As the days get brighter and longer, planting season grows ever nearer. Every year in April, we cut our clones and nurture them to be ready for the outside world when June rolls around.
We currently have about 60 mothers (the plants that we cut the clones from). We can gather roughly 1,000 clones from each mother. Once cut, we place the clones in soil on trays to begin their development into mature plants. They spend this portion of their lives safely in a building, and not without reason. Let’s investigate why starting plants indoors is optimal.
Many consider bright sunshine the best light for growing, but it presents one major flaw: unreliability due to weather. Growing indoors helps us give our plants adequate lighting for the appropriate amount of time each and every day, without fail. With plants as young and small as freshly cut clones, any deviance from normal lighting might result in a detriment to their development.
Some areas of the country have ample, if not excessive, moisture and precipitation on a year-round basis. Not southwest Colorado. We live in a semi-arid climate here. While the crisp mountain air provides advantages of its own, small clones with developing root systems require moisture. Growing indoors allows us to water when needed, but also to control the ambient humidity. This way, whenever slight adjustments must be made, we don’t depend on the weather to do the adjusting.
Speaking of weather, storms systems and the like present major problems for small plants. Just as animals build resistance to exterior forces as they grow larger and stronger, plants do as well. However, neither animals nor plants possess that resistance innately.
Heavy rain, wind, a late frost, and excessive heat create environments too harsh for small clones to survive. When these plants stay inside during the early stages of life though, it allows them to strengthen in a controlled environment. As a matter of fact, to toughen them up for the outside world, we subject them to a light wind produced by fans. Believe it or not, that actually makes them heartier and prepares them for real wind.
Growing indoors accommodates for all of these factors and more. Ultimately, we find that the success of a hemp crop is rooted in consistency for young plants. Just as humans often thrive on the predictability of routine, so do our hemp clones. Until someone finds a better way, we plan on starting our clones indoors every single year.