How do you decide if you are going to produce hemp seedlings in-house or use a grower? There are a lot of factors to consider when making this pivotal decision about the plants for your business.
Obviously, you may save some money by doing the germination and producing hemp seedlings yourself. And though we are in the business of selling hemp seeds and seedlings, we do recommend that some growers produce their own hemp seedlings as it will ultimately save them money and potentially increase ROI.
Hemp Seedling ready for transplant
However, there are costly mistakes that can come up if growers who decide to produce their own hemp seedlings don’t have a complete understanding of what steps need to be taken to produce ready-to-plant seedlings.
Here are some things to consider as you weigh whether to produce your own seedlings or outsource this task to a grower:
- Needed Infrastructure: Typically, you will need approximately 2 sq ft of floor space per tray of 72 plants. If you are a large scale grower, you will likely need a greenhouse to do this while smaller hemp growers may be able to get away with an indoor set up (see below about hardening).
- Germination Rates: Do you have protocols and plans in place to achieve maximum germination? Quality seed should have a germination rate between 90%-99%, but if any steps in the germination process are botched this can quickly lead to a lower germination rate could hurt your bottom line.
- Timing: Ensuring that you understand the needed time and steps to produce seedlings is incredibly important. Depending on the hemp genetics and desired planting size, hemp seedlings can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to produce (with hardening steps involved). Ensuring that seedlings are produced in a timely manner that aligns with your planting schedule is paramount to your success.
- Pest Pressure: Working with hemp seedlings and the numerous pest pressures that hemp faces can be tricky. Having an understanding of how to scout and manage potential pest problems is important to produce clean hemp seedlings.
- Hardening: Hardening hemp plants is a critical step that leads to more healthy and vigorous hemp seedlings. This is an even more important step if you are producing seedlings in an indoor setting under artificial light. Hemp seedlings will need to be slowly exposed to sunlight otherwise there is a risk of the plants being burned by the sun. If you choose to produce your own seedlings, ensure that you have plans in the process for a hardening step.
- Trialing: The best way to learn is through trialing. Before attempting to germinate your entire hemp seed purchase, it would be wise to do a small trial to make sure your procedures and technique are going to work and have the desired end result of producing grade A quality hemp seedlings.
Rooted Hemp Seedling
So there you have it! There is no “right” answer on deciding whether to grow and produce your own hemp seedlings or working with a grower to do this for you. Every hemp business and growing operation is unique and comes with its own set of challenges. Ultimately, you have to make the best decision with the end in mind of planting, growing, and harvesting a beautiful hemp field in the fall. We hope this article has helped you come one step closer to making that decision!
If you are looking for hemp varieties this season but are unsure of where to start, try taking our Variety Quiz, which will help you discover the best hemp genetics for your unique business.