Winter is the time for contemplating what the heck happened last year, digesting that information, and buying seeds to do it all again.
For me the best part of hemp farming and gardening has always been the growing of the plants from seed. It is tough to beat the feeling of partnering with a tiny seed and helping it grow into a big beautiful plant.
Unfortunately for me, my love of starting seeds has led to me starting a whole lot more plants that I can ever harvest. I had a good crop of hemp flower in 2018 and there seemed to be an excellent demand for my hemp. So, in early 2019, I went all out. I began my over-planting in style and started seeds in February that filled up my office so completely that I had to abandon the office and use a new office space in the house.
By April 1st, I was ready to build a new greenhouse and fill it up with the steadily growing plants from February. So, I looked on The Old House’s YouTube channel and saw there simple design for a 10 foot by 20 foot greenhouse.
This greenhouse was easily put up. But, as soon as it was put up and I had it filled with plants and a heater, an early April snowstorm came. So I took the greenhouse down and filled up a temporary indoor space for my increasingly unhappy early hemp starts.
And after the storm passed and spring came a 2nd time and I had covered the greenhouse again and moved the plants back inside, a 2nd big snowstorm came…
Alas, this story is not a long tragedy of the February starts, or a long rant about the evils of April weather in Wisconsin, but a friendly reminder that last year was harder… by choice
The desire to make more money in hemp and expand my company, Wisconsin Hemp Flower, at the same rate as other hemp companies, led to me making my life much harder. Last year during the growing season, during the harvest, during the after harvest rush to get stuff done, I lost the ability to balance my life between hemp and non hemp stuff. Everything became about the hemp.
My goal for my hemp crop in 2020 is much simpler. I want to grow less than in 2019. I want to grow less total area than 2018. I want to be smaller.
A lot smaller.
So, there are currently no hemp plants being started this February, even though I was mighty tempted
Right now, as I plan my next growing year, I realize I want time in my life to enjoy farming hemp. I want time to be with the plants and get to know individual exceptional plants. I want to have time and energy to feed plants my fancy compost teas and probiotic brews. I want to treat my hemp the way others treat their Cannabis.
This winter was long and cold. And it was very snowy, so I have been looking forward to spring more than any other year I can remember. The winter is nice for planning, but the time for doing is much more exciting.
So far this spring, I have gotten up three small greenhouses. These greenhouses are small (10 feet by 20 feet) and inexpensive. Each greenhouse has approximately $300 worth of materials in them. And, each one was put up in a less than an afternoon by two people. A new helper, Sam, has been out at the farm a bunch and has assisted on two of the greenhouses. Hopefully, I will put up between 5-7 more greenhouses this spring.
The first three greenhouses are needed right away for the plants that I started a couple months ago and for all the seedlings I started and have rapidly growing. Right now I have over 2000 seeds started- more than enough to keep me busy.
I have generally had good luck at getting seedlings up and growing, but this spring I had relearn a unfortunate lesson. I had some seedlings that were just coming up after being planted about 4 days prior, and the day seemed fairly nice. Instead of putting them under indoor lights for a couple of days, I put 8 flats of seeds outside. While I was running errands in town, the wind picked up significantly and when I got back home the winds had killed over half the seedlings in 8 flats. A fairly expensive mistake, but at least I have a lot of extra seeds. I don’t plan on making this mistake again, but I will admit, I did the same thing last year and should have known better. Cannabis seedlings get leggy fast, and their stems are week and can break and die easily in cold windy conditions.
This year, I decided to try to grow a larger variety of seeds than I did last year. It will be fun to see some new genetics growing and to get to know some new plants.
Strains I am growing this year include:
Oregon CBD Seeds- Elektra, Suver Haze, and Lifter
Industrial Seeds- Umpqua and Rouge
Eugenius- Remission, Bleugenius, and Afternoon Delight
Boring Hemp Company- T2
And, I am looking at getting between 1-4 varieties of clones I can find space in my gardens and in my budget. I have talked a little with Grohub Farm, Cream City Wellness, and Benjamin Grant. Each company has some good choices, but clones are around $4-6 and have some significant disadvantages in addition to the costs. Diseases and pests from other people’s gardens can arrive in my garden when using clones. Also, clones don’t always have the vigor of seed grown plants, and the root systems tend to be shallower. A shallow root system can cause a plant to tip over when they are heavy with flower in the fall and there are high winds.
