Indoor Vs. Outdoor
When considering how you are going to setup your Hemp CBD farm, the question of indoor vs. outdoor might come to mind. For this discussion indoor methods would refer to a greenhouse structure with a controlled environment. Both of these options have their share of pros and cons.
One of the best things about growing indoors is an ability to control the growing environment. You can maintain humidity, temperature, hours of light, and all the other factors that can optimize plant growth. With this control you can take advantage of shorter growing times and produce the best flower/oil possible. You can also have as many crops as you like each year by creating staggered stages of development and producing year-round.
These advantages come with some disadvantages, like a higher initial investment cost to setup the structure, lighting, and heating/cooling systems than outdoor cultivation facilities. Indoor growing operations also mean greater upkeep than outdoor. Hemp is a finicky plant, and things like temperature, light quality, and humidity can affect your plants. Having control over the growing process can help you produce a higher-quality product, but with a lot of oversight and attention to detail.
The greatest benefit to growing your crop outdoors is the lower initial investment. Hemp can be grown outdoors with simply sunlight and water. Nothing can replace the power of the sun, and if you live in the right area of the world, you can more or less put the plants in the ground and let them do their thing. The great outdoors also provides more space for plants to expand, generating a larger crop. Some people feel that sunlight produces more flavorful flower.
With all the open space there are a few more risks than an indoor crop. Hemp requires good soils and human assistance to fight off blight and pests, just like any other crop in an outdoor environment. Just like tomatoes, there are plenty of pest who think your Hemp crop is delicious! Planting in a container or raised beds (like row crops) with the right soils will help mitigate some of those issues, but your crop is still exposed to the elements. Hemp requires a lot of water to grow properly, and growing outdoors means you must rely on the weather to maintain your crop. A hard frost or a drought could cause you problems, as could a pest infestation or a downpour. If you wind up in a drought situation, you had better hope your crop is near a water source or you’ll find yourself lugging a lot of watering cans. An irrigation system can help mitigate this issue, but adds to the initial investment.
Which ever option you choose we have the experience and knowledge to help you get started. Check out our consulting services for further help...
LIGHT IS The KeY
To ensure the highest yield of resinous Hemp flowers or cannabinoids, full sunlight should be able to shine on all parts of the plant. Planting Hemp as a row crop is the best way to achieve this, but the spacing of your plants, mulch bed rows and pathways will determine how much light each plant receives and the space you have available to walk between the rows. Flowers that do not receive much light end up lighter in color, density, and yield of cannabinoids.
We have included some examples of what a field would look like planted in rows of 4 foot, 5 foot, and 6 foot centers. In determining which is the best for you, you will need to consider the growth habits of the strain or variety of Hemp you have chosen to grow. For example, the width of a fully grown Hemp plant, ready for harvest can vary from 3ft - 5ft+ in diameter.
One acre is equal to 43,650 square feet and for visual effect we have used a square acre (actual measurement is 208.71 ft x 208.71 ft, but for ease we used 208 ft x 208 ft). The examples show the field planted full of crops end to end, but when laying out an actual field you have to make adjustments for fences, roads, drainages, buildings, ponds, etc. A triangular system was chosen to layout the fields, where plants are placed midway between the plant in the adjoining row. This method provides increased open space for sunlight as well as 15% higher plant density per acre than a square or rectangular system layout.
4 FOOT CENTERS
Setting up your field with 4 foot centers is best used when planting late in the season or growing strains that are more compact and mature quickly.
This layout gives you 24 inch mulch bed rows to plant in with 24 inch pathways for walking between the plants. At these dimensions you will have approximately 52 mulch bed rows and 52 pathways. Three foot wide plants would do best with this layout, as four foot wide plants would make it difficult to walk in the pathways.
52 rows and 52 plants in each row, equals 2,704 plants.
5 foot centers is most the commonly used layout by growers. As this accommodates the average size of the majority of strains.
This layout gives you 36 inch mulch bed rows (maximum size using 60 inch plastic mulch) to plant in with 24 inch pathways for walking between the plants. At these dimensions you will have approximately 41 mulch bed rows and 41 pathways. Four foot wide plants would do best with this layout, as five foot wide plants would make it difficult to walk in the pathways.
41 rows and 41 plants in each row, equals 1,681 plants. Most growers estimate 1,500 plants per acre when estimating yields.
5 FOOT CENTERS
6 FOOT CENTERS
Planting with 6 foot centers provides the most space for the pathways to walk down between the rows.
This layout gives you 36 inch mulch bed rows to plant in with 36 inch pathways for walking between the plants. At these dimensions you will have approximately 34 mulch bed rows and 34 pathways. Even if the plants would grow to a width of five feet there would be plenty of space to walk the pathways.
34 rows and 34 plants in each row, equals 1,156 plants.
Here's a chart that helps you to compare the options...
Wether you are just planning your future farm or need help working the kinks out of an existing operation, we have over a decade of experience in the Cannabis and Horticultural Industries to guide you in the right direction. Fill out the contact form below to setup and appointment to talk with us, or clink the link to learn more about our consulting services...