HELLIQ,N DE 600-7.50W HPS At 600W setting PPFD = 1200 -1225 umol At 750W setting PPFD = 1500 -1550 umol
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14 SEED SAVING PART 2
CREATE YOUR OWN URBAN ORCHARD
WHO’S GROWING WHAT WHERE
I N TH IS ISSU E O F GA R D EN C U LT U R E :
9 Product Spotlights
54 Policy Influencers
13 Author Spotlight
58 How to Grow a Healthy Society
14 KNF - Seed Soak Solution
64 Trending Now: No Till Movement
18 The Adventures of Seed Priming
68 Create Your Own Urban Orchard
24 Getting Back To Our Roots
74 Yarrow: From Garden Weed To Powerful Medicinal Plant
26 Seed Saving Part 2
34 The 3 Stages of Flower
82 Illinois Valley Hemp - Breaking Ground & Setting Roots
38 From the Archives
88 Best of the Blog: Natural Beekeeping
45 Who’s Growing What Where
92 Green New Deal
48 Are All Mineral Salts Created Equal?
96 5 Cool Ways To Use Pumpkins
53 Ask a Ph.D.
FOREWORD & CREDITS
hen growing outdoors, there are so many potential hazards to plant health that we can’t control. Indoors, is a different story; it’s
all on you. If things are not perfect, something has to change. If it doesn’t, you will never maximize your plant’s potential. Every stage of a plant’s life is different and comes with its own set of challenges.
No matter what you are growing, it all star ts with a seed (or clone); a baby plant, so fragile, so reliant on you to survive and thrive. Getting off to a good star t is vital. Nico Hill, our resident Korean Natural Farming exper t, will give us some organic brews that will help get your seeds popping in KNF - Early Organic Edge. In The Adventures in Seed Priming, he’ll teach us how to get an unfair advantage before they have even sprouted. All stages of a plant’s life contribute to its success. In The 3 Stages of Flowering, Rich Hamilton goes over a plant’s need for a par ticular diet, and how sticking to it can make all the difference. Of course, not all food is equally nutritious, and this goes for plant food too. Callie Seaman, PhD, will break it down in, Are All Mineral Salts Created Equal? This edition is full of gardening goodies, but we also delve a little deeper and cover some heavy social topics. If there is a serious problem in your garden, you will fix it. So, what about the big garden we live on? Evan Folds, Cosmic Knot, and, back from the archives, Everest Fernandez, make us think about human evolution and the choices we make.
CREDITS Special thanks to: Albert Mondor, Andrew Abramson, Anne Gibson, Caroline Rivard, Catherine Sherriffs, Dr. Callie Seaman, Dr. Colin Bell, Evan Folds, Everest Fernandez, Jessica Steinberg, Kyle L. Ladenburger, Martyna Krol, Nico Hill, Rich Hamilton, and Tom Wall. PRESIDENT Eric Coulombe email@example.com +1-514-233-1539 E XCU T I V E ED I TO R Celia Sayers firstname.lastname@example.org +1-514-754-1539 ED I TO R Catherine Sherriffs email@example.com DESIGN Job Hugenholtz firstname.lastname@example.org D I G I TA L & SO CI A L M A R K E T I N G CO O R D I N ATO R Serena Sayers email@example.com +1-514-754-0062 ADVERTISING firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHER 325 Media INC 44 Hyde Rd, Mille-Isles QC, Canada J0R 1A0 GardenCultureMagazine.com ISSN 2562-3567 (Print) · ISSN 2562-3575 (Online)
“The world, as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” - Alber t Einstein Happy Gardening, Eric 3
Garden Culture is published six times a year, both in print and online.
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OI R D Y H
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This LED grow light has a quick and easy installation and the ability to daisy chain several fixtures in a row. Backed by a 5-year warranty and a team of lighting experts available when you need them, ILUMINAR always delivers quality manufacturing, 24/7 customer service, and expert lighting design. Visit ILUMINARlighting.com for all the technical info.
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arden Culture wouldn’t be the magazine it is without our talented and knowledgeable contributors. From lighting specialists and
cannabis industry experts to environmentalists and master gardeners, we’ve got a stellar line-up of writers. Allow us to introduce you to this issue’s featured author, Albert Mondor, biologist and horticulturist.
Is there a motto you grow by? Today is a gift, that’s why it is called the present. Do you grow organically? Why or why not? Yes; organic is the best! I began learning hor ticulture in the late 1970s with my aunt and my uncle, who owned a nursery. We were pioneers in Eastern Canada by producing our own compost and buying seaweed extract from California to fer tilize the plants! With all the allergies and health problems affecting people today, it is clear that pesticides have an impact on us and nature. What is your favorite food? Figs with some goat cheese and walnuts, topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Eating that is like being in paradise! What’s on your playlist right now? The last album from Lettuce (yes, that’s a real band name!) and Salad Days from Mac DeMarco! Where in the world would you like to travel to next? Japan; I traveled that wonderful country 15 years ago. I was amazed by the Zen gardens of Kyoto. I want to go back in the winter to ski and relax in a hot spring in a ryokan. 3
We were pioneers in Eastern Canada by producing our own compost and buying seaweed extract from California to fertilize the plants! Are you interested in writing for Garden Culture Magazine? We’d love to hear from you! Send us an email introducing yourself with a sample of your work. email@example.com 13
BY NICO HILL
KNF y e k w e f ds on a n a h r u plant o y d t e e t g n e o t m r V), Fe ou need R y B ( , r n i a g g e e b N). Vin To H e O ( c i t R n n e i r w t al Nu ts: Bro b n r e e i H d l e r a t g n n i nd Orie a ) J P F ( e juic
SEED SOAK SOLUTION
Looking for an organic way to prime your seeds? Once again, Korean Natural Farming comes to the aid of growers looking to get their seeds off to a flying start; now that you have made all your inputs you need to get them to good use! Where better to start than the birth of life itself?
et’s face it; the early stages of life are most crucial for pretty much any species on Earth. If the start of your life is all stress and turmoil, chances are you’re going to suffer for it at various points throughout your life. On the flip side, if you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth and given all the opportunities you could ever desire,
you are much more likely to become highly successful. Everyone might hate you for the unfair advantage you’ve had, but at least you will be warm and smug come winter while sleeping on your pile of money.
Let’s start at the very beginning A seed soak solution is the Korean Natural Farming’s way of priming your seeds using the myriad of organic inputs you have spent time and effort creating. All of us go through a routine when we plant seeds to get off to a healthy start. This is a little slice of the KNF pie that targets precisely that process. The combination of using the three KNF ingredients in this process imbues the seed with a few qualities that will help it on its merry way.
Let’s face it; the early stages of life are most crucial for pretty much any species on Earth
To begin, you need to get your hands on a few key KNF ingredients: Brown Rice Vinegar (BRV), Fermented plant juice (FPJ) and Oriental Herbal Nutrient (OHN). If you have been keeping yourself up to speed on the previous issues, you might even have them all lying around handy. Give yourself a bonus ten points and pat on the back if you do. If you don’t, then you might end up feeling left out of the cool club. Don’t give up now, do yourself a favor and make said inputs then come back to have your application to the cool club re-considered.
What the chuff does it do then? We should probably get down to looking at why you should go about practicing this hippy nonsense in the first place. The presence of BRV in the solution offers a decent level of pH buffering for the seed in its early development. If you haven’t made any BRV yet, don’t panic, you can just as easily use some other type of vinegar. The FPJ gives the fledgling seeds all the diverse yeasts, hormones, enzymes, and biology you captured at the time of fermenting. The OHN provides organic anti-pathogenic properties to protect the young plant from any nasty diseases wanting to ruin things for you. These three powerhouse ingredients form like Voltron in a solution that your cherished little seeds soak up for a certain
amount of time. During the soaking, the seeds absorb all the properties and goodness from your solution, which in turn helps them form greater beneficial associations with the biology of whatever media you’re going to use. Using an actual living soil, or something similar will work in a much more harmonious way with this method, helping to max-out the potential genetic expressions in your prized tomatoes.
