Test the Soil – Hemp was once used as a soil remediation tool. It can absorb contaminants in the soil for up to two miles from the plant’s location. By registering the crop on an outdoor grow as a sensitive crop with the Oklahoma State Department of Agriculture, it prevents aerial spraying within 1 mile of the grow. You can test soil prior to planting to ensure there are no pesticides and heavy metals.
Test the Water – Almost all heavy metals we see are from well water. Test your water initially and then on a regular basis. If you treat your well water, systems may not be able to produce enough water to meet your needs. As such, it is better to test your water monthly if you source from a well so that you are ensured your entire crop isn’t ruined when a filter or media goes out and you don’t realize it. Treated water that was sourced from a municipal water source should not cause heavy metal failures. If you are using a municipal water source, you can find the testing results by contacting your municipality.
Ensure Product Quality – Plant your first crop from seeds obtained from a reputable vendor. Feminized seeds have a higher propensity for the plants to hermaphrodite (Hermie out). Environmental factors can also cause your plants to hermie but it is less likely if you start with good genetics.
Things to avoid:
• bad genetics – the plant comes from a line of plants that naturally create hermies for no reason, even in good growing conditions
• high stress – high temperatures, light leaks, inconsistent light schedules, as well as other types of major stress can cause a healthy plant to hermie, though some plants/strains are more susceptible than others
• letting buds over-mature – this is also known as “rodelization”; when the plant’s buds have gone past maturity without being pollinated (if the grower waits too long to harvest), a female plant may make male pollen within its buds as a last ditch effort to pollinate itself and make seeds for the next generation
• chemical stimulation – by exposing a female plant to certain substances like colloidal silver or gibberellic acid during the early parts of the flowering stage, you can force any female plant to create pollen. This is how seed banks get female pollen to produce feminized seeds.
Eliminate Chances for Contamination – Once your crop is planted, make sure you take precautions to avoid contamination. Below are steps you can take to prevent contamination such as microbials:
• Don’t let visitors inside your grow room. If you want to show off your grow, have the visitor view from the doorway. Visitors from the industry will often transfer contaminants from one grow to the next. Shoes and clothing can collect contaminants from a grow or other source and deposit them into another grow.
• Require personal protective equipment (PPE). Provide protective clothing for anyone who enters your facility to include gloves, shoe coverings, and sterile cloth coverings (disposable lab coats, etc.) . This should be sanitized daily. Gloves should be worn by all employees and changed between grow rooms as a minimum.
• Clean and disinfect your facility on a regular basis. Cleaning is the best way to prevent contaminants. If your cultivar fails for microbials and the source can’t be identified, we can send a technician to your facility to help find the source.
Ensure Product is in Sellable Form – Dry for at least 7-10 days and allow to cure for at least two weeks. If you don’t dry and cure properly the moisture content may be too high to report reliable potency percentages. Also, trim your product prior to submitting for testing. Having excessive stems and water leaves in your tested product can result in significantly lower potency percentages due to the added mass of the trim and water in the sample.
Provide a Sufficient Sample – After you batch your product you should select at least seven grams from random locations from your 10lb batch. (see batching guide)
Do your research and choose the right laboratory to test your product. (see potency guide)