What should you know about growing hemp in the great state of Maine? Recent legislation has made it much easier for some growers to plant, grow, and harvest this particular crop in every state. If you’re a resident of the northernmost state of the Atlantic Seaboard, however, you’re wondering what you should specifically know about your state in particular. Keep reading to learn some general information about the Pine Tree State.
Plant Hardiness Zone(s)
The first thing you should know is the general plant hardiness zones within the state of Maine, which are zones 3, 4, 5, and 6. Keep in mind that there is some overlap, as a plant known to thrive in zone 4 might still grow relatively well in zones 3 and 5.
Maine has roughly eight different thermal zones, with the lower numbers being colder for their winter average lows than the higher numbers. Zone 3 locations typically run nearly 40 degrees Fahrenheit colder in the winter than zone 6. Zone 6 is best for hemp, given how it’s normally a temperate crop.
Length of Growing Season
Maine’s growing season is comparatively short given the northerly location. Frost can happen all throughout May and then reappears in September. This provides a very narrow window for hemp, which can tolerate some frost, but usually needs four months to mature to full cultivation.
Average Annual Sunlight
Maine usually has 101 clear days with a total of 2513 hours of sunlight. The sun percentage is 57 percent.
Average Annual Precipitation
Annual precipitation is around 40 inches in the northern part of the state, 42 inches in the southern half, and 46 inches along the coast. Maine rarely has to deal with tornadoes, hurricanes, and ice storms. Thunderstorms average between once and twice a month.
Maine’s elevation runs from sea level along the Atlantic coast to 5.276 feet at Mount Katahdin. The mean elevation is 600 feet.
The soil pH in Maine is typically slightly acidic, with exceptions along the beaches.
The soil in Maine reflects leftovers of a glacier that melted over 12,000 years ago, leaving organic deposits, alluvium, loam, clay, and silt. Nearly all Maine soil requires an early amendment for growing.
What potential pests should you look out for? Some species that typically impact farmers across the lower 48 don’t always hit Maine given its northerly latitudes. Having said that, there are some pests that you should be on guard for and ready to deal with. They include but are not limited to aphids, leafhoppers, stink bugs, tarnished plant bugs, squash bugs, thrips, and spider mites.
Obtaining A Hemp Grower’s License In Maine
Under federal law, it is illegal to grow hemp anywhere in the United States without first obtaining a grower’s license from the appropriate regulatory body for the state in which the interested party intends to plant the crop. For information on the legal status of hemp in Maine, as well as a breakdown of the application process, click here. Read about hemp legality by state.