I don't believe it, farmers praying for rain…in August?
Well, Yes. This time it is true. Now that the grain harvest is "safely
gathered in" we need a really good soaking; partly to help with the
cultivations but, more importantly, to rett the hemp. For those who
wondered what the dark green crop growing on the north side of the Stoke
road was it was cannabis sativa - grown under special licence. However,
anyone thinking of "smoking a joint" they would have needed half an acre -
and who could secrete a "roll" the size of a telegraph pole?
The crop, supposedly, grows to 10 or 12 feet in 100 days. Drilled in mid
April and cut in mid August it produced the tallest crop we have ever grown.
In theory it should lay in the swathe for 20 to 30 days "in all weathers" to
rett (or rot) hence the need for rain to start this process. However baling
should take place when the crop is dry, as hemp is very proficient at
absorbing moisture - hence one of the uses for the core is for horse
bedding. After baling it is stored before taking it's turn to be called to
the factory near Malden (Essex) where it is decorticated - the process of
separating the fibre from the stem. The resulting fibres may be used for