Harvest is Coming!! My Hemp is Fit For Commerce

It’s been a crazy busy time for me. The dry times have ended and we got 7 inches of rain the last two weeks. The plants have been surprisingly happy and are just about to be harvested. Sunday, September 9th is the first day I’ll have my small crew together. David and Zach are young friends from Arizona on their way up to help with harvest. I also have hope to have some help from other friends and family. It will be fun at to get my trim camp going.

Two weeks ago my fields were tested, and they passed THC compliance testing and I was issued my fit for commerce certificates. That feels really good! Oregon CBD Seeds really got me some good seeds, and I couldn’t have gotten here without them. I’ve heard some stories about other people’s hemp being “hot” or too high in THC, having tons of hermies and males, or just not finishing in our climate. My plants are legal, ripe, and I only had 2 out of 2100 not be true females. I had one male and one hermie.

Before we get harvesting and drying, I’ve been preparing processing space and trying to navigate into the world of commerce. I have a long time friend, Max, who is helping getting us started on a business plan to share this hemp with the world. I setup a Facebook page, “Wisconsin Hemp Flower and CBD Dispensary” and have been looking at retail space. Check me out on there if you want to follow my business as it grows.

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In order to get ready for processing, I had to renovate our family farm’s Milk House and barn to get ready. The milk house got the works. I tiled it, patched it, painted it, got a window in, and electric put back in. It’s now a really nice space for us to work in and just got completed yesterday. The drying room is under construction. Concrete is being poured today and walls are going up on Sunday, if possible.

Anybody involved in cannabis knows growing just part of the process. Harvesting,drying, and processing is still half the work. Luckily, I am ready to hit the ground running.

Last weekend, we had a garden party at the Garden. It was really nice to enjoy the plants and do a little preharvest deleafing to make the airflow better for all the pretty buds.

The Suver Haze just looks great. About 1/3 are fully ripe and ready to go. The rest are getting close The tops will be removed, lightly trimmed and dried for the hemp flower market. In about two weeks, I should have a lot of inventory ready to go. All in all, I hope to be mostly done harvesting by the end of the month.

The big field is finally looking like I hoped it would. The plants are smaller but solid and nice. Some of the plant did amazing considering they were never watered or fertilized and are just growing in homemade compost with a little lime.

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I feel really blessed to have completed the growing process and to be moving on the next stages! I wish I had more time to post, and I look forward to a page of budshots!

Plants Are Starting to Flower/ Tale of Two Gardens

It has been a learning experience growing hemp. Having two fields has given me a chance to experiment and see how two different fields respond to becoming farm land again. Also, it has been humbling to need rain and to see plants dry and thirsty. It has also been satisfying to get rain when we really needed it. Growing hemp has been a really good part of my life.

The good news is that the garden is doing great. It has access to water, deeper soil, and had more organic material added to it in the spring. In addition to these benefits, it has also received more rain at critical moments this year. The plants in the garden are mostly 4-6 feet tall. The were suffering from being do dry in July, but I was able to lightly water and after the most recent rains, they are looking great. All the plants in the garden are Suver Haze from Oregon CBD Seeds. They are just starting to flower. I expect them to finish some time in late September.

My big field is not looking so good. This site is larger, but the plants are much smaller. They had a smaller amount of compost added to them and no turkey manure, and they have consistently gotten a little less rain than they needed for the last couple months. The plants in the big field never really had the vigor and vitality that was present in the garden. Also, this field didn’t have access to water. A small amount of water at the right time would have really increased the yield in the field. The plants in the big field are also just starting to flower.

If I had to guess, I would say that the garden will yield as much or possibly much more flower material than the big field. Surely, there is a lesson in this conclusion that I hope I don’t have to learn twice. If I would have added three times as much compost to 1/3 of the big field, I might have yielded as much or more than having the whole field lightly composted. And, it would have been easier to maintain. High cbd hemp is a heavy feeder and wants a lot of nutrients and water to reach optimal growth.

It has been difficult seeing one garden do so well and another just doing ok. June and July were dry months and our sandy soils just don’t have enough life in them to thrive in dry years. In the future, I really would like to have water access for all my hemp gardens.