The reason I am growing so many varieties is that I am hoping to get people a little bit more excited about my company and to retail more of the strains on my website, wisconsinhempflower.com . It isn’t easy to stand out in hemp right now, so I hope to offer more variety of high quality strains than other vendors.
And, as part of my plans of generating a little more excitement, I have decided to do a small scale light deprivation system using small plants and small greenhouses in order to have some flower available well before this fall. By decreasing the amount of light the plants receive, the plants will begin flowering and finish flowering in the summer as long as they are receiving less than 14 hours a day of light.
In the next month, there is a lot of things to do to get the fields ready for transplanting. Compost is on its way, and the spreading will begin soon. Lime also needs to get spread to add calcium and magnesium and “sweeten the soil” by increasing the ph. After these are spread both the compost and the lime will be lightly tilled into the soil. After that, a small amount of additional compost will be added to the surface. Then, the fields will be ready for planting! Hard to believe that in about a month things will be ready for all my seedlings!
Farm April 11th
This is my main field for this year.
After a beautiful snowy winter, spring approaches quickly. This winter I have spent a lot of my time thinking, planning, and waiting for signs of spring to come. And now the signs are here in abundance. For me, the time of contemplation is ending and the time of action is beginning. Seeds will be started in abundance in the coming weeks. My first greenhouse will be up and ready to go soon, and more greenhouses are on the way.
As part of my contemplation on last year and this coming year, I have decided to define myself as part of a few different types of alternative organic agriculture that I support and have been practicing for some time and want to continue to practice more extensively in the future.
First of all, I am a probiotic farmer. Probiotic farming is farming that aims to add beneficial organisms to the soil in order to make the soil healthy. Over the winter, I joined the Probiotic Farmer’s Alliance on Facebook and realized that the growers there and I are kindred spirits.
Many of the PFA practices are simple and effective. Actively aerated compost tea has always been a favorite input of mine. It is simple and I have seen the results when used a few times or more on plants. Compost tea is a simple as it sounds. Also, making anaerobic fermented plant teas from nettles growing on the farm has been another beneficial practice that I have seen excellent results from over the years.
Probiotic farmers are using the best organic practices from a variety of alternative organic practices and bringing them together under a label that is inclusive and supportive. Many of the practices come from Korean Natural Farming and its low cost Korean alternative JADAM farming, but there are also ideas from many other farming practices that fit under PFA label. This year I will be making many new plant teas and microbial potions based on their techniques.
I hope that by adding lots of microbial life and locally produced natural inputs, I can get the soil to be more alive and have significantly more nutrient cycling that I can get by just adding compost. Our soil is very sandy and dries out quickly. As soon as the soil is dry, nearly all the life in the soil becomes dormant or dies. By regularly adding small amounts of microbial mixtures during watering, I will be reinoculating the dry soil with abundant life. The abundant life in the soil lives and dies, and as it goes through its life processes, makes more nutrients available to the plants.
The other label that I feel comfortable applying to my farming practices is that I am a regenerative agriculture practitioner. Sustainability implies that one is trying to maintain the maintain the health of the environment that they live and farm in. I, on the other hand, want to significantly improve the areas that I use for agriculture by making sure that I leave the land better off than how I found it. I want space for mammals, insects, and micro wildlife to thrive in my gardens. Making the soil more fertile over time sounds better to me, because most soils are not as healthy as they could be.
Both probiotic farming and regenerative agriculture are not religions, but to me and many others they are important spiritual practices. Some people, like me, get more out of trying to partner with nature that they do out of other types of spiritual practices that focus on an impersonal relationship with the great mysteries out there.
I don’t expect incredible results, but I do expect that I will grow a little myself by getting to spend time in nature participating in something I love. I will feel the rain and crave it like a dry plant in the desert. I will see the seasons change and know that time moves like the river. There is no beginning to this and no end to this. It is my way of life. I hope some other people out there realize that they too should consider partnering with nature and learn about some of the best practices in organic farming.
