Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Growing Weed in the Garden (yes, that weed)

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.

21 comments:

  1. Funny, when I think of older people, it isn't "just say no" that comes to mind but rather the summer of love, Haight-Ashbury and Woodstock... A had a single try of the product and it was rather unpleasant, but the plant is beautiful. Johnny Casali's story is fun! He certainly came full circle! I wonder if Cannabis is appropriate for my zone 7.

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    1. Ha! Yes, you make a great point about the 60's... what was I thinking?

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  2. Ha! You've just provided me a gift option for my brother. Of course, he's been growing weed long enough to believe he knows everything there is to know but still...

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  3. One old person second here to Chavliness' post. There's plenty of us old Hippies around who would both read this book & grow this plant in the garden just for the sake of ornamentation. Great review, thanks!
    BTW, we aren't Nancy Reagan fans - then or now ... ;)

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  4. What a fun book for Johanna to write, I'm crazy about her. And hey, I'm a product of the 60's, as well. I remember the night The Byrds all came over to my place after their concert and we cooked up a batch of pasta and did a fair amount of smoking! It was a fun night.

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    1. Smoking with the famous guys! I hope you have a couple of photos...

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  5. It's hilarious to me me how almost everyone who writes about pot "hasn't used it in years", "tried it once and didn't like it", etc.

    This book sounds like a must-have for those of us who smoke/consume it regularly -- for pain relief, fighting nausea, appetite stimulation, and, yes, the buzz. Thanks for bringing it to your readers' attention.

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    1. You're welcome! And Johanna definitely writes as a user, she even mentions her mom requesting a smoke for desert!

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  6. While I can see its value as an ornamental plant, esp. the purple-tinged ones, I can't stand its skunky smell. Cleome is bad enough!

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    1. I've only grown cleome once but I didn't get a distinctive odor, perhaps my plants were defective!

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  7. Most of us old Hippies don't hold a thing against pot. A beautiful plant. There were acres of it grown here in our county last year. What a surprise it was to drive down a county road and see it there in all its glory. ha...

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  8. Not a plant I would grow, but good blog post.

    My Dad a long time ago got a couple of seeds from a buddy's black sheep son and grew a pot plant. Dad's other buddies would come over and they would stand in a circle around the plant, drink beer, and joke about his "dope farm". When it got to be about 2' tall, Mom made him throw it out.

    It did not influence me to become a gardener.

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  9. Back in the day there were no books, but none were needed. There's a reason it's called weed. I can't believe anyone actually pays for it-so easy to grow-a few seeds and you're good.

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    1. Well not everyone thinks like you, a gardener...

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  10. For aging gardeners marijuana has a plethora of health benefits. It stimulates the growth of brain cells, alleviates inflammation and chronic pain. Far more effective and not as damaging than our usual over the counter pain relievers. Not all strains contain hallucinogenic properties. It comes in a variety of products so it doesn't have to be smoked to get the beneficial effects. It's

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    1. Looks like your comment got cut off?

      I've tried CBD oil but I'm not convinced. Maybe I need to try another product...

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  11. I never liked smoking and dope brownies were always too strong. But once I tried a cocktail, it was all over. Give me a Martini or a Manhattan any day over pot. I went to Woodstock but we took red wine. Glad you read the book so my curiosity is satisfied.

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