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Things are growing pretty well right now

It’s been about three weeks since I lasted posted, and I can’t believe how quickly things have grown in the garden. Looking back at the pictures from last month, I can really see how much things are changing.

Its been a challenging three weeks. Early in June, we got nearly 5 inches of rain. Both the garden and the big field really responded to the moisture and got growing. But, since then we have only gotten a few inches of rain total in the last month and are at near drought conditions.

The dry weather has really allowed me to see the differences in the plots. Both sites are very sandy and don’t hold much moisture. But, the garden holds a lot more moisture and has more fertility. Also the plants in the garden were planted about 10 days earlier and started about 10 days earlier than those in the field. They plants in the garden has really thrived even with the reduced moisture, but the unfortunately, I can see now that the big field needs more rain than we received to get the plants growing fast.

In the pictures, you can see that the garden looks great. Plants are generally waist high to five feet high with many branches and look good. The plants in the big field are still mostly around knee high and look are are considerably less lush.

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The good news is that in the last 24 hours we have received over an inch of rain and I expect the growth rate to pick up on the field and explode in the garden.

I am just now starting to see the first plants about to transition to flowering. This is a critical time in the growth, so a good week will really help to boost them in early flowering.

I haven’t decided if I will take a bunch of clones, but now would be the time. I spent some time yesterday trying to find the best plants in the garden. I haven’t found one yet with incredible growth and a special terpene profile, if I find that I’ll keep her for next year. It’s been fun to smell a lot of plants and to take a look and see which ones stand out. The nicest plants are going to be huge!

compost pile for next year- this is where the magic happens!
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Things are looking good

I can’t complain, things are looking too bright for that! Plants are in the ground and growing like weeds.

The big field is looking very nice. Nearly all of the 1400 transplants took and are regrowing. It was wet when I was planting and that really helped them take off. Growth slowed down after the first week and things dried out and were hot. Thankfully, we got nearly 3 inches of rain last night in a series of thunderstorms that rolled through western Wisconsin.

The value of a heavy rain is immense. It was just getting dry and growth was slowing down, and now, there is going to be an intense week or two of good growth. And, in two weeks these ladies are going to be huge! Also, it completely reduces my stress levels for awhile and gives me time to blog.

In the smaller garden, I added compost tea and nettle tea to the plants in 10 of the rows. I would like to continue to add compost tea about once a week for the rest of the season. It’s nice to take compost, nettles, organic unsulfured molasses and add an air stone to it in a 5 gallon bucket of water. The tea comes alive and bubbles and is full of good things that feed the soil.

In addition to compost tea made from my parent’s compost, I am using local nettles to make nettle tea. After reading about nettle tea online and noticing the absolute over abundance of nettles on the farm, I’ve been filling 5 gallon buckets of the stingy plant and then letting them sit covered in water for a few weeks. This stuff smells bad to most people. Ok, bad may not be strong enough. Its very strong! I’ve used this stuff a couple years and it really helps.

I added a few videos this time to show what’s going on out there and one silly one of me in the rain. This was right at the beginning of the storms and it made me feel good to see and smell some good rain coming down.

The first two videos are the garden and the last two are the field.

Quick update on the Garden

The garden was planted a few weeks ago and after a nice week of mild weather the plants are rocking! About 10-20% are still lagging behind, but the biggest plants are up to nearly a foot tall. It feels good to see them get ahead. I haven’t taken photos in a few days, but the growth is very nice.

I don’t expect these plant to turn into trees, but I do want to see them reach their potential. In about a week, I will start watering them with a mild compost tea and nettle tea. I want to give them natural boosts a few times a month and it should bump up their growth a little.

I got the Big Field Planted with 1400 High CBD Hemp Plants

1st, I couldn’t have done this wothout friends, family and support from the community and ma nature. I kinda made the blog about me, but it took a lot more than just my effort to make this happen. I feel lucky today for everything that has gone right.

I now have my two legal and DATCP licensed Wisconsin hemp plots planted with a total of about 2100 plants. It was a lot of work and it really tired me out. It was hard on my knees, but I needed some yoga in my life.

