Saturday, July 08, 2006

With all the excitment over hemp in the last couple of decades, there are differing opinions as to what soil hemp can grow on. Enthusiasm sometimes gets in the way of facts, and it is best to consult authorities rather than enthusiasts. An objective treatment of this issue is made in the book for which this blog is titled, extracts of which will be put on this site from time to time.
A 1691 record states: "Most sorts of soil are or may be made fit with good manuring, to sow Hemp upon." A Scottish record from 1750 asserts: "Hemp requires a fat, deep, brown Soil", and recommends "Grounds lying upon the Coast, enriched with Sea-ware, and other weeds from the Sea."
Robert Wissett, who wrote the seminal treatise on hemp of the nineteenth century, gives an example of hemp growing "luxuriantly on a sandy soil, manured with dung from the stables."
A French authority writing in 1747 tells us:

The best situation for Hemp-ground is generally thought to be along the side of
a stream, or of a ditch so full of water, that the water may constantly be
nearly level with the surface, but without overflowing it. In
some of the provinces of France such lands are called Courties or Courtils,
and are highly esteemed by the cultivators of Hemp.

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