I finally read Growing Weed in the Garden after listening to Jennifer Jewell interview Johanna Silver on her podcast Cultivating Place. It was a wonderful interview!
I happened to have Johanna's book on hand because, hoping to speak to the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's membership, she'd sent me a copy—I'm the chair of the Speaker Program Committee. Back when Johanna's first book The Bold Dry Garden: Lessons from the Ruth Bancroft Garden came out we'd asked her to come speak to the HPSO, but the time wasn't good for her as she was pregnant with her son. To be honest I'd kinda laughed at the idea of Johanna addressing the HPSO membership about this, her second book, after all—like most gardening organizations—our membership skews a little older. And while I generally resist stereotyping, older people—and I guess I'm speaking of my parents generation—do tend to be of the "just say no" generation.
Further more, while I loved Martha Stewart's blurb on the back cover...
I really had no intention of reading the book, I haven't touched pot in years and could probably count on my fingertips the times I have, throw in my toes and that's a for sure. I've got nothing against it, it's just not my thing. I was not (as Johanna writes) "Canna Curious"...however Johanna makes it a really interesting subject! It is a plant after all, a very old and very useful plant, and that foliage is pretty spectacular.
I learned so much reading this book! Did you know that cannabis plants are dioecious? There are female plants and male plants and you don't want to harvest from male plants...cause they've got the seeds. Other dioecious crops include kiwi, asparagus and spinach.
Joanna began the cannabis growing experiment as a project for the San Francisco Chronicle, not—as I wrongly assumed—because she wanted a nice stash for her personal use. From there she ended up with so much information that a book just seemed like the natural next step.
Because of it's past as a shady substance so much of what people know about growing weed deals with growing it indoors. Johanna takes it out in to the garden where it's a very ornamental crop and one I would consider growing with no intention of harvesting. However if I wanted to go to that next step this book covers everything: a little history of the plant; information on choosing seeds and getting started; how to harvest, dry, cure and trim, storing your stash, and even a section on what to do with it when you've got it.
What I enjoyed most though were the grower profiles, including a story on Johnny Casali. Convicted of two felonies (caught growing nearly 1,500 marijuana plants before it was legal to grow weed in California) Johnny did nearly eight years in prison. Now his farm has full permitting to grow and was just the 4th in Humboldt County to receive such accreditation. And he's a fan of what Johanna calls "granny flowers"... like petunias, "His style veers into granny territory—I've never seen to many petunias in my life. He wants his farm to be beautiful, lush, and full of color."
If you're at all curious about this storied plant I think you'll enjoy reading this book.
The Fine Print: I was sent a complementary copy of Growing Weed in the Garden by Abrams Books, there was no requirement that I review it. All opinions are my own, and unsolicited. Also, I live in a state that has legalized the growing of cannabis, so if I chose to grow it in my garden I can do so legally. Your results may vary.
Weather Diary, June 8: Hi 64, Low 53/ Precip .55 (1.95" total for the last 3 days with more on the way today)
All material © 2009-2020 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.