But, it feels good to have so many plants in the ground and to see them take off so quickly. I am excited to see them in a few weeks!!

The big field was more challenging to plant due to its larger size. I had some help with the initial tiling and clearing. And my dad helped a lot with the manure spreading, final tiling, and straw spreading. Also, a couple of friends helped a bit and spread some enthusiasm that kept me going. It took about 16 times down the 300 foot field to hand plant all the seedlings.

I really got a lot of help as well from the weather. There has been off and on rain and mild temperatures since I started planting a week ago. The newly planted seedlings are much happier than the seedlings that were planted at the garden.

In my other plot, the garden, the plastic mulch and dry and very hot weather, then extremely wet conditions led to about 10% of the seedlings dying in the first week. Also, the many inches of rain at the end of planting the garden left them weakened and it took a week to bounce back. But, after a pleasant and needed week of mild weather the garden plot is mostly growing very rapidly.

The seedlings in the field look much happier after their transplanting. Most of them are lightly covered in straw mulch. I do worry quite a bit about the deer and turkeys eating the plants but there hasn’t been any damage yet.

I really hope that this hemp helps a lot of people and maybe some animals. It means a lot to me to work hard and to try to provide the best quality medicine possible. I want my blog to be an example of how a small scale hemp farmer gets by. I don’t expect to get rich or even make a lot of money. But, I do expect to help a lot of people and provide cbd products of the highest quality at a competitive price. I hope to provide regular updates now that the plants are in the ground.

If anybody has any questions, feel free to ask.

Hemp Garden Planted With 700 Seedlings

I haven’t had much time for blogging, but I did finish planting my first hemp garden a couple days ago. Over a week or so, I got 700 high cbd plants in the ground with a little help from some friends.

Also, some friends helped plant a perimeter fence of sunflowers all the way around the garden. The sunflowers were donated by friends and we had a nice time planting. I am very excited to see how the sunflowers end up growing

It took a lot more effort than I expected to get the first garden planted. I’m sure one of the rules of farming is to expect things to be harder than you expect.

There were dry conditions the first few days of planting, so I had to spend a lot of time watering. Getting a proper hose watering system with a long reaching watering ended up saving a lot of time .Finally in the middle of the week, things got a little better and we got some good rain.

By the Memorial Day weekend about 400 plants were in the ground and starting to look a little happier. My friend’s who own the property and their daughter had a celebration on Saturday. We ate bbq and enjoyed some time working together to make the property and the hemp garden look its best.

It was really nice to have some help watering and digging holes. It was hot, humid, and hard to be comfortable outside for most of us. It really has seemed like we went straight from winter to summer this year.

At the end of the day on Saturday, I mostly wanted to just lay down.

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I got My License and Started Some Seeds

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I’ve been very busy in the gardens, and I got some good news a few days ago. My license came in the mail!! Yes! I had been waiting and waiting and hoping to see my license and it finally came.

It was a long month of waiting to hear from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Products, and Trade, but it feels good to actually have a license to grow hemp.

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And to celebrate, I started some seeds! In this picture I am starting 720 seeds of Elektra.

I am growing Oregon CBD Seed’s Lifter, Elektra, and Suver Haze. You can check them out on the link below.
http://www.oregoncbdseeds.com/seeds/

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The Garden

The first space I’d like to share about is the Garden. The Garden is old Wisconsin farm land that hasn’t been tilled or used for farming for 25 or more years. Its a good space for organic gardening. I found this space with the help of a friend from the neighborhood who really helped navigate renting it from her family and will be around a bunch to see how it all turn out. It meant a lot to me to locate this space.

The garden had very tough sod that I had to break up using a rototiller in order to get started. The poor rototiller had a tough time breaking it up, but it did work!

The quack grass clogged the rototiller so much that I had to clean it out every few passes down the rows. This took a lot more time and effort than I had anticipated. Right before tilling, I added 600 pounds of dusty barn lime by hand. Barn lime is ground up limestone containing calcium and magnesium and is a clean, local, organic material.

Next, I began hauling four truck loads of turkey manure from a local farmer that had been sitting out all winter. The manure smelled strongly but should work well with the aged cow compost that I am using. This turkey manure came via a friend and was greatly appreciated!