Let’s get Cracking You will be pleased to know that the process is super simple. A little extra effort in the preparation of your new seeds is about to go a very long way. What you will need: • OHN - Organic Herbal nutrient - If you haven’t yet made OHN, leave it out. You will be missing the anti-pathogenic properties of the solution, but being the ‘hardest’ of all KNF inputs to make, chances are you probably don’t have any. • FPJ - Fermented plant Juice - Ideally, try to use one that lends its characteristics towards the growth of a seedling. A dandelion root ferment is an ideal choice. It only takes seven days to make, so if you haven’t got any, start a batch now. • BRV – Brown Rice Vinegar Once again, if you don’t have any and can’t be bothered to make it, use another type of vinegar. Organic apple cider vinegar is always a good go-to in this situation. • Water – H20 - Ideally, free of chlorine and chloramines. So, get yourself an RO machine. If you can’t be bothered, there’s probably a hassle-free alternative you can find in your local shop. • Measuring jug - Depending on what you are soaking, you might not need a lot. A 500ml batch is usually easiest to make. • Measuring Syringe - For consuming all the smack and measuring the other inputs.
ng will i h t t s e d r d. The ha o h t mount e a m t c e l a p x e m i e er-s uging th a g n i It is a sup r o r patience r e e l t d t n i l a l a a t i r u t ar seed, b l be a little u c i t r a p way. your g r n o o f l e a m s i t e of t go and effor
SEED SOAK SOLUTION
During the soaking, the seeds absorb all the properties and goodness from your solution, which in turn helps them form greater beneficial associations with the biology of whatever media you’re going to use How to make it It really couldn’t be simpler: • • • • •
Alternatively, you can use it for a root soak when transplanting young seedlings (or cuttings) or preparing things like strawberry runners or asparagus crowns by soaking before planting. A tree sapling’s root system will also benefit from a seemingly extreme method of application my bro, Chris Trump, advocates: shaking/ washing off the excess soil, then allowing the roots to dry before rehydrating with the solution and planting. The aim is to imbue unto the root zone all the magical properties this natural elixir offers.
When used with true living soil, it works wonders
Measure 500ml of water. Add 1ml of BRV (or 2ml per liter if making more). Add 1ml of FPJ (or 2ml per liter if making more.) Add 0.5ml (or less if aged) of OHN (or 1ml per liter if making more). Use it or store it. It stores very well in an airtight container, ready for use whenever needed. Make sure to keep it in a cool, dry place as per usual.
How to use it:
Blammo – You are now a natural farmer
The most common application is to use the solution for soaking seeds. For this, you only need a tiny amount – enough just to cover your seeds in the container. Pour in a bit of the solution and then pop your seeds in. The soaking time varies on the type of seed you are germinating; nothing is set in stone. Smaller and softer seeds will only need 5 to 10 minutes or so, whereas larger, harder seeds will require significantly more time - basically long enough for the beneficial properties in the solution to make their way into the seed.
It is a super-simple method. The hardest thing will be a little trial and error in gauging the exact amount of time for your particular seed, but a little patience and effort goes a long way. As mentioned earlier, when used with true living soil, it works wonders. It can also be used to benefit in a more typically ‘hydro’ media like coco. Finally (and probably most importantly), it gives you an excellent opportunity to stop spending all your hardearned money on over-priced, glitzy looking plastic bottles with enticing advertising slogans, and to start getting yourself self-sufficient. Win/win for everyone concerned. 3
Brown Rice Vinegar (BRV), Fermented plant juice (FPJ) and Oriental Herbal Nutrient (OHN)
BY NICO HILL
The adventures of
Ever wondered how you can give your plants an unfair advantage before theyâ€™ve even sprouted? Seed priming allows you to give your unborn sprout a boosted start to life that it would never be privileged to in the natural world. 18
here are many different ways to germinate seeds, from simply putting them into some soil to the old ‘wet paper towel’ technique. But we want to go beyond simply getting them to sprout. This article is all about getting the seeds to germinate from a jumpstarted position, putting them
at an advantage for their entire life. Some of the techniques spill over into the typical germination walkthroughs you see dotted around hydro sites, however, their real roots lay embedded within the realms of ‘seed priming.’
Ready the nut Seed priming is doing ‘something’ to your seeds before they germinate, so new life bursts for th with a virility that would put any teenage lad to shame. Unfor tunately, there is not a one size fits all answer. Each species prefers its own methods of priming, and some methods are much more understood than others. Laser priming, for example, sounds like utter bollocks; like a weird par t of a storyline from an old sci-fi B-movie or something, but it is a genuine avenue of research in the plant world right now.
Seed priming is doing ‘something’ to your seeds before they germinate, so new life bursts forth
So, what’s the crack? There are many ways to prime your seed, but of course, the best way to begin is by knowing what the options are in front of you. Some might not be suitable, some you might inadver tently do already, some might even be ludicrously impractical but hey, at least you know what’s what.
with a virility that would put
As indicated by the name, prime the seed by soaking in water for a pre-determined amount of time shame (depending on the species), usually around the 24-hour mark. Closely What does it do? manage the temperature and moisture content to allow Well, depending on the method you go for there are the very first biochemical processes to get going. Do not various advantages, however, priming is probably best allow the first root (radical) to emerge from the seed. known to be responsible for increasing the enzymatic The seed is then dried before it can be transpor ted and activity within a germinating seed. These enzymes, in planted into its field situation, where the rest of the turn, are responsible for metabolizing carbohydrates and germination process will happen at an accelerated rate. proteins the young seedling uses for energy. This extra boost of initial energy can be significant at such a young stage of life, improving seed performance and providing faster and more synchronized germination rates (Soeda et al., 2005; Beckers and Conrath, 2007).
any teenage lad to
The benefits don’t stop there either. It has been well-documented that priming can be beneficial for germination rates of old and somewhat deteriorated seeds. Those heirloom seeds your dad gave you from his tour in ‘Nam may well be able to find life yet! In fact, it was in 1985 that it was found that priming reversed the effects of aging on seeds (Tilden and west, 1985). This effect has been shown repeatedly, recently studied using aged wheat seeds. Surprise, surprise – benefits were immediately prevalent, the findings indicating they grew with improved quality and greater enzymatic activity (Mahmoudi et al, 2012).
Depending on the method you go for there are various advantages, however, priming is probably best known to be responsible for increasing the enzymatic activity within a germinating seed
This is a bit reminiscent to the old soaking in water and paper towel technique growers commonly use, but instead of drying the seed out (as your cupboard is a lot closer than a farmers field), it is put into a wet paper towel to allow the root to emerge, then typically transplanted into a substrate. The below diagram illustrates the difference between a primed and non-primed seed.
Halo Priming – Salt Solution Fairly similar to the hydro-priming technique, only NaCl (salt) solution is used to fur ther regulate the moisture uptake by the seed. Salt attracts water, so even though it is still a liquid, the amount of water getting through to the seed is limited when compared to a pure water solution. The level of control this gives you on the moisture content side of things essentially allows for a finer controlled version of its aqua priming cousin.
Nutrient/chemo priming – Nutrient solution Instead of simply grabbing the kitchen salt out the 20
cupboard, some clever science guys f igured they would use actual plant nutrients in the solution. No surprises that it turned out to have a positive effect. In their maize f ield experiment, zinc and magnesium seed priming increased grain yields by a whopping 15% (Imran Muhammad, Maria Kolla, Römheld Volker & Neumann Günter (2015)). So, with the right concoction of nutrient, your plants can begin their life at a huge advantage. This may seem like an obvious route to follow, but when you consider the many different combinations of nutrients that might or might not do any thing for any given species, obtaining the per fect recipe can become a minef ield!
Matrix Priming This, unfor tunately, does not involve bending the physical space around you upon the realization that your spiritual-self governs all aspects of your f ive sense experience. All it means is combining the seed with some sor t of solid material and water, like perlite or soil. It’s an overly complicated name for what is
There are many ways to prime your seed, but of course the best way to begin is by knowing what the options are in front of you
essentially putting the seed in some soil, but who am I to argue with science?
recognize; it has been shown time and time again to improve seed germination.
It’s not quite as easy as it sounds, of course, as once again, every plant will prefer a different material, but the concept is not exactly rocket science either. Taylor et al in 1988 found that correct matrix priming decreased emergence rates by up to 50% in their study ‘Solid Matrix Priming of seeds’. They also noted increased dry weight across the board for carrots, onions, and tomatoes.
For example, Singh et al in 2016 found that bio priming pea seeds with Trichoderma asperellum significantly increased shoot length, root length, and total dry weight when compared to un-treated peas. This doesn’t seem like much of a surprise considering plants have lived symbiotically with micro-biology for millennia. If anything, it’s a confirmation that Mother Nature has been doing a pretty damn good job all these years by herself.
