If you ask an experienced farmer of industrial hemp for tips on a great harvest, they’ll likely start talking about soil quality. Hemp, or cannabis sativa, is a hardy weed, but growing it outdoors can pose myriad challenges, particularly in Florida, where the climate is hot and humid. There needs to be adequate drainage, proper acidity levels, decent water retention, and the correct balance of nutrients and beneficial bacteria.
Cannabis is a tolerant annual plant, but in order to help your crop truly flourish, you need detailed information about your soil. Hemp soil testing from Modern Canna shows more than pH and biological activity. Our analytics give hemp growers a complete picture of micro and macro nutrient levels and deficiencies, letting you make more informed decisions. The result is money wisely spent on the right fertilizers and measures to produce a larger, healthier crop.
Key issues facing Florida hemp farmers
Hemp thrives in well-drained, aerated soil that is slightly acidic (between 6.0 and 7.0). In central and south Florida, persistent hot and humid conditions can pose problems for hemp farmers. Boggy wet soils produce issues like root rot, powdery mildew, pythium, and fusarium, which can seriously undermine a harvest.
Ambient humidity has a notable impact on cannabis growth and health. This is because it stresses the plant’s transpiration levels, which are slowed by the reduced water gradient between the plant and the atmosphere. This, in turn, makes it more difficult for plants to absorb soil nutrients like calcium, leading to deficiencies.
Mineral nutrients like potassium, nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur take on different chemical forms depending on their surrounding pH. Over time, saturated, poorly-drained soils tend to develop a higher, or more alkaline, pH that can reduce the bioavailability of essential nutrients and metals.
Nutrient requirements for growing hemp
Cultivating high-quality hemp for CBD products outdoors requires a thorough understanding of optimal cannabis nutrient levels at different phases of the growing cycle. Soil tests are extremely advantageous before seeds are sown, though periodic testing allows farmers to make adjustments as needed.
Depending on the growth period, cannabis plants will need varying levels of the following macronutrients from the soil:
- Nitrogen (N) – critical during initial vegetative phase
- Phosphorus (P) – important for bud growth and flowering
- Potassium (K) – improves strength of root system, increases density of buds
Lower quantities of micro nutrients like zinc, iron, copper, and manganese are also important considerations.
Test your soil for CBD hemp in Florida
The easiest way to achieve a healthy, nutrient-balanced soil is through proper laboratory testing. Pale leaves, weak stems, and plants that are vulnerable to fungus and pests are all signs of deficiencies. Know what’s in your soil, so you don’t make the mistake of going overboard with unnecessary supplements that can cause nutrient burn and diminish the quantity of your harvest.
Let Modern Canna help you improve yields and reduce costs for your Florida hemp operation. Reach out to learn more about our soil testing services.