In the first photo is Oriental Herbal Nutrient preparation I am making based on Korean Natural Farming. The second photo is my first batch of Fermented Plant Juice made using fresh hemp leaves.
There has been a lot to think about and consider after my first year of hemp farming. If I could have done things differently and accurately predicted the future, I would have done a lot better financially. But, the best I can do right now is to fix the things I can fix and run a better ship next year! And believe me, I am so excited for next year!!!
The number one lesson I learned from hemp farming is that it is a lot more work than I expected to harvest the material. It is not easy to get plants harvested and processed. It took a lot of time and hard work. Many hemp farmers are looking to mechanize and produce large amounts of biomass. But, for me, mechanization is not really an option.
I am trying to produce a high quality hemp flower for sale on my website. But, in order to do this, the hemp plants must be treated very gently. They can’t be thrown around my machines and put into piles to be processed without destroying terpenes and overall quality.
I have been very proud to receive so many good reviews from the premium flower that I have for sale. I could not have done this if my harvesting process is mechanized. My only option if I want to get bigger next year is to figure out how to gently move large amounts of plants and to dry them without destroying their quality. This is going to be very important if I want to get bigger.
The second big lesson that I learned is that I need to water my plants regularly in order for them to succeed here in Western Wisconsin. The only land I could use this year was just not able to be watered properly. Next year, most everything I plant will be watered. This will add a lot of money to the costs of planting, and it will take a lot of time to do the water. But, it will make me sleep a lot better to know the plants are getting water even if there are drought conditions.
Another big lesson that I have learned from other hemp farmers and farming in general is that farming costs a lot more money than you think it is going to and the profits are smaller than I expected. In hemp farming you are going to have to spend at least $2000 an acre for seeds and that is just the beginning. It costs more for clones ($10,000), so how is someone going to get rich if they have to go broke first just getting the plants in the ground?
I talked with a bunch of hemp farmers. I’m sure some made good money, but others (like me) are just getting by hemp farming. In any business it’s tough to make money the first year, but in hemp farming it isn’t any easier. It’s a lot easier to lose a lot of money hemp farming than it is to get rich.
If someone has great farmland, that’s probably the number one factor helping them succeed. Unfortunately for me, the land that I choose to use has very low fertility and needs a lot of inputs in order to grow big plants. But, organic inputs are very expensive and need to be applied in mass.
The space needed for harvesting is also very expensive. Luckily for me, my family is letting me use some space for drying. But, this space needs to be renovated and repaired in order for it to work. Everyone I talked to said that they needed more space. And, if it takes up that much space, then you need more help to get it hung up and processed.
So, why after all these learning experiences, do I want to do this again? I think that those who choose this life really don’t have any other life they would prefer to be living. I like being excited about growing plants, starting plants, smelling like hemp, and sweating my ass off harvesting plants. Hemp is a way of life for me. It is who I am, and it is what I do.
I really love hemp farming and cbd has changed my life for the better. Cbd is great for helping me stay emotionally level and is great for keeping me happier. The plants make me happy and the cbd in the plant’s along with the other cannabinoids also chemically helps to keep me feeling better. There are no other plants that I know that help me so much.
I got a lot done in the last couple of weeks, and today was kind of a milestone in my garden journey. Things are pretty much done for the year in the gardens.
In order to finish up the little garden with the big plants, I needed to remove as much biomass as I could for processing, mow the plants down with a brush hog attachment on a tractor, and pull up the black plastic mulch.
In the big field with the smaller plants, I did manage to get almost all the good flowers out and dried. I had been taking all the good flowers that I didn’t have room for drying and freezing them for future bubble hash processing.
In the garden with the big plants, I didn’t have time to get all the good flowers out for freezing. But, luckily for me, the plants dried up in the frosty dry October weather, and I was able to get a lot more biomass. This biomass is not for smoking or making bubble hash. I will be working with another Wisconsin processor to make this material into CBD oil for future products that I will be making to help people.
Getting out the biomass was pretty exciting, because I had given up on that material due to the weather. I had been disappointed in not being able to get everything out of the fields. But, after removing the biomass, frozen flowers, and good smokeable flower, I really feel like I got nearly everything out of the fields.
