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Did George Washington Grow Hemp?

Throughout his lifetime, George Washington cultivated hemp at Mount Vernon for industrial uses. The fibers from hemp held excellent properties for making rope and sail canvas. In addition, hemp fibers could be spun into thread for clothing or, as indicated in Mount Vernon records, used in repairing the large seine nets Washington used in his fishing operation along the Potomac.

At one point in the 1760’s Washington considered whether hemp would be a more lucrative cash crop than tobacco but determined wheat was a better alternative.

Growing Hemp Today

Dean Norton, Director of Horticulture at Mount Vernon, planting industrial hemp. MVLA.

Since the spring of 2018, Mount Vernon has planted an industrial cultivar of hemp on the four-acre Farm site. Under the 2015 Industrial Hemp Law enacted by the Virginia General Assembly and working with the industrial hemp research program of the University of Virginia, Mount Vernon planted hemp to expand its interpretation of George Washington’s role as an enterprising farmer. As the first historic home of the founding fathers to plant hemp, Mount Vernon will use the plant as an interpretative tool to help better tell the story of Washington’s role as a farmer.

Harvesting of the industrial hemp takes place each summer. After the industrial hemp is dried it is used in fiber-making demonstrations onsite.

Now We Offer an AOSCA Certified Seed and Two Auto-Flower Hybrids

Starter Packs– The germination rate for our feminized hemp seed exceeds 90%, depending on the batch. We add 10% to any feminized hemp seed Starter Pack to make sure our hemp farmers have all the plants they planned for. If the order is for 100 female hemp seeds we will ship 110 seeds.

Bulk Hemp Seed Orders – We guarantee a 100% germination plant count on all bulk hemp seed orders of our feminized hemp seed strains. We extensively test the germination rate after we harvest our feminized hemp seed batches. If the batch’s germination rate is 95% we add an additional 5% to the order. For example, if the bulk seed order is for 10,000 seeds, and the batch tests to a 95% germination rate we will ship 10,500 seeds.

S1 Feminized Hemp Seed for Growing

S1 seeds are the first selfed generation grown from the originally selected F1 phenotype. Our Mountain Mango feminized hemp seed is grown using our original F1 female that we selected a couple years ago, we make our seed from the same living plant now as then. It has proven to be a stable phenotype in the field, exhibiting consistent characteristics. Our Quick Kush feminized hemp seed is an F1 phenotype from the same parents as Mountain Mango but exhibits an entirely different phenotype.

Our S1 Cherry Wine feminized hemp seed is produced from the F1 phenotype created by the breeder of Cherry Wine – “Bohdi”. We make seed from the original living plant. Many of the Cherry variety of hemp seeds for growing in the market are S2, S3, S4…. generations, not produced from the original F1, but from an S1 or other selfed generation of feminized hemp seed, not the original living F1 phenotype, which contributes to an unstable crop in the field.

Browse our collection of hemp strains for growing we have for sale at our online shop !

Evaluating CBD Hemp Strains​ for Growing

If someone looking to buy hemp seeds for growing asks, “What percentage of CBD will this hemp strain’s flower produce?”, they are asking the wrong question. This is a fact though: ​all hemp strains for growing CBD oil will test over the legal limit of 0.3% depending on growing conditions. Some of these growing conditions are:

  • Vegetation period
  • Number of days in flower before harvesting
  • Latitude and photoperiod
  • Ambient day and night temperatures
  • Nutrient program
  • Irrigation system
  • Idiosyncrasies peculiar to the hemp strain

​Because of the hemp regulations we work under, it makes a lot more sense to ask the question, “What percentage of CBD will this hemp strain’s flower produce when the legal level approaches 0.3%?”. Unfortunately, an exact answer to that question is virtually impossible to predict. For tips and additional information, check out our resources for growing hemp plants.

Growing conditions listed above vary day-to-day and year-to-year. Historical test results, done at least weekly, over several hemp growing seasons at a particular location would begin to more accurately answer the question based on empirical data – but this industry is so new, data like that is very rare.