After applying lime and turkey manure, I began hauling truckloads of aged cow manure compost and a little horse compost from my family’s farm. Most of the compost I used is really old stuff mixed with kinda old stuff. It works really well in high amounts in our veggie gardens, but I could only apply about 1/3 as much to the hemp garden. Along with the turkey manure, it should be enough for strong plants but not enough nutrients for huge plants like you see out west.

For the garden, I chose to make 6 foot wide rows that will be covered with landscaping fabric and have double rows of hemp planted in them. Alongside the covered rows will be 4 feet of uncovered rows to walk in and give space to the plants. It took about 1.5 truckloads of cow compost per 80-90 foot row and 1/3 a truck load of turkey manure per row.

The soil in the garden is good for the area, but it is very poor farmland due to its high sand content and low content of organic materials. Also, it is very low in calcium has a PH below 6. The limestone should help with adding some calcium and bumping up the PH a little.

The biggest possible yield is not my goal, and I won’t be trying to push these plants too hard. Instead, I will try to work with the soil and organic nutrients that I have available locally and grow more plants per square foot that the bigger growers out west are doing. I will be applying some compost tea and plant teas later in the year to add some boost to the plants.

I ended up with 10 full size rows that are about 80-90 feet long on average and 6 shorter 40 foot rows. Right now, I have only 4 short rows left to cover with cow compost and then I’ll be ready to add landscaping fabric to the whole garden.

Today has been wet again, so I decided to get a little bit more done in town and pick up another 700 lbs of barn lime for the Field plot which is much larger. Hopefully this weekend or so, I’ll have finished adding compost and can get started on adding the landscaping fabric to the amended rows.

Welcome to Luke’s Hemp

Hello, I am starting a blog to share my experiences growing hemp in Wisconsin in 2018 under the Wisconsin Grower’s Pilot Program.  Most people who are using hemp are sourcing it from big companies and there is no way to know where that hemp was grown or how it was grown.  This blog is about how my hemp is grown, and hopefully, people will get interested in my garden and see that small scale non-chemical farming of hemp is possible and preferable to mass produced hemp.

For me, one of the most important parts of cbd hemp farming is to produce a crop that is safe for people and animals to consume. The hemp I grow is not only going to be chemical free, it will also have the love and attention to detail needed to be the helping and healing herb people need right now. Profit is not the most important thing to me. Creating beauty and helping people is my highest priority. I want my hemp to taste and smell like 2018 in Western Wisconsin.

There is a lot of work to be done to get the fields in shape for this year. I’ve already gotten started, but there is a lot left to do. Join me and see how it grows.

So far, I have sent in my Grower’s and Processor’s Licence applications and am waiting to hear back from the state.  They cashed my check three weeks ago, and this week asked for a little more information to complete my application.  I expect to get my license in the next week and start seeds immediately after receiving my license.

I have rented two pieces of land. Both are being converted from wild spaces to cultivated spaces.  “The Garden” is about 1/3 acre and will be grown in the style of organic veggie gardening that I am familiar with and have practiced for years.  It will be mostly covered in landscape fabric and have access to irrigation and have about 750 plants.  This will be a very pretty garden and should be easy to maintain.  I found this space with the help of a friend from school.  I have been doing most everything in this garden by hand with help of a rototiller, my truck, and a couple skid loaders. Later this month, we will be having a sunflower sowing party out here.

The second piece of land, “the Field” is larger and a bit more wild. The field hasn’t been farmed since the early 90’s, and the last farmer was my dad. Its close to my family’s farm and belongs to a friendly neighbor who is also very excited about hemp.  This field will be grown more like a small farm field and I am planning to use mulch and straw to keep weeds away. This field is just under an acre and will have around 2000 plants.  I have had help clearing and tilling the field from a local guy I found on craigslist. It was just too big to do with my tiller. Tilling may be done as soon as today!  This field will have lime applied by hand and compost spread by tractor.

I have a lot of work to do, and I look forward to keeping this blog updated and full of information.
Today, I’m heading out to get lime to apply to the field by hand.

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