Organic Entourage
It was essentially impossible keep the leading discs set at a shallow depth in order to uncover the edges of the plastic. Nonetheless, with all the wet weather, the soil was soft enough that the plastic pulled up with just the reel. We had one person walking behind and using a shovel when necessary. We'll see how it goes in the other field where the edges got buried deeper.
We ground out the center of a circular saw blade to fit onto a weed trimmer. It worked well except at times, the plant would pinch the blade causing it to bind. It was easy enough to finish the cut from the other side.
After harvest, we noticed the onset of what we believe is some type of leaf blight. Starting with the fan leaves, the leaves turned brown and dried up. This withering often started mid-plant, consumed all of the fan leaves and finally the sugar leaves. The bud did not appear to be affected.

This issue was very prevalent on the second field. We're not sure what caused this. To ensure this issue never takes hold prior to harvest, our plan for the following years is to strengthen the plants even more, trim fan leaves more aggressively, and use an OMRI fungicide toward the end of the season. Note: The drying up and browning of the leaves on the majority of the plant occurred even on plants we decided not to harvest.
This was day 1 of harvesting hemp to be sent to an oil processor. We foolishly thought we could run enough product through the electric bucker to fill our dryer. Not. This quickly morphed into trimming the bulk of the fan leaves with a leaf trimmer and hand bucking into food-grade barrels.
I'm a bit embarrassed to post this video of our operation. It was so inefficient. We've got some ideas for next year that'll hopefully help. At the same time, we were really overwhelmed by the outpouring of help from all our friends and neighbors. Having grossly underestimated the amount of work harvest would take, we simply could not have brought in the plants without their help.
We decided to leaf trim our product being sent to an oil processor not only because it maximized the CBD content of the limited amount of product they're taking, but also to remove dead and dying leaves. This extra step meant a lot more work. At a point, we decided it wasn't worth the effort to take the smaller bud still out in the field.

We believe the spots seen on the leaves of some plants is a fungal disease called Yellow Leaf Spot (Septoria). This leaf mold, caused by all the wet weather, only showed up after we'd taken our premium flower and had harvested nearly all of the field.
We're leaving the flower and leaves on the stems to create air space and lining our totes with food grade liners.
We really like the TrimPro leaf trimmer. We found that one fast trimmer (two handed) could keep one fast hand bucker (or two average hand buckers) supplied with material. All of this product will be sent to a CBD oil processor.

Although trimming the bulk of the leaves easily doubled the time to process product for kiln drying, we decided to trim for two reasons. First, some of the leaves were really showing signs of it being at the end of the season - turning brown and spotted. We did not want this in with our good bud. Second, we're limited on how much product the oil processor we're selling to will buy. As such, we didn't want to include fan leaves with little dollar value included. We estimated that the fan leaves alone made up about 20% of the wet weight.
It takes time to prep single stem branches with a bare end for the machine bucker. So even though these trimmed stems can be run more quickly through the machine bucker, the fact that bucking by hand requires much less stem preparation means that the net-net is that hand bucking take less overall time. We did not see that folks slowed down much hand-bucking through out the day.
We purchased this TrimPro bucker for $3,400. The prices on hemp machinery are insane. We refuse to pay $20,000 for a Mother Bucker even if it can handle larger branches. Talk about price gouging growers.

Having said this, the TrimPro could not handle branches with heavy buds especially when they were over 1/4" in diameter. We found the machine was best used to quickly buck all the smaller branches. It was easy enough to sort these smaller branches into a separate bin. The operator could then take a handful of them and quickly zip them through the machine.
Using a 1.5"x1.5"x1/8" angle with different sized slots bolted to the top of food grade barrels worked great. People preferred hand-bucking over machine bucking in part because the action of the machine grabbing the product out of your hand just moments before zipping off the bud is a bit jarring to a person's nerves. By the way, we tried a plastic DeBudder that is similar to the steel plates, no one liked the DeBudder.
We found that prepping stems for machine bucking and then running them through the TrimPro bucker took more time than doing less trimming (larger stems with side branches) and hand bucking them. It's a lot of fussing getting a single stem with a bare end long enough to fit into the machine bucker plate so the rollers can grab it.
What we're finding is that when the temperature is cooler and the relative humidity (RH) lower, we don't need to heat more than about 85F to get product to dry. When the temperature or outdoor RH is higher, we have to increase the kiln temperature into the low-to-mid 90'sF to get a good dry.
We're hang drying our premium CBD hemp in a clean space within the barn. It's been drying for about 2 weeks and is ready for curing - stems snap when bent. However, we're still frantically harvesting the rest of our product off the field for sale to an oil processor. Given that the barn space is dimly lit, is cool (around 70F), and dehumidified to 55% RH, we figure this clean space acts the same as a plastic tote with a Boveda humidity pack in the interim until we get the product into totes for curing in the next few days.
A few more details about the kiln. All our kiln dried product will be sold to a CBD oil processor.
It wasn't easy, but we got the dryer built using HopsHarvester hardware. They changed the design dramatically from last year based upon the input from hemp growers. The bridging issue is resolved but there were a few "bugs" in the mechanism that operates the panels. Overall, it works well but the panel mechanism need sto be revamped in future designs. We installed the blower/heater on a modified trailer and the entire box comes apart in sections too. That way we can store it in the barn at the end of the season.
We're trying to decide to if we should start to harvest based upon the color of the trichomes. Any advice?
We've got our clean drying space set up in the barn and are working on assembling the kiln.
When we initially installed our drip tape, we worried when we saw kinks in the tape due to elongation under the hot summer sun. Would the water get through at the 10psi design pressure? Here I show what the tape looks like under pressure. Note: It turns out that the lower pressure and variability wasn't due to the well pump. It was actually Linda working on a major leak on another line further down the field. D'oh.
As I was driving down the field noticing the differences from plant to plant, I noticed three Lifter plants with purple leaves near the tops. Is this a phosphorus deficiency or simply genetics - higher levels of anthocyanin flavonoids in part due to the cooler weather? We're pretty sure it's simply genetics. Wow, what a vibrant purple. Note: We're currently feeding about 10 gallons per acre of Dramm E at 2-5-0.2 N-P-K on a weekly basis.