Bio Priming – Bacterial/fungal Priming As the name suggests, the goal here is to inoculate the seedling with another life form, bacterial or fungal, for them to begin a symbiotic relationship with each other. The idea is to prevent bad bacteria from causing harm to your newly-f ledged seedling. Also, cer tain crops are known to have specif ic benef icial par tners and are generally highly compatible with selected species. Trichoderma harzianum is one such type of life used for bio-priming that a lot of astute readers may
Laser priming This is where it begins to enter the realm of science f iction, although, it is genuinely fact rather than f iction. You’ve probably guessed already, but laser priming involves f iring intense laser beams of various waveleng ths at your un-germinated seed. Being on the tentative side of fringe science, it is little understood but genuinely shows a marked improvement to crops in cer tain circumstances. 21
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Again, sounding like something from the realms of sci-fi land, magneto priming involves subjecting your seedlings with controlled static magnetic fields
In their 2014 paper, ‘Seed Priming techniques may improve grain and oil yields of sunflower’, S Kouchbag (he must have got some stick in the playground) et al concluded that a sunflower’s yield can be successfully improved with laser irradiation before sowing.
Magneto priming Following on from Dr Evil’s sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads trying to get their garden started, Magneto from the X-men has decided to get involved as well. Again, sounding like something from the realms of sci-fi
There are many ways of seed priming and each species has probably a million different options, but after plenty of trial and error, you will arrive at a configuration that increases plant growth rates dramatically
land, magneto priming involves subjecting
The jury is in There are many ways of seed priming and each species has probably a million different options, but after plenty of trial and error, you will arrive at a configuration that increases plant growth rates dramatically. It will probably end up being a clinical
your seedlings with controlled static magnetic fields. Once
replication of the sequential aspects of a seeds’ journey
again, far from being proved a bag of shite, it turned out
as it falls to the forest floor and germinates amongst its
that “Magneto-priming caused a significant increase in height,
natural surroundings, but at least we will have confirmed
leaf area, and dry weight of the plants” (Gajendra R. Rathod,
that it is the best way to do it, according to our humble,
Anjali Anand (2015)). Again, this truly is fringe science, but
modern scientific methods. 3
one that clearly is already showing merit.
Nico Hill - Hydro Nerd at InfiniteMonkey.com Nico has been a keen gardener for many moons. Bitten by the hydroponic bug back in 1998, and hasn’t looked back since! After many years as a hobby, Nico’s career in Hydroponics had its start working for Aquaculture in Sheffield, the UK’s largest and most forward-thinking grow shops of the time. He was then hired by Hydromag, responsible for the hydroponic content. From there, he has worked with CANNA, as editor of CANNAtalk, author of the research articles, and delivering seminars throughout the UK to grow shops on the finer details of cultivating in a hydroponic environment. Nico is now writing for companies in the hydroponic industry.
A Wake-Up Call
BY TOM WALL, COSMIC KNOT
t’s something that needs to be discussed, and yet so many people remain silent. Mental health knows no boundaries and can affect people from all walks of life. It would seem that despite all of our technological advances and potential, we’ve lost sight of ourselves and planet ear th. We don’t regard ourselves as highly as the machines we
seek; we are close to the point of becoming utterly reliant on them.
Our ear th was given to us in per fect It would seem that despite all of our working order. In our origins, nature was there to work with us. Food grew technological advances and potential, we’ve everywhere, the water was pristine lost sight of ourselves and planet earth and life-giving, and the air was full of radiant energies from all of the plants and gigantic trees. The songs of the birds and insects were ever-present depending on their seasons. Ear th was full of life. Today, we live in a world where poison is sprayed on the food we consume. That same poison is used in lakes and streams to keep weeds down, and those same waters flow through drains and sewers, collected as drinking water for “sophisticated cities.” Deforestation has seen some of the planet’s most massive trees chopped to the ground, the very columns that let us breathe and help moderate and stabilize the weather. Cities now stand in the place of trees, and towers bombard the air waves with frequency manipulations. No wonder people are depressed. One can attain all worldly possessions and achieve all of the goals society deems necessary, but what about our internal workings? We are meant to hear the sounds of a forest alive with creatures, and some never will. Our bodies are desperate for fresh water, and yet most will never drink it in their lifetime. We naturally crave food full of ear thy minerals and nutrients, but it’s not accessible to all. The air we breathe should be unpolluted, and it’s not. How have we become so unaware of ourselves? Nature is a source of true happiness. People are never upset that there is still air to breathe; we don’t get depressed about accessing clean water. Eating real food fresh from Mother Ear th is a joy for those who experience it. Studies have proven that people’s moods improve in a forest or natural setting, even if they aren’t the ‘outdoorsy’ type. There is a song out there, for those who will listen, and it can change your life. Food grows everywhere there is nature; clean water isn’t too far away, and you can drink it, only it’s not in a bottle sitting on a shelf. There is such a thing as fresh air, but it’s nowhere near the city or anywhere near roadways or machines. We need all of these things to be healthy, so why do we deprive ourselves of them?
Nature is a source of true happiness
I’m not talking about taking a shor t walk; that is a lifestyle choice that everyone should be doing every day, anyway. Do you want to change the world for the better? Then change yourself. Change the way you look at life; there is so much good out there, and it’s been with us since the beginning of time. Let’s open our minds to the truth of ourselves and what is around us. If we all planted an all-natural garden, there wouldn’t be a hunger problem, and the price of genuinely fresh produce would drop, making it affordable to everyone. We can turn the world back into a garden again. We can stop spraying poison into our lakes, streams, lawns, food crops, and ditches. There are better ways. We need to look at the inner workings of what’s going on. We are par t of the whole ecosystem, and it is out of balance. Let’s work towards balancing our lives back to the good. It star ts one day at a time. Slow down, turn off from society, and take a real look at how beautiful life is. Let’s focus on our relationship with Mother Nature. By focusing on our natural selves, we focus on the good. 3
BIO Tom Wall: Professional Musician, Writer and Gardening Consultant. Cosmic Knot/Therapeutic Horticulture Consultations Growing up on a deer farm located on 79 acres of land along the banks of one of Lake Michigan’s tributaries, Tom grew a love for nature and all the beauties it could hold. Through that passion Tom has channeled his influences into educating the community on sustainable agriculture, becoming an activist, writing for magazines and creating music tuned to nature in his band Cosmic Knot. Follow Tom and all of his passions: https://www.facebook.com/tom.wall.946 https://www.instagram.com/cosmicknotmusic/ artistecard.com/cosmicknot 25
BY ANNE GIBSON
Seed Saving Selecting Seeds and Controlling Pollination
ur food security begins and ends with seeds. Heirloom and organic seeds, in particular, are under threat with the decrease in seed diversity. More growers are needed to develop and grow vegetables and
continue sharing the skills and knowledge required for seed conservation. There is an urgent necessity for the age-old tradition of seed saving, with growers playing the role of privileged seed stewards, to expand into backyards and farms everywhere. With climate conditions everchanging, itâ€™s vital that all gardeners, growers, and farmers play a part in preserving seeds in their own patch to protect biodiversity and resilience in food crops.
“Food plants, grown organically, that have adapted themselves to your garden over generations of seed saving, will perform noticeably better in your kitchen than generalised hybrid plants, grown (and possibly contaminated) by chemical methods far away from your region, and subject to transportation and storage. Good gardening produces good plants and good plants provide wholesome food.” Michael Boddy, author ‘Good Food Book’
Seed saving is an While some farmers save seed on-farm, Seeds to Avoid home gardeners and small horticultural investment, but one Hybrid (and F1) varieties are the growers are also getting involved. Seed result of breeding techniques that usually that returns rich saving groups have popped up all over the involve two highly inbred parent varieties world with small gatherings of dedicated that are genetically different, but the same rewards over time growers meeting regularly to swap, save, plant species. These plants have been and process seeds they’ve grown and collected. While the cultivated with specific characteristics such as high yield or size, steps are relatively simple, there is an ‘art’ to seed selection and but if you save seeds from them, they won’t grow true-to-type. plant pollination before seeds can be harvested, processed, and The results will be very unpredictable. stored. F1 Hybrids have to be created every time by crossing the same Seed saving is an investment, but one that returns rich rewards parents. They are bred for uniformity and ‘hybrid vigor’ – a blend over time. Food sovereignty is our greatest wealth, and seeds are of qualities that enable the plant to grow more successfully than valuable stock. Preserving our best plants for future generations either of its parents. by careful seed selection and plant breeding yields an asset of great value. Hybrid plants do not give reliable results for seed saving. They So how does one determine which plant seeds to start with as will be sterile, or the next generation may vary widely in their breeding ‘stock’? characteristics, uniformity, vigor, and maturity. These types of seeds suit farmers who require uniform ripening and consistently sized produce to meet market deadlines and make harvesting What Seeds to Save and production much easier. However, they typically need high When so many plants provide a wealth of free seeds, it’s a waste inputs of fertilizers and pesticides to achieve such standardized not to harvest this potential bounty. However, not all seeds are production. equally valuable or suitable. GM (Genetically modified) seeds are the result of laboratory processes where genes from the DNA of one species Chili paprika (such as a herbicide) are extracted and artificially inserted into seed variety the genes of an unrelated plant. Techniques involving genetic isolated with modification differ from traditional genetics using methods organza bag such as selective breeding, tissue cultures, and hybridisation that and labeled for assist nature but do not bypass natural laws. There are many identification documented studies on the health risks of GM crops, as well as ethical and environmental concerns about GM seeds and plants. From a seed saving perspective, they are not suitable. GM seeds are patented so cannot be legally reproduced without paying royalties.
