Mt. Folly Farm

Mt. Folly's Hemp Crop

We got our 2017 hemp crop in the ground June 2.

     We’ve participated in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Innovative hemp program for three growing seasons now, and our 2017 plot of hemp will be certified organic. Have 3 years of hemp been lucrative? No. have we learned something? Yes.

Weeds have been our problem, a big one. Our fall crop will be organic. We planted in a field that has had no chemicals on it in three years, so the weed seeds are there. We planted in early June into a clean, well tilled field, cultivated as best we could, but still the hemp did not compete, and weeds came...and came strong. We resorted to hand weeding, to some avail.

All this was shown at the Organic Association of Kentucky (OAK) field day, and we have been to see one of the handful of certified organic hemp corps, on a Shelbyville horse farm, which looks better than ours. It had been planted at the same time, but into an old alfalfa field, rather than a field in an organic crop rotation.

This confirms for us that hay or pasture must be part of an organic rotation. We've been grazing some of our organic land to good effect, waiting until the last acres come out of transition to enact the complete plan.

The other thing that is obvious to us that we've got to get the hemp seed in April, not June. This has been a legal import problem, which we need to see resolved.

We also are using hemp fiber in the chinking and insulation on the log cabin. Again, check facebook, and we’ll get some picture up here soon.

Kentucky Oak Day

Making and Using Hempcrete

Mt. Folly employee Jason Christian at a hempcrete workshop mid-June.

     Hempcrete, a mixture of lime and the woody core of the hemp plant, is the sort of product we like to try. So we mixed up a batch for use in chinking on our log cabin, and have left it exposed.

"Thats good stuff!" says our highly-skilled Italian Mason. We think so too.

Hempcrete can be used for construction and insulation. It is not a structural material, but is an insulator with thermal mass. Its weight is 1/8 that of concrete.

Like other plants, hemp absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows, retaining the carbon and releasing the oxygen. Theorectically 156kg of carbon can be absorbed and locked up by 1m3 of hempcrete wall [Wkikipedia]. Futhermore the carbonation of the lime during curing adds to this effect as lime turns to limestone

We plan to use hempcrete wherever we can, and will have more opportunities for the community to see and use it.