freshly transplanted Cherry Wine hemp plant
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Summer Solstice Hemp Report

Most of the hemp seedlings have been transplanted from their nursery pots into their final homes in the ground. With summer solstice coming up this week, everything is right on schedule. The young plants were just starting to outgrow their pots so they’re very happy to be in the earth now where their roots can range far and wide. The next 6-8 weeks of midsummer is the heart of the hemp’s “vegetative phase” when they grow rapidly and set themselves up for the critical flowering phase.

It’s been a good spring for growing hemp overall, a bit dry for a few weeks in May but then we got some soaking rain in early June to thoroughly moisten the ground. The brook is looking a bit low, even after the rain, and a serious hot spell is supposed to begin tomorrow and last through the week. The hemp will be fine as long as the root zone doesn’t dry out, but they’re heavily mulched and I’ll probably irrigate in the early morning on any scorching hot days.

Cherry Wine hemp plant a few days after transplanting
This Cherry Wine hemp seedling was just transplanted from its nursery pot into the ground, where it will be much happier and should grow to a big wide 7-foot-tall bush. The mulch helps retain moisture in the soil and creates an ideal habitat for all kinds of small critters and soil life.

With the longest day of the year coming up later this week, these fast-growing plants will soak as much sun as they can get to help power their growth through the summer. It won’t be until August before the nights start getting long enough to trigger the flowering stage.

This year I’m experimenting with a living mulch–mostly alfalfa–although I’ve also added some regular mulch on top just to try and keep the soil moist and promote a healthy soil ecosystem. No tilling, the soil beneath the organic alfalfa cover crop was simply loosened up with a broadfork to help make it easier for the hemp roots to expand.

frog beneath hemp plant
Notice the visitor on the right-hand side? He’s pretty well-camouflaged and stayed perfectly stock still while observed. Haven’t seem frogs among the hemp before but I love having a healthy ecosystem of critters (as long as they don’t go after the hemp!).

Moving the hemp seedlings from nursery pots to the ground is a big milestone in the season and I’m happy with the timing–too early and you risk frost, too late and the plants have less time in the ground to grow big and strong before flowering happens. Now we just need lots of sun, some periodic soaking rain, and no pests. With some work and a little good fortune we should have some big healthy plants ready to produce those big beautiful flowers.

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