The time to normalize this plant is now. If not for its everyday use and versatility, then for the greater environmental positive impact on this planet.

What is Hemp CBD

CBD seems to be everywhere these days— grocery store checkout lines, gas stations, pet stores, the gym, the salon… Even my ophthalmologist has asked me to clarify some of his personal CBD questions. 

Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, almost all this CBD is from hemp plants. 

CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of countless cannabinoids found in cannabis plants.

CBD occupies an elevated status currently in the mainstream marketplace because of its proven medical uses while not having psychoactive effects or dependence or abuse potential. The exciting thing is that we are still discovering cannabinoids and we are still learning how they interact with each other and with other things we add to our bodies.

Okay so CBD doesn’t get me high, why use it?

CBD is medicine!

It is a proven treatment for epilepsy, especially with specific syndromes that typically do not respond to anti-seizure medications.

For the greater population, CBD is an answer to anxiety and insomnia.

CBD is one of the best treatments for chronic pain management, as it has been shown to block, or inhibit, neuropathic and inflammatory pain responses-- both of which are difficult to treat with traditional western medicine. Many suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis have experienced relief from utilizing CBD products. 

Best Uses for CBD:

    1. Chronic Pain
    2. Seizures
    3. Anxiety
    4. Sleep Disorders

Because we don't know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD, it’s best to start small and tune into the feedback you receive from your body. It also may be helpful to consult your physician, especially if you are taking other medications.

CBD as a supplement is a hot topic. You may have seen CBD sodas or coffees in your neighborhood grocery store. These may have less CBD than advertised as the FDA is cracking down on CBD as a supplement. We recommend growing your own cannabis for CBD so that you can be sure of what you are consuming.

Frequently Asked Questions about growing hemp

Surprisingly – Yes! but only up to six cannabis plants (in California). Adults 21 and above are allowed to grow in the privacy of their homes.

How much water does a hemp plant need per day?

It depends on the climate, but two to three gallons per day, per plant at peak consumption, is an average amount.

How tall does hemp grow?

Usually, hemp plants grow very tall (up to 16 feet) and seeds germinate very quickly which is amazing.

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