The market for hemp is blooming. Since the cultivation of hemp plants was legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill, we’ve seen a steady incline in production, consumption, and general buzz about this powerful plant.
From skincare to tinctures to clothing and even food, hemp is being grown for hundreds of different consumer products and applications. With every part of the plant - including the flowers, leaves, stems, and seeds - being used for beneficial purposes, the demand for hemp has never been higher.
In 2019, the global industrial hemp market was estimated at $4.71 billion. Hundreds of farmers in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere across the U.S. have applied to start growing hemp since legalization passed.
But you don’t have to be a farmer to grow your own hemp. In fact, hemp is an incredible herbal ally that is not only surprisingly easy to grow, but that also offers a ton of benefits for the home grower.
How Do You Grow Hemp At Home?
Hemp is a cultivar of cannabis plants that contains less than .3% concentration of THC in the dried flowers. That means that, although hemp and cannabis are technically the same species of plant, hemp can’t get you high.
Some would say that growing hemp is in fact as American as apple pie, since farmers in the U.S. were legally required to grow it as a staple crop during the 1700’s. Many of the founding fathers grew hemp, including George Washington.
Growing your own hemp at home is as simple as growing any other vegetable or herb. All you need is some soil, a pot or a garden bed, seeds, water, and plenty of sunshine. Hemp plants can get pretty big, so make sure you give them enough space to spread out and up. We love these easy starter kits from Pot For A Pot, and their grow guide is a great place to start for first-time hemp growers.
The name “weed” doesn’t come from nothing - hemp plants are known for their ability to grow in almost any climate and can thrive without much tending. Gardeners will be pleased to know that hemp can be fairly drought tolerant and doesn’t require a lot of water. These plants will also tolerate poor soil, though feeding them with the right nutrients will encourage a larger crop of flowers and seeds throughout the season.
Hemp is a great plant to have in the garden not just because it’s easy, but because it’s beneficial for other plants, too. Hemp can deter pests, so it makes a great companion for vegetables and other herbs. Hemp plants are also great soil builders and bioremediators that take heavy metals out of the soil while fixing beneficial nutrients back into the ground for other plant roots to feed on.
Why Is Home Grown Hemp Good For You?
In addition to being easy to grow and beneficial for the other plants in your garden, growing hemp at home is ideal because it means you can raise a completely pesticide-free crop. Despite the fact that hemp doesn’t really need any pesticides, industrial farmers are known to spray their hemp crops. Growing your own means that you’re guaranteed an organic harvest that hasn’t been contaminated with harsh chemicals.
Even before you get to enjoy the harvest, growing hemp at home can provide some serious benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing. Gardening is shown to improve your health. Getting outdoors, moving your body around, and caring for a living plant are all small actions that can lower your heart rate, increase blood flow and metabolism, and bring a sense of calm to your mind. Many people even think of gardening like a moving meditation that helps ease anxiety and improve mental health.
But that’s just the beginning of the benefits that homegrown hemp can provide for you! Your plant will produce leaves, flowers, seeds, and stems that you can use to create organic, sustainable, DIY products to support your life and wellness routine.
How To Use Your Homegrown Organic Hemp
Hemp flowers are known for containing CBD, which has been shown to help with a number of different ailments including anxiety, stress, insomnia, inflammation, muscle recovery, indigestion, skincare, mood, and more. Your homegrown hemp flowers can be dried and cured for smoking or vaping. You can also use them to infuse oil or butter for baking and cooking.
Homegrown hemp flowers are fantastic for their CBD content and many useful applications. But what about the rest of the plant?
Hemp seeds are actually the most nutritious part of the plant, packing a punch with about 7 grams of protein per tablespoon and high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. This means that eating hemp seeds can help prevent cardiac, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative illnesses. Hemp seeds are also delicious and can add a lovely nutty flavor to a number of different recipes.
Hemp seeds can also be broken down, refined, and filtered to create your very own hemp seed oil. The resulting green oil is rich in nutrients and Omega-3’s so it is excellent for moisturizing your skin, fighting inflammation, and encouraging cell regeneration.
Hemp leaves are also a highly nutritious edible part of these generous plants. With a dark green color and the distinctive 5-leaf shape, hemp leaves make for a great addition to smoothies, green juices, and sautéed greens. We also love the way that hemp leaves look when used as edible decoration on homemade desserts!
Hemp leaves are also high in chlorophyll, which makes them perfect for natural dyeing. You can play around with individual leaves or use the last of your harvest to make a big batch of non-toxic dye that the whole family can enjoy experimenting with.
But wait, these plants aren’t finished giving just yet! While you may not be able to make fiber for clothing out of your homegrown hemp stems and stalks, you can still use those fibrous parts to improve your garden. Chop your hemp plant at the soil line once it’s finished for the season, then use all of that organic material to mulch or compost in your garden. The plant matter contains high levels of nitrogen and other essential nutrients that your soil and your plants will love.
Whether you’re a first time grower or an experienced gardener, there’s a benefit for everyone when it comes to growing your own hemp at home. So let’s get out there and reconnect with this incredible plant that can do so much for us, body, mind, and soul!