Part 3 -Regenerative Soil for Outdoor Grown Hemp
Using Cover Crops to Grow Hemp
In our 2nd part of this series we left off talking about prepping your field for planting direct seed in the ground or planting seedlings
Whether you plant direct seed in the ground or seedlings, in the perfect world you want to plant into a field that has already been planted with some type of cover crop. At this point, I want to explain any confusion with the phrase “cover crop”, we use the word cover crop as a general meaning of some type of plant that covers the soil. The common meaning for cover crop is planting a field with a crop in a rotation method with other plots of your field ,so if you have say one 30 acre field that has been planted with corn for a few years and you want to give the field a rest and a chance for the soil to get rejuvenated you would plant a cover crop in that field for a year or two and then put it back in use using a no-till method.
The other meaning of cover crop that I like to use is pasture cropping. Pasture cropping is what I would recommend using for planting hemp. Pasture cropping is simply planting your hemp seeds or seedlings into a field planted with pasture grass.
Prepping your field for the first time in order to start your journey into regenerative farming, starts in the fall and the reason is weeds. If you can first get your pasture grass established when early fall weed pressure is at a minimum, then your pasture grass will have an easier time covering your soil.
If you are not able to plant your pasture grass in the fall, then you can plant early spring. But if you cannot get your grass seed in early spring, I would recommend waiting until fall to plant because the later you wait in the spring the more weeds you will have.
Ways to plant your hemp farm
At the point you have an established cover for your hemp field you can now decide how your going to plant. Some farmers that have a well-established cover will use a crimping machine that rolls down the tall grass flat to the ground and then they plant seedlings into the flattened cover which works well for weed control and establishing organic matter. There have been some hemp growers that plant direct seed into this flattened cover with success, but I feel you would have a better germination rate by planting seedlings. If you do choose to use a roller crimping method, it does require you to rotate your cover crop throughout the year in order to maintain a healthy cover to start your hemp in each year.
Another way to plant into ground cover depending on your location is to use a no-till drill and plant your seed directly into the grass in the early spring before the grass get tall, the hemp seed is strong enough to grow through most grasses. You can also plant your seedlings the same way into the grass using a no-till transplanter.
The whole idea behind using these types of practice’s is there is no need to add chemical fertilizers when you have a cover crop because your root systems are creating their own natural food source. By having a well-established root system in your hemp field is part of what regenerative soil is all about. Root systems are the pipeline for all the nutrients and food for the hemp plant. The more roots you have the more natural fertilizer you have. Microbials live and eat around root systems., If your hemp plant is lacking in potassium then your living soil “microbes” say okay give me some of your sugars from your roots and I will make you some potassium. It is a give and take when it comes to soil and plants. In order to have a living soil you need to keep the root systems in place and not till it up every year, no roots, no living soil, no natural fertilizers.
Regenerative soil farming is simply giving your soil an opportunity to live a natural life, and by doing that we need to introduce animals. Animals and birds are all part of the natural process of feeding the soil, when you bring cows, sheep, or chickens onto your fields they not only fertilize your soil when they walk around they push part of the grasses into the soil that will breaks down and add to the organic matter that helps to feed your living soil.
Producing the highest quality CBD oil
With any cash crop like hemp you want to have the highest producing CBD oil you can grow or have the best tasting smokable hemp flower. Well, it all starts with the soil. Just like fine wine! If your soil is dialed in and making its own environment much like our soil that we grow our Oregon grown hemp flower in, you will be helping mother nature and your own piece of mind knowing you did your part.