Dry bean seeds in pod seed packet 27
So, if you avoid hybrid and GM seeds, what types of seeds are suitable for seed saving?
Best Seeds to Save
If you’re going to save seeds, it’s worth revising basic botany skills regarding plant pollination
Open-pollinated seeds. These seeds are pollinated naturally by insects, birds, animals, wind, and moisture. They will produce plants that are ‘true-to-type’ or be clones of the parent. Openpollinated seeds come from stable, non-hybrid varieties of plants resulting from pollination between the same or genetically similar parents. They are also known as ‘true’ or ‘pure-bred seeds’. The parent plants produce matching seeds – similar to identical siblings! All the plant family look and behave the same. To avoid chemically treated seeds when growing food crops, it’s ideal to source untreated, certified organic or heirloom varieties. Certified organic seeds mean they have not just been grown organically (without any chemicals) but originated from certified organic seeds.
beans have more flowers and pods, or they are more drought-resistant the second year. Over time, this natural selection process encourages greater diversity and adaptation to the new environmental conditions with each generation, until the plants are strong and at their best.
Pollination If you’re going to save seeds, it’s worth revising basic botany skills regarding plant pollination. Most vegetables and herbs have complete flowers with both the male and female parts in the same flower. Some complete flowers, like lettuce, tomato, peas, and beans are self-pollinated. Because the male and female parts are so close to each other in tightly closed flowers, the slightest movement from wind, insects, or birds causes the pollen to transfer. Some self-pollinating varieties that will ‘inbreed’ naturally to a degree including lettuces, capsicum, chili, and tomatoes. Spring onions in flower with maturing seed heads in sufficient numbers for variability
Corn cobs with dried kernels save for seed Heirloom or heritage seeds are non-hybrid varieties that have been passed down from one generation to the next but are not usually used in modern agriculture. These are sometimes the weird and wonderful varieties we don’t see anymore in the supermarket and are generally open-pollinated varieties. Heirlooms are preserved for their high-value characteristics including flavor, size, color, aroma, resilience to pest or disease, and high yields. Local varieties are cultivars that have been grown in one region over a long period. Sometimes, you can track down the history of regional varieties through seed companies that pride themselves on supporting local seed savers and have records of the origins, or seed saving organizations. From personal experience, I’ve noticed that when I first sow seeds from another region, the plants aren’t necessarily at their optimum in the first year. They’re acclimatizing! However, after one season in my soil and microclimate, they have adapted to retain a new level of resilience. Sometimes, I’ve noticed the plant grows taller or
Cross-Pollination Other types of complete flowers are open, and they need their pollen to be transferred by bees, insects, humans, or wind. This is called open-pollination because these plants are incomplete and have imperfect flowers or male and female parts on separate plants, requiring cross-pollination. You can also hand pollinate many crops, including pumpkins, zucchinis, cucumbers, corn, and spinach. Some plants are quite promiscuous and will cross-pollinate freely with neighboring varieties! Vegetables in the Brassica oleracea or cabbage family are a good example. If cabbages and cauliflower are going to seed in close proximity at the same time, the result may be a cauliflower-cabbage cross!
Most Plants Require Isolation for Purity Many vegetables and flowers must be kept isolated from similar varieties of the same species during flowering to avoid crosspollinating and gene mixing. Seeds saved from plants that have been cross-pollinated by other varieties do not reproduce trueto-type. Instead, cross-pollinated seeds produce plants with an unpredictable mix of traits from both varieties. 29
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One factor to consider is the number of days of warm weather required to produce harvestable seed. Annuals, Biennials, and Perennials
Garden sketch design plan for spacing and isolation of plants for seed saving
Plan your garden to give plants the room they need to avoid crossing. Even if you are not saving seed from a particular variety, it may still pollinate other plants that you are growing for seed. A little time spent laying out your garden before planting can save time and effort later - and can make the difference between producing pure seeds or crossed ones. There are seed saving charts available with ideal distances and methods of isolation so you can choose a method that suits what you want to grow. It’s best to start with easy seeds like lettuce or radish and progress to more complicated varieties.
3 Ways to Keep Seeds Pure You can isolate these crops by: • Time. Stagger planting and saving seeds, so varieties don’t overlap; • Physical barriers. Cover the seed heads with a bag or cage with fine net or mesh to prevent insects carrying the pollen from one plant to the next; • Sufficient distance. Grow plants apart so pollen or insects carrying pollen won’t travel between them. Harvest of colorful heirloom tomato varieties
It’s vital to know what kind of plant you are saving seed from. They are divided into three types: • Annuals are plants that complete their life cycle or produce seed and die, in one growing season. For example, lettuce, beans, peas, pumpkins, cucumbers, melons, basil, coriander, broccoli, and annual radishes. • Biennials require two seasons to complete their life cycle and then produce seed and die. These include cabbages, onions, leeks, beetroot, parsnips, celery, parsley, and carrots. • Perennials live for a minimum of three years, but some can live for decades. They usually can produce seed and not die. Edible perennials include many herbs, such as oregano, thyme, and rosemary, as well as berries, rhubarb, artichoke, asparagus, tomatoes, eggplant, and chilis. Seed saving is not as imperative for these plants as it is for annuals.
Days to har vest One factor to consider is the number of days of warm weather required to produce harvestable seed. Short maturity crops like coriander can take only 100 days, whereas it could take bean pods 4-5 months before they are mature and ready. Cool climate growers may need to experiment to determine which vegetables and herbs can produce sufficient seeds. Using a greenhouse and sowing early may help extend the season.
Seed Location Know where to find seeds on the plant: • Seed heads - flowers develop on a stem and then seeds form. e.g., lettuce, parsley, basil, carrot, dill, silverbeet, beetroot, coriander, parsnip, and fennel. • Pods - flowers develop then small elongated pods form. e.g., rocket, mustard, peas, beans, broccoli, tatsoi, and cabbage. • Fruits - seeds are contained inside the skin. e.g. tomatoes, capsicums, chilies, cucumbers, pumpkin, eggplant, or in the case of strawberries on the fruit.
Selection Criteria You will need to make some tough decisions about which plants have ideal attributes. Also, be prepared to sometimes sacrifice your crop harvest to save seed. You need to think about the number of plants you’re going to grow carefully. The size of the gene pool impacts how many plants you dedicate for seed collection versus harvesting to eat. While you can technically get away with saving a small quantity of seed from one or two plants for some varieties, collecting seed from multiple plants will encourage maximum diversity. Even in the same garden, soil, moisture, pH, and microclimate conditions can differ significantly, and the more variability, the better the seed quality can be. 31
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Just like we weed our garden, you also need to remove poor performers that are weak or have undesirable plant traits; a practice called roguing. Avoid weak, pest-attacked, droughtstressed plants or any that bolt to seed quickly.
Organic farmers are particularly vulnerable to the reduction in seed availability and diversity
Saving seeds from specimens with ideal characteristics requires careful observation. Use tags early during the growing season to identify plants for saving with their variety name, dates and other criteria you are saving them for.
healthy, and minimally stressed during early seed formation and development. Give seed-producing plants plenty of water, light, and fertilizer early in their lives, so that they are healthy when flowering commences.
When some plants mature, they send up a stem. With the additional weight of the flowers and seeds, they may fall over, so staking may be necessary for support to avoid damage.
