Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hemp Plant

Hemp is a fiber plant of the Mulberry family, native to central and western Asia. Hemp fibers do not deteriorate when wet and so are often used to make ropes, carpet warp, carpet thread, sail cloth, bagging and some types of paper such as money. The ravelings obtained during the processing are known as OAKUM, which is used for calking and hydraulic packing. Hemp seed is used as Bird seed and is also used in making Hashish and Linoleum. Hemp seed oil is used in manufacturing paints, varnishes and soaps.
The plants usually grow from 5 to 12 feet tall, but may reach 20 feet. The hollow stalks, about the thickness of a lead pencil, bear slender hand like leaves with 3 to 7 fingers. The small male and female flowers are borne on separate plants.
Hemp grows best in rich, well drained loam in areas with a 5 month growing season. The seed is planted in rows by means of drills. Harvesting begins when the leaves start to yellow, usually after about three months. The crop is cut with a special harvester that lays the stalks in even rows on the ground. After a month or two, dew, rain and bacterial action have decomposed or retted soft tissue surrounding the fibers. The bark is then easily removed. Fiber retted by water is usually soft and white and is considered superior to the grayish fiber produced by dew retting. After the hemp has been bound by machine, it is placed in shocks for a few weeks to dry. It is then baled for market...

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