Stage 1: Planting & Germination
As with any crop, planting the seed successfully is pivotal to sustained growth. To ensure your plant starts on the right track, make sure your growing medium is prepared in a way that will sustain the life of the seed. This involves ensuring that the soil has an adequate pH level — usually between 6 and 7.5 — and is grown in the conditions listed above that are conducive to a healthy growth cycle.
The initial growth and germination of the seed is often performed in peat plugs, thus encouraging structured growth while still making it easy to transport. During this stage, it is important to make sure that your soil remains moist without saturating the plant and essentially drowning the young seedlings. In general, expect seeds to be germinated within two weeks, at which point the roots will begin to strengthen in the soil and the actual seedling will begin to peak through the soil.
Stage 2: Seedling
Now that the plant has begun collecting UV rays, you will notice continued growth of larger and larger leaves. The seedling stage typically lasts two to three weeks, and its leaves are classified by producing no more than seven blades per leaf. It is crucial to maintain an ideal growing environment during this stage that is not too harsh on the plant, thus setting it up for successful growth in the future.
To do so, maintain moist yet unsaturated soil and ensure the plant receives ample light while avoiding prolonged exposure to harsh UV lights. A relatively humid environment is also conducive to successful growth in the seedling stage.
Stage 3: Vegetative Growth
The vegetative, or “veg,” stage is when you’ll likely notice the biggest growth from your plant. Though it usually lasts between two and eight weeks, this stage of growth can extend all the way up to 16 weeks, depending on the growing environment. Not only will you notice a substantial amount of leaves sprouting, you’ll also see the plant itself begin to elongate. As more and more leaves begin to grow, it’s important to perform maintenance on the plant, as you would a normal shrub or tree. Prune the plant to safely remove any inactive nodes which will hinder the glowering growth.
Since this stage of hemp production is when the most growth happens, it’s important to ensure your plant is supported with proper nutrients and growing conditions. As opposed to the relatively humid environment that seedlings thrive in, the veg stage is best operated in drier air ith access to direct sunlight.
Stage 4: Flowering
As one of the most exciting stages of growth, the flowering stage begins to produce the buds we’re all looking for. This is when cultivators begin to see the fruits of their labor just ahead of the final harvest. The most important change to keep in mind during the flower is the change in light.
As opposed to the previous stages which required between 18 and 24 hours of light exposure, the flowering stage requires a strict 12 hours of light paired with 12 hours of darkness. If you’re growing outside, this will naturally occur in September and October, as the complete flowering stage typically lasts six to eight weeks. If, on the other hand, you’re still growing indoors, it’s crucial to maintain the 12/12 cycle to help ensure the best results possible. Again, it’s vital to ensure your plants receive the proper nutrients throughout the flower.
Stage 5: Harvesting
At long last, your hemp is ready to be harvested! If you abided by the proper requirements for soil, water, sunlight, pruning, and nutrients, your plant should be rich with dense buds. You’ll know it’s time to harvest when the small white buds from the flowering stage become larger and reddish-orange in color.