Choose healthy, robust disease-free plants to avoid passing disease pathogens onto new generations. Look for characteristics you do want, including superior flavor, color, size, and high yielding varieties. Save seeds from plants that bear early, are slow to bolt to seed, are drought-hardy, or disease-resistant.
Early Seed Formation Once you’ve chosen your ideal plant for saving seed, nurture it so it will be in the best health possible to produce a new generation of plants and seeds. During the reproduction phase of a plant’s life cycle, it has a greater need for water, nutrients, and protection until it is fully mature. The health of your seeds begins with the plants that produce them. The time when your plants are first beginning to flower is especially crucial to final seed viability. Plants should be strong, Dried bean pods on green bean vine - vital to maintain plant health right through to maturity
Watering During Seed Formation Sufficient moisture at flowering time is essential to successful pollen development and flower set. Too little water during flower initiation and early seed development lowers seed yields, and can even hurt the health and vigor of your mature seeds. However, dry conditions are preferable during the latter stages of seed maturation. This is when seeds have formed and are drying in preparation for dormancy. Dry conditions are most favorable to the final vigor, viability, and storage life of your finished seeds. If mature seeds get wet from watering or rain, this slows their natural process of preparing for dormancy, extending the time during which their stored food reserves must be used for respiration. This lowers the seeds’ final dry weight and shortens their storage life. Repeated wetting and drying of mature seeds on the plant delays dormancy excessively, and can also damage seeds due to alternate swelling and shrinking of seed tissues. If they are left on the plant during rainy periods, seeds may even mold or mildew in their pods or husks. For these reasons, it is best to harvest your seeds and bring them inside for final drying as soon as they are fully mature and dry— especially if rains threaten. With a little planning and careful selection, your time and effort invested in saving seeds will pay off. Just like a nest egg for a rainy day, starting a seed ‘bank’ of your own can be a profitable way to secure your future food security. 3
BY RICH HAMILTON
e h T
e e r h T Of
s e g a t S
Unders tanding t he Fl owering cycl e
THE 3 STAGES OF FLOWER
very stage of a plant’s growth demands a specific, balanced mix of nutrients and minerals. Flowering is busy; a period when plants direct all of their energy and resources away from overall growth and focus on producing the best flowers and fruits possible.
Learning to read your plants comes with time and experience There are several different stages of plant development. The various lifecycle stages are as follows: • • • •
Germination (if growing from seed) Propagation Vegetation Flowering
By understanding the phases within each ‘main stage’ of the lifecycle, you can work with them and tailor nutrition to push your plant to its maximum output
Each of the life stages divides into smaller individual phases, where plants perform many complex processes and have specific nutritional needs. By understanding the phases within each ‘main stage’ of the lifecycle, you can work with them and tailor nutrition to push your plant to its maximum output. The flowering stage can be broken down into three phases: • • •
Early flower Mid flower Late flower/ripening
By using the correct flowering additives at the right time, you can work with the plant’s natural growth rhythm to achieve phenomenal results. For this article, I’ll be using as an example a photoperiodism-sensitive, fruit-bearing plant with a 9-week flowering cycle.
- the transition phase (weeks 1-3) Early flower occurs when plants cross over from vegetative growth to the production of flowers and fruits. When growing indoors, signal this period to your plants by changing the light cycle to 12/12 (lights on for 12 hours and lights off for 12 hours). A plant’s move from the vegetative stage into flowering will not happen overnight. The transition phase generally lasts for an average of two weeks, but depending on species, this can sometimes take up to three weeks. In growing terms, transitioning is referred to as ‘the stretch’. The plant shoots up in height, and flower sites begin to develop. General foliage growth will also continue as the plant takes time to re-program itself into full flower mode. Most feeding schedules for this phase will be simi-
lar to the last week of the vegetative stage, except for the introduction of a flowering additive. A flowering additive perfect for use during this early transitional phase should adequately support the plant’s last burst of general growth. It should also supply the plant with additional nutrients, resulting in a boost in the number of potential flowering sites.
Phosphorus helps boost the root system and potassium assists with flower and fruit formation. An early flowering additive works by increasing the production of metabolic triggers within the plant, which in turn, can increase the number of flowering sites from an average of 30-50% of the stem nodes to a whopping 70% or more! If you want more flowers, you need more flowering sites; using a flowering additive in this phase is essential to laying the foundations of a bumper yield.
- developing and gaining size (weeks 3-6) Often in the third week of flower and certainly by the start of the fourth, the plants switch into full flower mode. Flower formations may still be small and relatively unformed at this point, but they should be present. From weeks four through six, flowers or fruits develop rapidly, growing in size and weight daily. This productive stage signals a new era for the plants and along with it, a new set of nutritional needs. Plants need more phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) during flowering, especially during this phase. This is the time when increasing the dosage of the early flowering additive is a good idea, along with the addition of a PK 13/14 additive. PK13/14 acts like a chemical switch that tells the plant to cease all root, stem, and leaf growth and re-direct all energy to growing flowers and fruits instead. Once fruit or flowers begin to develop, the plant’s need for phosphorus and potassium will significantly increase. Phosphorus is crucial to the plant’s metabolism, the transferring of energy, and the strengthening of the cell formation in flowers. Potassium helps transport water and nutrition around the plant, improving plant quality and strength. It also controls sugar production, which is essential for flower development and terpene production. 35
MYCLOBUTANIL RISK THE 3 STAGES OF FLOWER
T hgreeseO f
een ter w t e b sas ine i l d e e n t i ery f a comple v a s i d T h e r e r e s u lt s a n able believ
The recommended time to apply a PK13/14 additive is three weeks before harvest, which can be anywhere between weeks four and six, depending on what you’re growing. Feeding schedules vary, but general guidelines recommend using it for anywhere between three and six days. Extended exposure to PK 13/14 can lead to an accumulation of nutrient salts in the medium, which in turn cause deficiencies by locking out other nutrients.
PK13/14 acts like a chemical switch that tells the plant to cease all root, stem, and leaf growth and re-direct all energy to growing flowers and fruits instead
- ripening and maturation (weeks 6-9) This final phase of flowering is when the fruits of your labor ripen and mature, so they’re ready for harvest. At this point, fruit-bearing plants experience the most growth and gain the most weight. With the use of the correct flowering additives at the right ratios, bigger, heavier fruits with increased flavors will likely develop. Sometimes referred to as ‘a finisher,’ a ripener/weight gainer supplies the plant with extra phosphorus and potassium. It also encourages the plant to use any nutrients it may have been storing. Ripener and weight gainers can also include small amounts of nitrogen, magnesium, and a complex mix of hormones and catalytic agents designed to enhance the weight, size, and production of oils in the fruits.
Potential Problems Problems with using additives are common when administered at the incorrect developmental stage. Some growers cannot resist the temptation to increase the dosage levels of ripeners and weight gainers in a bid to push the plant to its maximum potential. It’s a gamble, and one that rarely pays off. Overfeeding can cause nutrient-lock, which stops a plant’s nutrient uptake and growth. Learning to read your plants comes with time and experience.
The feeding schedule for nutrients and additives is a guide that should be followed as closely as possible. Every species and plant strain is different, and while some plants thrive at a higher dosage level than recommended, always approach such actions with caution. Increase dosage amounts slightly, by only 0.5ml at a time. There is a very fine line between unbelievable results and a complete disaster. The flowering stage is more complicated than it would first appear. Working in sync with what nature intended is essential during this time. By understanding what a plant’s needs are in each phase, you can use flowering additives and ripeners to produce phenomenal results. 3
An industry veteran with over 20 years experience in a variety of roles, Rich Hamilton is currently a business development manager for a large UK hydroponics distributor. The author of Growers Guide book series, Rich also writes on all aspects of indoor gardening, as well as being an independent industry consultant working closely with hydroponic businesses worldwide. 37
BY EVAN FOLDS
BY EVEREST FERNANDEZ
BORN TO WORK
AND THE ILLUSION OF CON S E NT
This article originally appeared in the very first issue of Garden Culture Magazine. After reconnecting with author Everest Fernandez recently at the Autopot Summer Social in the UK, we’ve decided to run it again. All of these issues later, the article remains relevant.