I had at different times of the year been worried about getting too little or even too much material out. Hemp farming isn’t as easy to plan for as other crops. I was there for all of the processing so far. I have had help on many days but not all. This hemp stuff is hard work, dusty work, and not as glamorous as it may appear. I am glad I got into it, but it was more work than I expected.
But, it is satisfying work. At the end of the day, I know I did my best to produce an actual product of high quality that people like. The best flowers are really good. My friends and I have really enjoyed them.
I got my second review a few days ago, and I want to post it. It is great to share my flowers and get such positive feedback.
Hemp Bud Forum really liked my flowers!!
Wisconsin Hemp Bud CBD
Greetings HBF friends, welcome back to our cozy hemp abode. Today we will be reviewing Suver Haze from Wisconsin Hemp Flower. For those of you that don’t know, this company is owned by Hemp Bud Forum member Luke Heidt. He is the writer behind Luke’s Hemp, chronicling his journey during Wisconsin’s Grower Pilot Program. It is an excellent read for anyone aspiring to get in the field (haha, yes pun intended) and offers some insight into the whole process. Now let’s take a look at this lovely flower.
These tasty nuggets of cannabis sativa have a great cure on them. Thanks to a top notch trim job, the skunky aromas of this hemp flower are very loud. These organically grown flowers shimmer and shine because they are loaded with trichomes. Very sticky buds, a few of them stuck to my fingers as I rolled my first joint.
I usually consume my hemp flower in a dry herb vaporizer but for this strain I chose to blaze it up. The nugs were so sticky and pungent I believed a fat joint was in order. A very smooth and pleasant smoking experience occurred and I became relaxed. The cannabinoids along with skunky terpenes created a blissful entourage.
Price Vs Value
Wisconsin Hemp Flower has a price point of $40 per quarter ounce. What a lovely deal compared to some vendors who charge more than that for an 8th of an ounce. For those that like to do extractions WHF has a deal where you can get popcorn buds and trim for $100 per ounce. Great value for organic hand trimmed craft cannabis.
I love this batch of freshly harvested hemp flower. They did a very nice job considering it was done on a smaller scale production wise. There were 2 small batches harvested so I urge readers to go and give them a try. I was not dissapointed and I am willing to bet that you won’t be either. Thanks for joining us today, until next time PLUR
Here is the text of my review of my hemp from MJGeeks.com check out the full review here complete with full color and very nice pictures.
Lifter and Suver Haze from WisconsinHempFlower.com
Posted on October 12, 2018 by Bud J
Today, I’m going to be reviewing 2 brand new strains called Lifter and Suver Haze from a brand new seller, WisconsinHempFlower.com.
As far as I know, these are new strains developed by Oregon CBD and being grown by several different growers this year.
Strains: Lifter and Suver Haze
Price: $40 per 1/4 ounce or $100 for 1 ounce.
— Lifter -10/10 – Very sweet. Skunky. fuel/gas – especially after grinding
— Suver Haze – 10/10 – Citrus. Sweet. Skunky, fuel/gas
A close up shot of Lifter
Even closer shot of Lifter
A closeup shot of Suver Haze
Even closer shot of Suver Haze
Usually, I give a score for the initial smell and another for after grinding, but the cure on this flower is so good that the initial smell is one of the best I’ve ever smelled. Super intense and fresh.
— Lifter -8/10
— Suver Haze – 7/10
— Lifter -7/10
— Suver Haze – 8/10
I vaped both of these with my Arizer Argo on around 370 F.
Terpenes are very intense and tasty. This is personal preference of course, but I really enjoyed both strains.
I don’t have test results for this yet, but I’m guessing the cannabinoid content is pretty high because vape sessions lasted quite a while. Lots of vapor produced.
Both strains were amazing for anxiety. Vaping about 1/3 gram instantly relaxes me.
At $40 per 1/4 ounce and especially $100 per ounce, the price is EXTREMELY good.
Overall Grade A+
Just a heads up. Luke, the owner and operator of WisconsinHempFlower.com is just getting started, and only grew a very small crop of hemp this year. I think he said like 10 LBS of each. So if you are interested, don’t delay. Or you’ll have to wait till next year.