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Farm-to-Doorstep Hemp

Now everyone can grow their own!
Written by
Haley Nagasaki and Dr. Emily Gogol
Topic:
In the Garden
August 25, 2021
May 28, 2021

Emily Gogol is the CEO and founder of Infinite Tree, the USDA certified organic, nationally known hemp flower nursery. For four years, Infinite Tree has been supplying commercial farmers with craft organic flower varieties, although last year Emily was approached by home gardeners across the country.

From Washington, D.C. to Oakland, California, people were seeking to purchase hemp plants through the commercial website. “And I was just so floored by it,” she says. “That’s why I started Grow it From Home, because people got in touch with me and I love gardening.”

“I have this ten-year history working in public access to beautiful spaces, access to gardening, and social equity around food justice. So I was like, ‘why would I not do this?’”

Emily spent ten years in San Francisco pursuing passion projects alongside the completion of her Ph.D. in Biomedical Science at UCSF. These projects entailed starting a non-profit and working as a volunteer. “We were building parks, running community gardens, working the Master Gardener’s program, giving workshops, and stewarding gardeners and gardens alike.” Having now come full circle, Emily is delighted to be running Grow it From Home and working with gardeners again because this is where she originated, with “gardeners first and cannabis enthusiasts second.”

To her surprise, Emily found people weren’t just reaching out because they wanted to smoke their own flower. These plant enthusiasts wanted to grow their own hemp for a variety of DIY applications, from cosmetics to culinary.

“People wanted to juice the plant, they wanted to make tea. Hemp is just like any other herb; if you’re going to make your own mint tea, you can make your own hemp tea. Some wanted to extract the oil at home and make bath and beauty products. They wanted to share it as a novel gift to the gardener in their life.”

“People are even using the plant as an herb in the kitchen, chopping up the finer leaves and putting them in salads, or taking the dried flower and sprinkling it on alfredo pasta like you would oregano.”

“People wanted to juice the plant, they wanted to make tea. Hemp is just like any other herb; if you’re going to make your own mint tea, you can make your own hemp tea. Some wanted to extract the oil at home and make bath and beauty products. They wanted to share it as a novel gift to the gardener in their life.”

Focus on Accessibility

Emily has dedicated so much time to working in the heart of community because she genuinely loves providing access to people. “So in San Francisco, access to green space was about park building and opening up the community’s gardens programs. Now that I work in cannabis, it’s about debunking myths around the plant and making people feel comfortable accessing it, while making it accessible to them at home.”

Grow it From Home is the only company in the country providing direct farm-to-doorstep hemp plants legally. “We’re also going to launch seeds in the California market in retail nursery locations, and offer seeds on our website starting in a few weeks,” she says.

Emily started by selling live plants instead of seeds because it’s the best way to get things started; it’s already a cannabis plant. The vulnerable seedling stage is removed from the process, getting folks comfortable with the plant before ever introducing them to seeds.

“There’s so much lore around cannabis – you’ve got to plant by the full moon, with special fertilizers and soils, and just the right dampness of the paper towel to germinate. I’m like, you take it, plant it a quarter inch deep, you cover it with soil. It’s like a bean, it will grow, it’s like beans and peas; it’s called weed for a reason."

Hemp for Victory!

The hemp plant cultivar used by Infinite Tree and now Grow it From Home is called Victory. It is a “very homogenous population of plants, with very low hermaphrodite rate, vigorous and easy to grow, and commercially available,”meaning it is of the same caliber as commercial plants.

Emily recommends a simplistic maintenance routine similar to how hemp plants are grown in commercial agriculture. With good soil, fertilizer is not even required. “That’s what we do in commercial ag. We put it in the ground, in good soil, make sure it has enough water, and we walk away until harvest. There’s no trellising, pruning, or topping. You plant in the field and you let it grow with its structure, allowing it to stand up to high winds and frost. These are the same varieties that I bring to our Grow it From Home customers.”

That said, if people would like to feed their plants, a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer found at any garden store will do just fine. “Every two weeks you can provide a light feeding. If you wouldn’t feed your tomatoes during the season, I don’t see why you would feed your hemp. Could you get a better yield and bigger buds with a really rigorous pruning and feeding schedule? Absolutely. But do people really need more than a half-pound per plant in their life?”

“I would recommend planting in good garden soil and full sun. But don’t buy into the special mycorrhizal blends and pH grow bro solution – it’s not necessary.”

Emily suggests a few other simple tools and accessories, including trim scissors and gardening gloves, gardening soil, and 3-to-5-gallon pots. “Black fabric pots are great,” she says. They are for those who will stay on top of watering because the plants will dry out faster, but their built-in handles make them easier to move around the patio. For those who seek a more infrequent watering regime, terra cotta pots are recommended.

Come harvest time, stash jars are also good to have on hand. Simple mason jars with humidity packs are excellent for preserving your flower, while providing an environment for curing.

A Place in the Sun

There are some common misconceptions about hemp cultivation, and one of them is that we have to grow it indoors. “It’s like, well you wouldn’t grow your tomatoes indoors. The only reason people grow it indoors is because it was illegal, or it is still illegal. It’s not like it likes to grow indoors; it’s not like that’s its favorite,” she says jokingly. “You can make it happen, but that’s when you get into the special lights, the airflow, the humidity and the special nutrients, and you really have to baby the plant."

“People are growing all sorts of cultivars from black market seeds, or from seeds they’ve found in their bud, but they end up with these floppy, unhappy plants outdoors because they’re not bred for growing outdoors. Whereas the variety that I offer really is put it in the ground and don’t touch it if you want a big, five-foot plant.”

A Final Word

Emily Gogol founded Grow it From Home in order to provide nation-wide access to established hemp plants for growers and gardeners alike, and she loves doing it. She has simplified this activity, otherwise heavy on the lore, and encourages everyday folks to plant hemp in their backyard, and to really start getting hands-on with their food and medicine. The benefits are innumerable because plant cultivation is for everyone – gardeners and cannabis enthusiasts – regardless of their intention or skill level.

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