f you’ve got kids, you’ll probably hear these words on a daily basis. It’s not that “fairness” is a childish concept; it’s more that the idea
establishes itself so early that it runs to the ver y foundations of our collective consciousness and remains there for the rest of our lives. Indeed, as we grow older many of us hold on to the belief that we possess an intrinsic ability to recognize when a situation is equitable. In reality though, this world of perhaps, with the hope of modifying fairness and equity is dependent our consensual agreement? Of course, In reality though, on one thing; our brains and our you might inform me that I can “keep this world of willingness to exercise them. For my milk” or other choice words to fairness and equity instance, if I declare myself the that effect. So what if I choose to avoid “leader” of a remote Polynesian confrontation by secretly diluting your is dependent on one island and convince its inhabitants “pint of milk” with rainwater? Just a thing; our brains and that I am their deity incarnate whom few drops at first so as not to raise our willingness to they must please with daily offerings your suspicions, yet slowly but surely, exercise them of their youngest, fairest maidens, over the course of a year or so, I while the men labor all day in the diluted the milk to the point where it’s fields and copper mines so that I, the actually fifty percent water! I’m patting Great Lord Everest, may be glorified and gracious in sparing myself on the back for executing this change so gradually, while them my wrath. The islanders, if taken in by this almighty all along you are none the wiser! I laugh with contempt at your bounder, may conclude that their situation is quite fair and hapless children, for watery milk is all they’ve ever known! just. It’s a square deal: they offer up their bodies for sexual and Moooooohahahahaha! Another generation of suckers is born! agricultural services in exchange for my “wrath” being spared. On the other hand, as an outside observer, you might conclude Perhaps I’m guilty of overly-indulging this example. Maybe that they’re being exploited for their ignorance. I’m assuming a little too much naiveté on your part? Surely you’d detect that something was up with the milk, wouldn’t If that example seems a little weak then picture another you? Nevertheless, emboldened by your seemingly scenario, a little closer to home perhaps. Let’s say you and boundless gullibility, I decide to take my scam to a whole I are neighbors, living out in the lesser-trodden parts of the new level. Instead of giving you watered-down milk, one Humboldt countryside in Northern California. Add to this day I turn up at the garden fence with something entirely blissful scene a single cow grazing on my ample pastureland. new. It’s a piece of paper. I call it a “milk certificate.” And you, perhaps not enjoying so grand an estate, are content “You can redeem this for ‘real milk’ anytime! (Wink, wink)” I to take care of a small brood of chickens. Now, I’m not assure you, “What’s more, you can use these milk certificates suggesting that this situation is unfair. I may have chosen to as payment in trades with other vendors. It’s so convenient work longer and harder for my larger slice of this fine Earth. for you! And, best of all, you don’t have to keep them in the But, in the spirit of community, we choose to share stuff. I refrigerator!” like eggs and you like milk, so we agree to make a swap each morning: a pint of my (or Daisy’s) milk for two of your Okay, by now you’ve guessed it; we’re talking about money, (chickens’) eggs. What could be simpler than this direct barter? not milk. But this milky analogy needs a few modifications Notwithstanding our animals’ rights or wrongs, so long as we before it even comes close to accurately reflecting our present humans establish mutual consent, we can share and enjoy our predicament of economic slavery. You see, up until 1971, a collective resources and life seems a whole lot more sunnydollar was redeemable for gold. Gold was chosen because side-up for the both of us. it was viewed as universally valuable. People, knowingly or unknowingly, accepted dollar bills in exchange for real goods However, here’s where the plot begins to curdle. What if I or services backed by a belief that these little pieces of paper awoke one morning intent on pursuing a more favorable deal would be later accepted by others—and an assurance that for myself—say, just half a pint of milk in exchange for your they were also convertible into physical gold at any time—well, two eggs? What then? A civil discussion over the garden fence, during banking hours at least.
So long as we humans However, since the dollar they were going to be incredibly was decoupled from the gold wealthy, but the amount of goods establish mutual consent, standard, it has lost around and services available back home we can share and enjoy 90% of its purchasing power. had not really changed. Result? our collective resources Thinking back to our milk for Prices simply went up!) The real eggs exchange, you might be privilege of the super-rich is their and life seems a whole lot tempted to picture a bottle priority lane access to this newly more sunny-side-up for the of slightly cloudy water being created money. In essence, it’s not both of us... handed to you over the garden so much the quantity of money fence, or a fistful of worthless they have, but the fact that they “milk certificates.” But think get to spend it into circulation again. For, if I am assuming the first, before the rest of us cotton role of the banker in this scenario, I’m actually asking you to on to the fact that it’s been watered down. By the time these borrow some pieces of paper (with no mention of milk, eggs, dilute dollars finally meander to you and me, it’s little more than sex, honey or anything else that’s tangible) and pay interest for cloudy water, or symbolic cloudy water, or … confused? Good. the privilege! All these pieces of paper represent is your debt Now get back to work. to me—a debt that I have created out of nothing, meanwhile you pledge to forfeit your house if you don’t keep up the Perhaps we need to ask ourselves this very simple question: what repayments! Perhaps the Polynesian islander’s example wasn’t is money? Don’t shy away from it—no need to overcomplicate it so far out of whack? either. You don’t want to spend your life chasing an enigma now do you? Don’t leave this to the “experts”—the people whose With the woe-is-us-machine we know and love as the Internet career depends on maintaining their intellectual propriety with now running on all twelve-cylinders, it’s easy to blame Wall confusion and obfuscation. You shouldn’t make the mistake of Street greed, the Illuminati, the neoconservatives, the royal thinking that money is intrinsically a bad or evil thing either. At family—anybody, in fact, but ourselves for the mess we’re the very least concede that it’s very useful stuff, helping us to in. But the inescapable fact is the only thing that holds up transcend the limitations of direct barter. Problems really occur our monetary system is our persistent belief in it and our when we seek money as if it were the true wealth in and of itself, unwillingness to embrace viable alternatives. Our problem is rather than merely a symbolic means of exchange. one of philosophy, not politics. How have so many of us been hoodwinked into accepting such an absurd tautology: a dollar So what are we to do? Should we join some protest movement is worth another dollar—what sort of insidious, circular, waving “End the Fed” banners? Should we petition our recursive symbolism is this? But then, take these dollars away governments for greater freedoms, or is that, as the monetary and how are you going to pay for your groceries? prophet E.C. Reigel wrote over fifty years ago, just an absurd act of deference, “wholly lacking the spirit of a freeman.” In short, You really don’t need a PhD in economics (or any other are we going to take responsibility for the mess we’re in, or are pseudo-science for that matter) to understand that as more we going to let “the economists” sort it all out for us? make-believe money is pumped into the financial system, the purchasing power of each dollar is diluted, just like the All facetiousness aside for a moment, one by one, we are indeed nourishment of our watery milk. This is inevitable so long as waking up to the fact that something is very wrong. Looking at an inflated money supply chases the same amount of goods the world with the eyes of our ancients we realize a fundamental and services. (The Spanish discovered this when they returned truth—our monetary system has been corrupted to one where from the Americas with boats laden with gold. They thought national sovereignty is a joke on a naive populous. 41
We are collectively enslaved Unlike an inch or a centimeter, Perhaps we need to ask to ‘unelected’ central banks the dimensions of a dollar keep ourselves this very simple through usurious and changing. We call this “inflation.” fraudulent money systems, an But how then can we measure question: what is money? eternally un-payable “debt,” “value” using these shapeDon’t shy away from it—no created out of nothing but our shifting units of exchange? It’s need to overcomplicate it promise to repay. It is a deeply almost as if we are confusing absurd and untenable situation the item being measured with either. You don’t want to for any person to endure. Yet the ruler it’s being measured spend your life chasing an the mainstream media persist in on. Are you beginning to see enigma now do you? echoing the bankers’ threats of the magician’s sleight of hand? the sky falling down and untold Money has no real value. misery if we don’t put up with Crucially, take note that a global the status quo. Heaven forbid if scale of value is not the same enough people discover the truth—that we don’t actually need thing as a global currency. Moreover, a global scale of value banks at all in order to issue currency and trade with each would give birth to thousands, maybe millions of different other, on a personal, corporate or even national level. currencies, not just one—but they would all be measured on the same scale, and all of them backed by goods and services in The Internet has helped us share our ideas, but its real power is common demand. The ratio of credit to demand (i.e. offers to in the creation of a common monetary language. Forget about buy vs. offers to sell a company’s credit token) can be instantly “internet-banking”—that’s just a sideshow. Imagine a new form evaluated, thanks to the Internet, meaning the actual value of of money, issued by the producers of this world. By producers the credits in circulation can adjust in real time. The idea of I mean the corporations that generate our electricity, or money as fluid and self-correcting, does not reward greed and make our computers, or grow the tomatoes. Imagine money is based on real goods and services. It may be a little tricky to backed, not by debt, or by gold (or tungsten) but by … wait grasp at first but really we’re only describing a world where for it … real stuff. Cars, beef burgers, Thai massages, goods the monopoly over the issuance of credit, currently enjoyed by and services that we use every day. Sounds unbelievable? Well, banks, has been removed. If this sounds crazy then remember, so did the concept of a spherical earth to most people a few so did the idea that the world was a sphere and that there were thousand years ago. It’s time to unplug from the Matrix. potentially people living “upside-down.” At the center of it all is a global scale of value. What’s that? Well, think of an inch. Or, if you prefer, think of a centimeter, a foot, a mile, or a furlong. Where would we be without these universal units of length? Now imagine if we created the same thing, but for value. Of course, we’ve been conditioned into mistaking our monetary units as our value units. When we talk about the value of things we invariably think in terms of dollars, or pounds, or yen, don’t we? This beautiful, shiny phone costs $799. This car costs $25,000. This house is valued at $500,000. We need to stop thinking like this. This ignorance is at the kernel of our enslavement to the bankers. We are guzzling watery milk without so much of a whimper of complaint. Now it’s time for a good burping.