Colorful Cannabis Revealed: Here’s Why Some Strains Turn Purple

Dramm Drammatic
We had a few dozen buds that turned brown. In addition, we're seeing insect damage and some sort of disease process on the leaves of a handful of plants. From the microscope, it looks like maybe there was a touch of powdery mildew (white clusters) on one fan leaf but we didn't see these white patches anywhere else. Mostly, it was just isolated buds and surrounding leaves that turned brown. We cut out and bagged this diseased material.
Initially, we couldn't figure out why the water flow was so low on one of our drip irrigation systems. Was the pump controller damaged by the recent lightening strike? Was the 100 foot run of pipe from the barn to the field air-locked? Or was it the check valve, filter, or pressure reducer? We went around and around for a bit before, through the process of elimination, we learned a lesson about 200 mesh (70 micron) filters.
A comparison of two hemp fields. One received supplemental water and fertilizer. One did not.
We decided to make a drying rack for loose bud. After building this 4'x8'x8' rack with 44 shelves measuring 2'x4', we can't imagine building drying racks to handle the tonnage coming off the field. Roughly speaking, we've been told to expect between 1-2 pounds of dried bud per plant (4-8 pounds wet). Also, we think a 4'x8' area with 2" of bud weighs about 35 pounds wet. That's an insane amount of rack space. Take a look at They only fit 300-400 pounds in what looks like a typical semi-truck container measuring 45’ long by 8 feet wide by 9 feet tall and containing 320 shelves measuring 2'x4'.
We were out walking the field the other day and I was really struck by the colors of some of the plants.


Created 5 months ago.

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CategoryDIY & Gardening

We care deeply about our land, about our planet, about the CBD hemp we grow. Practices that nurture soil biology in turn heal the land and produce robust plants with the fullest of entourage effects. We take great pride in our efforts to nurture the land under our care. Unlike so many other operations that make hollow claims of using <i>“sustainable, ethical and organic farming practices”</i> in a paragraph on their websites, we invite in everyone to see our operation first hand, to see we are more than just words on a page.

Soil biology is key to vibrant soils and robust plants. The starting point for Organic Entourage is our certified organic land. In addition, we continually work to improve our soils with the use of composted cow manure, compost teas, cover crops, benign pest/disease controls, and other restorative practices. Our goal is to go well beyond organic in our efforts to revitalize the soil micro-biology and rebuild organic matter.

For example, we use composted cow manure, from our organic dairy partners, on our hemp fields and pastures. This is unlike other organic operations that truck in manure tainted with the chemicals and drugs from conventional dairies, feed lots, and the like – a practice that is technically "organic" but clearly less than ideal. Likewise, we do not bring in specialty soil that is placed in large pots and is regularly discarded and replaced. Nor do we grow our plants on barren fields devoid of microbe sustaining vegetative growth. Similarly, we do not grow our plants indoors under artificial light in soilless mediums (hydroponics). While all of these practices technically qualify as being "organic", we believe it’s an imperative to do better.

We have also taken on the work of sharing what we learn and know with others. We do this as a way of educating potential consumers about what to look for in quality CBD hemp. We also do this to hopefully help and challenge other smaller scale growers. It is our conviction that a robust farming community is built from a network of smaller farms, not a handful of mega-farms.

Join us in brewing excellent compost tea proven out with microscopy, turning organic manure piles into excellent compost by monitoring pile temperatures, employing rotational grazing to keep cows healthy, and all the other works we do to heal the land by rejuvenating soil biology and growing CBD hemp with the fullest of entourage effects. Join us as responsible stewards of the land.

Thank you.