We decided to remove the fan leaves on two rows of hemp plants. We did this to help minimize the risk of powdery mildew and also wanted to see if it improves the size and quality of the buds. There are experts on both sides. Some say it works and some say it doesn't. For ourselves, waiting until the second week of flowering to trim the fan leaves and then only doing it on a couple rows made the most sense.
As we watch our hemp grow this first year, we're learning about bud formation. Here I compare the pre-flower stage to early bud formation showing the pistils.
Out of about 1,500 hemp plants, we have about a dozen plants that testing shows are deficient in nutrients compared to healthy plants but aren't sure why. We're letting these plants grow just to see what happens but will not be harvesting these questionable plants.
Being new to growing hemp, we mistook the early stages of pre-flower with exuberant vegetative growth. By pre-flower, we mean the growth of a tighter bundle of smaller and thinner "sugar" leaves at the ends of branches. We didn't find any males or "hermies" in our fields. We were told that roughly 1 in 2,000 of the "feminized" seed we purchased are male.
We will be using one of the hay mows on the upper level of our turn of the century barn to dry our top-shelf bud. In preparation, we've cleaned out the entire barn on both levels and white-washed it all. In addition, we've install ceiling joists above the mow to create an enclosed space and provide a surface to hang netting. Hemp tops will be hung from this netting and dried using a combination of dehumidifiers, fans, and outside air.
We tried spraying a 300 gallon compost tea brew from the truck. It all went well enough but when I looked at the tea under the microscope at the end, there was a major loss in microbial activity. It appears that the 2 hours it took to spray the tea was way too long for the microbes to stay active. Next time, we'll keep the big tote bubbling and transfer 35 gallons at a time to the 4-wheeler.
Making good compost starts with the right ratio of nitrogen (manure) with dry matter (carbon like sawdust and straw) along with mixing and introducing air to promote healthy microbial growth. The bedding pack barn starts the process of composting the manure mixed with sawdust that is continued in windrows nearby. This is new system that's being put in place and like all new endeavors has its challenges. Figuring out the right amount of sawdust to work into the bedding pack on a daily basis along with trying to cope with impact of all the wet and freezing weather on the compost windrows has been challenging. Nonetheless, the conventional practice of pumping liquid manure into holding ponds that are breeding grounds for all manner of nasty bacteria that is then sprayed out onto fields make absolutely no sense.
This is a brief video I shot the other day while visiting Bill from Lakeshore Vermicomposting. Unlike other operations that throw worms in peat for a month and then sell it into the market, Bill's superior process takes nearly 4 months to break down grass fed manure and straw to make their vermicompost. It takes an additional month for the more nutrient dense worm castings.
We're experimenting spraying compost tea using a Honda WX10 water pump and Turbo TeeJet TTI11005 (brown) 110 degree nozzles controlled by a 12V DC brass ZW20 solenoid valve. After experimenting, we were able to get a narrow 2-foot wide spray pattern that focused on the hemp. However, we're thinking of getting rid of the nozzles altogether and using a hand-operated spray nozzle to further focus the spray.
Created 3 months ago.
|Category||DIY & 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 claim to use “sustainable, ethical and organic farming practices” 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.