Ultimately, the real treasure of this planet is you and I. It’s time for the credit commons to be restored to the people instead of being monopolized by bankers who create nothing. Until enough of us wake up to their false pretentions towards deity, docile and malleable human beings will remain the ultimate resource to be controlled, manipulated and exploited. 3
Everest Fernandez is a well-respected industry educator, veteran hydroponic grower and grow light enthusiast, based in France. He works primarily as a marketing and cultivation consultant and was the founding editor of Urban Garden Magazine in the UK, US and Canada. He also writes and researches for the popular hobby horticulturalist YouTube channel, Just4Growers.
Footnote: Everest Fernandez did not accept any legal tender in return for writing this article, but that doesn’t necessarily imply he wasn’t paid. 43
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Credit: Long Dream Farm
Have you ever considered life from a cow’s perspective? Many of us can’t say we have, but the good people at Long Dream Farm can. They operate through the idea that food production involving animals can be done ethically and that the happiness of the farm animals should come first. The farm is cruelty and slaughter-free, producing high-quality dairy along with chicken and emu eggs. Cows, bulls, and calves are showered with love from humans and live on the farm their entire lives within their family groups. They mingle with the chickens and roosters throughout the day, who also enjoy free access to pasture and eat insects and other hormone-free treats. Products including greek yogurt, ice cream, butter, and cheeses are made on-site within one or two days of milking, resulting in the freshest dairy products possible.
Happy and healthy; living the dream. Learn more: longdreamfarm.org
Hyde Park, VT
It’s difficult not to be immediately taken by the beauty of Zack Woods Herb Farm. Located in the heart of green mountains in northern Vermont, Jeff and Melanie Carpenter have dedicated themselves to the land, treating it with ultimate respect. They started their dream of sustainable farming in 1999, and have been growing certified organic medicinal herbs ever since. Nurturing and protecting nature comes first, and as a result, their live, fresh, and dried botanicals and herb teas are of the highest quality. Education is essential, and over the years, they’ve worked with herbalists, farmers, and researchers from around the world to improve their practices and products. They also host educational tours, workshops, and classes to share knowledge about the cultivation and preservation of medicinal flowers and herbs. Dedicated to healing plants, people, and the planet. Learn more: zackwoodsherbs.com
Credit: Zack Woods Herb Farm
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Fish and Greens
Credit: AquaGrow Farms
Eating well is expensive, and AquaGrow Farms knows that not everyone has access to fresh, healthy foods. The 800-square-foot urban farm grows produce and protein in a warehouse at The Mississauga Food Bank, distributing it to the hungry year-round. It uses an aquaponics system, a form of agriculture that combines fish farming with hydroponics. Equipped with six grow beds, a seedling nursery, and three fish tanks, the urban farm produces 2,500 servings of tilapia and 28,000 servings of greens annually. Considering that poverty affects 15% of the population in the area, the nutritious harvests make a world of difference in the community. Ultra-efficient, the aquaponics system takes just 60 days to put fresh food on the table. Providing access to healthy foods for all. Learn more: aquagrowfarms.ca
Credit: The Food Pedalers
Special Delivery You don’t stumble upon an urban farming system like this one every day. The Food Pedalers is a unique organization; it grows certified-organic microgreens year-round in a converted 40-foot shipping container and delivers it by bicycle. Cheap, fast, and ecofriendly, trailers pulled in tandem get the products to farmer’s markets, restaurants, and homes throughout the Vancouver area on the same day of harvest. Sunflower shoots, pea shoots, buckwheat shoots, and radish shoots grow in abundance with the sweetest wheatgrass in town! Fresh, ecological, and unique, The Food Pedalers stand out for all the right reasons. Using recycled space and bicycles. Learn more: foodpedalers.ca/wordpresssite 3
BY DR. CALLIE SEAMAN
R aw rock is of t en l aced w i t h orga nic m at t er a nd o t her t ox ic el emen t s, s o bef ore t he y c a n be u sed, a p urif ic at ion p roce s s mus t ta k e p l ace
A re A l l
Miner a l Sa lt s Cre at ed Equa l?
(The simple answer is no!) 48
T he l e v el of ref inemen t f or f er t il izer is rel at i v ely l ow a nd m a inly f ocu se s on remov ing or reducing he av y me ta l c on t en t, w hich end s up in t he f ood ch a in if a p p l ied t o crop s
ineral salts are solid materials dug from the ground that have undergone processing to purify them. Acid digestion or the addition of another compound causes a precipitation reaction, hence the salts.
Pure mineral salts do not contain organic matter. These include calcium nitrate, potassium phosphate (AKA MPK), potassium nitrate, and magnesium sulfate. The microelements such as zinc, copper, iron, and manganese can all be supplied in the sulfate salt form; however, these forms are not bioavailable. Sulfate is comparable to a clingy ex who just won’t let go!
In the hydro world, the majority of high-quality nutrient products use this grade of minerals; its relatively high purity of 80-99% results in a quality end-product
Commonly used forms are chelated with compounds such as EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), EDDHA (ethylenediamine-N, N-bis 2 hydroxyphenyl acetic acid) or DTPA (diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid). The solubility of these dictates to which chelator is used, which is why ETDA is the most commonly applied.
Issues, however, do arise with plants, as ETDA can cause cell lysis, resulting in cell bursting. Boron, on the other hand, is supplied as an acid, with only hydrogen to eliminate. Table 1 gives some examples of the chelated micronutrients.
Base nutrients and nutrient-based additives often contain mineral salts such as potassium nitrate, monopotassium phosphate, and magnesium sulfate. These types of salts contain no carbon and are referred to as inorganic compounds. They are usually derived from rocks mined from the ground, which were deposited thousands of years ago. Raw rock is often laced with organic matter and other toxic elements, so before they can be used, a purification process must take place. After extraction from the earth, the rock is treated with heat, acids, or an alkaline solution to purify it to the elements of interest. The extent of the process is dictated by the purity or grade of the chemical. Low purity chemicals are often used for industrial purposes, such as lubricants, cleaners, and building materials.
Fertilizer Grade Funny enough, one of the lowest grades is ‘fertilizer grade’. This salt purity is typically used in the agriculture sector and applied to fields in huge quantities. The level of refinement for fertilizer is relatively low and mainly focuses on removing or reducing heavy metal content, which ends up in the food chain if applied to crops.
Iron FeEDTA Fe 3+, Fe 2+ FeDTPA FeSO 4·7H 2O Zinc ZnEDTA Zn 2+ ZnCl 2 ZnSO 4·7H 2O Manganese MnEDTA Mn2+ Copper CuEDTA Cu 2+, Cu+ CuSO 4·5H 2O Molybdenum (NH 4)6 Mo7O24
Boron H3 BO3 Na 2B 4 O7·10H 2O
BO33- , B 4 O7 2-
The fertilizer grade can be further split into two sub-grades: agricultural and horticultural. The agricultural grade is usually coarser and the particles larger in size. The horticultural grade is smaller in particle size and dissolves easily in water. It also contains microelements (Fe, Zn, Cu, etc.), as opposed to only macroelements (NPK). The term ‘fertilizer grade’ is more of a legal guarantee referencing the available plant nutrients, and their ratios stated on the products.
