The pH scale measures how basic or acidic a substance is, and has great ramifications for farmers. The pH scale goes from 1 to 14. Acidic substances have a lower pH under 7, while basic substances have a higher pH over 7.

Measuring the pH of soil is a bit of a different process. The US Department of Agriculture classifies soil pH ranges as such:

  • Ultra acidic: 3.5
  • Extremely acidic: 3.5–4.4
  • Very strongly acidic: 4.5–5.0
  • Strongly acidic: 5.1–5.5
  • Moderately acidic: 5.6–6.0
  • Slightly acidic: 6.1–6.5
  • Neutral: 6.6–7.3
  • Slightly alkaline: 7.4–7.8
  • Moderately alkaline: 7.9–8.4
  • Strongly alkaline: 8.5–9.0
  • Very strongly alkaline: 9.0

Hemp does best in the slightly acidic to neutral ranges. While hemp can grow in 6.0 to 7.5 range, it is recommended to have your soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0 before planting hemp.


Soil qualities can differ greatly across regions and even farms. It is crucial to know what type of soil you have in the plots that you plan to cultivate hemp in.

While there are a few types of soil that hemp can grow successfully in, it is of paramount importance that the soil drains properly. Hemp is very susceptible to dying off in poor draining soil.

Heavy clay content is another red flag for hemp cultivation. The clay will not allow the hemp’s root system to develop properly. So what is the best type of soil to cultivate hemp?

Hemp is best grown on loose, well-aerated loam, with proper drainage. Soils with a sandy composure are also capable of producing good hemp, but sandy soils require additional costs such as increased irrigation and fertilization, making them not cost effective. 


Testing your soil before even determining the amount of hemp you want to cultivate is recommended. There are many different ways to go about testing your farms soil. 

These include kits which can be purchased at home stores like Home Depot and Lowes, or online at retailers like Amazon. 

Of course, these home kits commonly only test the basic information from soil, usually the pH and maybe 1 to 2 other factors. 

For this reason we recommend utilizing a third party laboratory to gain the most possible information before investing in hemp seeds. This information will help you create the most accurate possible budget before getting started. 


For small operations, straw can be used to effectively protect your land from weeds while cultivating hemp. 

For larger or industrial farms, chemicals and organic weed-killing solutions are the better bet. Having a plan for weeds, and building in the costs to your budget before planting is the best possible move while developing a plan for your farm.

Hemp thrives in soil that is fertile with a high level of organic content.