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Archives for September 28, 2017

New gardening guide offers tips on growing marijuana

They’ve written guides about growing fruit, vegetables, houseplants and more. Now, the authors of a popular gardening series have set their sights on something a little different.

“What’s Wrong with My Marijuana Plant? A Cannabis Grower’s Visual Guide to Easy Diagnosis and Organic Remedies” (Ten Speed Press, 2017), by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth, is the fifth in their “What’s Wrong With…’” series, and is one of the first mainstream gardening books to offer practical advice on a topic some still consider taboo.

“I’ve been interested in medicinal plants for some time,” explains Deardorff. “So it seemed perfectly natural to me to extend our series to ‘What’s Wrong With My Marijuana Plant?’ ”

In the book’s introduction, the authors remind readers that the federal government still considers marijuana an illegal crop. They warn prospective growers to check the laws of their state before planting it. (Home-grown marijuana for recreational use or for sale remains illegal in Washington state, according to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.)

But, Deardorff says, “Medical marijuana is now legal in 26 states. In some of those states you need a medical recommendation to grow it, but in others even recreation growers can now grow it, so it seemed like the timing was right.”

The publisher of the series’ earlier books, Timber Press, declined to publish this one. Just when the authors thought they might have to self-publish, Ten Speed Press agreed to step in.

“Another side to this is that we feel it’s crucially important that any plant to be used medicinally be grown organically, and our book helps people address any problems they encounter during the growing process using organic solutions,” says Wadsworth.

“Our audience is not stoners,” Deardorff adds. “Ninety percent of them are probably older women who are growing marijuana for medicinal uses.”

The book, like the earlier books in this series, takes a visual and diagnostic approach that can be especially helpful for novices.

“We focus on the first symptoms a grower can see with the naked eye. So in our book, there’s a picture of what that problem looks like and a detailed description so you can diagnose the problem. Then you can change the growing conditions accordingly,” Deardorff says.

The book is divided into sections based on the parts of the plant, such as leaf, stem, root or flower.

Because so little research has been done on marijuana in the U.S., largely due to its federal legal status, the authors researched the book by interviewing medical-marijuana growers around the country, including indoor growers, outdoor growers and home growers.

“We combined the information from these visits with research using publications from the Netherlands and Israel,” Deardorff says. He says those countries are leaders in research on medical marijuana.

“In general, it is a good strong weed,” he says. “It grows well. It grows strong. But like any other plant, it does have issues.”

The most common problem for marijuana plants, he says, is mites. And one common mistake, whether marijuana is being grown outdoors or inside in pots, is not using a potting soil that’s sufficiently light and airy. Plant nutrition is another issue, since nutritional needs change over the life of the plant. That requires different fertilizers. And although marijuana plants are generally robust, they can get powdery mildew or aphids.

“A lot of people are still using pesticides to deal with things when they should really be growing it organically, particularly for a weed like this that may be used medicinally,” he says.

What’s next in Deardorff and Wadsworth’s gardening-book series?

“I’m so done with ‘What’s wrong with my whatever’ books,” says Deardorff. “I’m thinking now about the nature of gardens, the interaction between wildlife and plants, something completely different from fruits and vegetables and weeds.”

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4 tips for making your garden a home for wildlife this autumn

We have reached that charming autumnal time of year filled with mists, yellowing leaves and chilly mornings.

For many of us, it heralds our retreat indoors, as we increasingly nestle up in our warm homes. But just before you do that, there are several things you can do to help nature thrive throughout the autumn and winter season.

Gardeners listen up, as the RSPB have offered some practical advice for your wildlife garden, and they suggest less is more….

1. Don’t tidy your autumn garden

It can be tempting to reach for the rake and start tidying your garden manically during autumn, but at this time of year it’s really beneficial for nature to leave any decaying plants as they are, as they provide a layer for mammals and insects to hibernate under when the really cold months hit.

Hollowed stems and seedheads also provide a safe insect refuge from frosts.

If you have already done some leaf sweeping, try gathering the fallen leaves along with dead wood into a pile in your garden. This will offer a cosy home for hedgehogs, insects and other mammals.

2. Ivy is essential this autumn

One of the best plants for your garden wildlife is ivy, especially in autumn and winter. Many flowering plants will start to die during the colder season, whereas ivy flowers are only starting to flourish. These prove to be an important source of food for bees, butterflies and other pollinators when other nectar-bearing plants are dying off.

The evergreen nature of ivy is perfect for sheltering birds and insects while other trees lose all their leaves. If that wasn’t enough, ivy also produces winter berries that are a wonderful food source for birds, who use their energy to control their own body temperature.

Nurturing garden ivy is probably the most important piece of advice for helping nature survive this autumn and winter.

3. Stock up on garden bird food

During September, your garden can seem a little empty of your beloved birds. But this is completely normal as our little feathered friends opt to eat berries within nature’s hedgerows rather than garden bird feeders (Wild Bird Seed Feeder, £14.99, Amazon).

But this being said, it’s important to keep their food and water sources topped up in your garden. As soon as the temperatures drop and the natural berries disappear, birds will appreciate your offering – they rely on high-energy, high-fat winter food to fuel them through the colder months.

4. Help the butterflies in their dormant stage

As time creeps towards winter, you may notice a small tortoiseshell or peacock butterfly on a quiet space on the wall in your home. They will be still as they are entering their dormant stage.

But here lies the problem – when heating is turned on in the house, the butterflies are awoken too early and assume spring has arrived. This is bad as they will die in the outside cold. So try and catch them and place them in an unheated room or outhouse.

(via Country Living)


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Successful gardening tips to be program topic – Record

The Quail Hollow Herb Society will meet from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Quail Hollow State Park Manor House, 13480 Congress Lake Road, Hartville. 

The program begins at 2 p.m. Guest speaker Tom Dayton, owner of Dayton Nursery, will discuss plants to add fall color and give tips for putting a garden to bed so residents will have a successful garden in the spring. The group is looking for more members. For more information, contact Mary Lovin at 330-325-3028.

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Gardening tips for fall

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