The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill made the cultivation of hemp legal. It was no longer a Schedule I Controlled Substance. While the ideal setting for hemp has always been outdoors in the field, more farmers are now turning to greenhouses. Growing hemp in a greenhouse delivers excellent results in terms of yields and CBD concentration.
Should You Grow Hemp in a Greenhouse?
Is it right for you to grow industrial hemp in a greenhouse? Well, hemp is a cash crop. Generally, cash crops usually do well when they are cultivated indoors. So, if you are a hemp farmer and want more yields, then a greenhouse would be an ideal solution.
Growing hemp in a greenhouse is useful because you can control the environment. The regulation usually leads to optimal growth and consequentially improved yields. But while this may effectively work for CBD hemp plants, fiber hemp plants usually thrive when cultivated outdoors.
But while greenhouse cultivation of hemp seems excellent, it comes with a heavy price. You have to remember that you need the right tools to manage humidity and temperature, etc. Additionally, you have to be ready to implement the right greenhouse modifications that are ideal for CBD hemp’s commercial production.
Advantages of Growing Hemp in a Greenhouse
Traditionally, hemp has always been grown in the fields. However, this type of hemp is mainly for textile and other industrial uses. If you cultivate hemp for the production of CBD or health products, you should do it in a greenhouse. The advantages of doing so include:
- Ability to grow hemp all year round
- Fewer pest and disease management problems
- Better control of the growing environment
- Improved security
Growing Hemp in a Greenhouse: Things You Should Follow
If you intend to grow hemp in a greenhouse, here are some of the things you need to know:
Greenhouse technology allows for year-round cultivation. If you were to grow your crops outdoors, you would definitely be limited by the seasons. The use of tools such as supplemental LED lighting ensures that the plants grow at a faster rate.
The outdoor setup is generally a significant risk. First, you only have a chance to cultivate and reap your harvests once per year. Secondly, you don’t have any control of the elements of weather. This means that if the weather gets slightly extreme, you might lose significantly or the whole harvest.
Seed Production, Breeding, Research, and Development
Some farmers cultivate industrial hemp, but they don’t wait for it to mature. They mainly focus on seed production for sale. If so, using the greenhouse for the production of hemp seeds s still the best alternative. As a farmer, you can always do this early in the year before even the outdoor growing season starts.
Farmers can breed and produce their own strains in addition to feminized seeds. This process can only occur in a controlled setting where there is light deprivation. Well, a greenhouse can facilitate this as well.
Besides, growing hemp in a greenhouse allows for the research and development of seeds. Farmers can sample different clones and then test new varieties. The science of breeding hemp is quite diverse, so there is a need for extensive research studies. The indoor space such as this helps with research because farmers can control and determine new environmental aspects that are right to cultivate new hemp strains.
Extended Growing Seasons
One thing about cultivating hemp in a greenhouse is that it allows for extended growing seasons. Farmers can start the cultivation process ahead of the season. This means that they don’t have to wait for the right outdoor environment. Seasonal greenhouse programs make it easier for farmers to have multiple crop cycles.
The fact that the plants can enjoy several weeks of protected extended spring growth creates a significant advantage in harvesting. The extra weeks allow for better maturation that leads to improved yields. The availability of extended growing seasons provides a protective and nurturing environment that most farmers want to avoid growing hemp plants outdoors.
Avoiding multiple harsh environmental variables leads to improved yields. So, farmers who usually use greenhouses are definitely a step ahead when it comes to harvesting. Greenhouses provide a thriving environment where growers can easily augment nature to optimize the growing conditions.
The presence of a consistent and desirable environment for the plants usually leads to better quality. Besides that, the rate of pests and diseases is usually reduced significantly. So, the environment leads to optimized yields with a better cannabinoid profile.
Reports from Ambary Gardens, one of the companies that produce full-spectrum CBD, indicates that LED-supplemented greenhouses can significantly increase yields. Well, the supplemented greenhouse will end up receiving the optimal amount of light throughout the year. Their yield results show an increase of over 40% yield of usable plant growth material. Besides that, there was also an increased level of consistency per plant yield.
This isn’t the only example that indicates greenhouses lead to optimized yields. Looking at the information provided by Howdyshell and Stay, their hemp cultivation reports indicate that while adding extra lighting comes with added expenses, the energy produced led to better efficiency, potency, and eventually optimized yields. Overall, we can confidently state that greenhouse helps to eliminate unwanted stress that may interfere with yields.
Pests are other everyday things that affect this cash crop. While growing hemp in a greenhouse doesn’t completely eliminate the pests and diseases, it actually reduces their presence. This is a controlled environment, so different control measures can be applied to limit the spread of infections.
The bad thing about the outdoor setup is that there are lots of pet’s competition. The bugs end up destroying a significant amount of yield because they are competing to feed. Greenhouse, on the other hand, is considered to be a clean growing space.
So, there is a minimal presence of pests or diseases. Additionally, the environment is usually set up in a way to favors plants more than anything else. This means that the window for pests and diseases to thrive is actually relatively narrow.
Increased Regulation Ahead
Some growers, as well as researchers, believe that the greenhouse environment offers better control. This leads to improved supply-chain traceability, something that has been challenging to do in the CBD industry.
As per the food and safety regulations, it’s essential to trace back the plant to the seed. This is important for large retail brands who usually want to know the source of the raw materials used in production.
Limited Space or Resources
Unlike the outdoors growers, farmers using greenhouse have limited growing space. If you cultivate hemp plants for fiber production, then cultivating them outdoors would make more sense. This is because the type of hemp used in the textile industry requires more land, and you need more plants.
Hemp plant that’s grown in a greenhouse is ideal for CBD-rich content. Besides that, it’s ideal for growing resin, terpene content, in addition to other types of cannabinoids. If you effectively maximize the greenhouse setting, then you can highly get benefit from it.
Is Hemp Grown Legally?
Previously, there were stringent laws regarding the cultivation of this crop. But is hemp grown legally now? No, it’s not, at least federally. After the passing of the Farm Bill of 2018, the prohibition ended. The US president signed the Farm Bill in December 2018. This removed the hemp plant, its seeds, and derivatives from the Controlled Substances Act.
But while hemp is federally legal in the US, understand that each state has its own laws. So, there is no strict obligation for every state to approve. For this process to be implemented, each state should submit its hemp program to the USDA for approval.
Note that once USDA approves it, then the state can proceed legally. Currently, only two states are holding out as the remaining 48 states have completed this process. They include Idaho and Mississippi. In the others, farmers can legally cultivate hemp crops.
But this isn’t an easier process because the farmer has to apply for an exclusive hemp growing license. If they don’t have it, then they’d be breaking the law should they be found cultivating hemp crop. Understand that industrial hemp’s legal limit is that it shouldn’t have more than 0.3% THC.
The Bottom Line
Industrial hemp is a versatile plant with lots of uses. However, its cultivation requires the farmer to be heavily invested in the growth of the plants. That’s why some opt to use greenhouses because they enhance the productivity of these crops. Generally, there are many significant advantages of growing hemp in a greenhouse. However, the farmer needs to exercise caution and have a careful plan. It’s also essential that they invest in the right equipment.