Technical Grade The next grade up is known as ‘technical grade’. This grade is used for industrial applications where higher quality chemicals improve performance. While high in purity, these chemicals are typically toxic to humans and are not intended to be consumed. Some of the higher grades are fit for human consumption and can be used in food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics, but only if correctly certified. In the hydro world, the majority of high-quality nutrient products use this grade of minerals; its relatively high purity of 80-99% results in a quality end-product. 49
T he c o s t of t he se chemic a l s is a s t ronomic a l due t o t he l e v el s of p urif ic at ion required, a nd t heref ore, a re ne v er f ound in t he h y drop onic nu t rien t worl d Lab Grade The next highest purity is ‘lab grade.’ Lab grade chemicals are 90-99% pure and are designed for use in schools, universities, and laboratories. They are more expensive than technical grade and are unlikely to be used in any hydro industry products.
Analytical Grade At the very top of the bunch, we can find the analytical grade chemicals, which are 99.9999% pure. These chemicals are used in very small quantities for analysis of samples with tiny amounts of the chemical of interest. The cost of these chemicals is astronomical due to the levels of purification required, and therefore, are never found in the hydroponic nutrient world.
The level of refinement for fertilizer is relatively low and mainly focuses on removing or reducing heavy metal content, which ends up in the food chain if applied to crops
Pharmaceutical Grade Pharmaceutical grade falls into the ‘food grade’ categories, meaning it is fit for human consumption. In the US, these chemicals are split into three categories; feed grade, human grade, and pharmaceutical grade. Products in these categories must be a minimum of 90% pure and produced in sanitary conditions to ensure they will not cause illness in humans. The microbial content must also fall below a strict level to be classed and certified as food grade. ‘Human grade’ and ‘feed grade’ must meet FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requirements; however, the human grade must also pass USDA inspection. Pharmaceutical grade in this categorization means a chemical that is 99% pure and has virtually no microbial content. It also must have been verified by an independent laboratory which has no link to the manufacturer. The production facility and manufacturing process must also reach a particular standard and be approved by regulatory bodies, such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), British Pharmacopeia (BP), European Pharmacopoeia (EP), or the Japanese Pharmacopeia (JP). As you can imagine, taking a product from 90% purity to 99% purity is very costly, and quite often unnecessary. The approval process involving various regulatory bodies also makes the production of the pharmaceutical grade chemical expensive. A 50
single kilogram of pharmaceutical-grade chemicals can cost hundreds of dollars or pounds; the technical grade is much cheaper per tonne and is still fit for purpose. It is not economically possible that only certified pharmaceutical minerals are used in hydro feeds; the cost per liter of nutrient solution would be astronomical!
A lot of mystery and myths surround nutrient production, and most of the time liquid fertilizers start life as a solid in the form of a powder. To produce large volumes of base feed concentrated solutions, up to 500kg of powdered ingredients are dissolved per 1000 liters of pure, filtered, sterile water. If you are producing thousands of liters of solution, are 99% pure “pharmaceutical grade” chemicals going to be cost-effective when they offer no real benefit? For some of the chemicals where minute quantities are used, yes; but for all them to be officially pharmaceutical grade, the cost of producing the nutrient would be prohibitive. 3
Fertilizer Undefined Farmers, agriculture. Technical 80-99% Industrial, hor ticulture Laboratory 90-99% Schools and educational facilities Food grade 90-99% Food, medicine, human consumption. Approved by governing body. Feed Grade 90% Livestock and animal feed Human Grade 90% Food production Pharmaceutical grade 99% Medicine Analytical 99.999999% Research and high-quality analysis
BIO Dr. Callie Seaman is a plant obsessed Formulation Chemist at
AquaLabs – the company behind SHOGUN Fertilizers and the Silver Bullet plant health range. She has been in the hydro industry for 15 years in research development and manufacturing and had previously worked on the VitaLink range. She has a PhD in fertilizer chemistry and a BSc (HONS) in Biomedical sciences and loves nothing more than applying this knowledge to pushing the boundaries of nutrient performance.
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ASK A PHD
BY DR. COLIN BELL
A sk A Ph. D. !
Using Beneficial Bacteria In Soilless Growing Media
omeone recently asked me about using beneficial bacteria in soilless growing media. Their question was what kind of soilless mix (coco vs peat) is best
to help the soil microbiology thrive. The most significant differences between coco and peat soilless media are their textures, buffering capacities, and water-holding capabilities. In any growing medium, with increased coarseness, there is lower water holding capacity, which can affect the biology in the substrate. As a simple example, peat soilless media typically hold water better than coco soilless media. This can affect media biology, especially if there are significant drought events, which are par ticularly stressful to soil bacteria, and fungi to a lesser degree. Peat is typically more buffered than coco, which means it has Coco coir a slightly better capacity to hold nutrients and to maintain pH. Because pH is one of the most influential environmental parameters that affect The most significant microbial biodiversity, the buffering capacity differences between coco and in the substrate has a peat soilless media are their strong influence on the textures, buffering capacities, soil’s health and biology.
and water-holding capabilities
Carbon is the currency of all life on ear th. Therefore, additives such as biochar and other organic inputs can help maximize soil health, including its cation exchange, water holding, and buffering capacities. Ultimately, the best habitat to suppor t soil biology is the plant rhizosphere or root zone. Regardless of the media that you use, as soon as the plant extends its roots into the substrate, it creates a carbon-rich habitat that shelters and feeds soil biology. Plant roots feed microbes by exuding carbon-rich substrates, stimulating microbial activity and nutrient cycling to create a thriving environment for soil microbes in soilless media. 3
Colin Bell is the co-founder, co-inventor and Chief Growth Officer at Mammoth Microbes. Colin is passionate about science, and received his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, specializing in soil microbial ecology and plant-microbe interactions. He left his academic position at Colorado State University in March 2015 to launch Mammoth Microbes.When he’s not traveling the world interacting with and learning from cultivators, there is nothing Colin enjoys more than teaching and working with the team at Mammoth Microbes.You can find Colin on Instagram: @colinwbell 53
BY JESSICA STEINBERG
Influencers Resp onsibil i t ies f rom Recycl ed Con v ersat ions, Reducing t he Unsp ok en T ension
The legal cannabis market is the ultimate example of nature turning into culture 54
this is a tug-of-war be t ween ‘ t h e p at i e n t s ’ a n d ‘ t h e p r o f i t e e r s ’
he cannabis calendar leaves little time for socializing, and probably less time for sleeping. Trying to keep with the latest trend is a better bet than trying to post the most relevant hashtag for the most recent event, seminar, workshop, or conference.
The proliferation of cannabis events has led to the duplication of related content. We’re still asking questions that were answered at a conference the week before: ‘What’s the latest on “Novel Foods” in the EU?,’ ‘When will adult-use be regulated in the UK?,’ and ‘How are doctors being trained?’ While these dialogues are productive, they are not revolutionary. The multiplication of events is fostering conversations that have already been had with people who are already conver ted.
Maybe it’s a European issue because the cannabis space is a close-knit community, so we see the same people at the same place and have the same conversation
I know there is not an oratory problem. Meanwhile, people, or par ts of society, are listening without hearing anything. Maybe it’s a European issue because the cannabis space is a close-knit community, so we see the same people at the same place and have the same conversation. But the reality is that the global cannabis scene is a relatively small space, which has paved the way to recycle cannabis-related topics at cannabis-specific events. I’ve seen the same presentation by various leaders in various par ts of the world. I’m all for reducing and reusing, but I struggle to hop on board when that recycled content isn’t contextualised. If a renowned idea from a panel or presentation generated reform, then I would be keen to challenge my above statements. However, rather than moving forward toward progress, I continue to notice rising tensions. Namely, tension between the corporatized ‘green rush’ and patient-led revolution, and between the conver ted crowd of believers and the people who don’t regard one word of truth told from those preachers.
Although widely dismissed, this is a tug-ofwar between ‘the patients’ and ‘the profiteers.’ To some eyes, this invisible hand pulls out the grassroots from corporate, and to some, this tension is so visible that it is causing a riff. I think about the crossover between the cannabis movement and the cannabis market and how the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Sometimes events are separated by a medical and policy focus, and by a business and investment focus. Sometimes these camps are not divided, and that’s when the clash of civilizations is most apparent.
I had been to multiple cannabis events per week throughout the summer. When August 4th came around for CANNTalks (i.e. ‘Curating a New Normal,’ the cannabis version of TED Talks), I was curious to experience the tension and recycling issue yet again. To my pleasant surprise, we discussed the inherent tensions and the frustration of hearing the same talk. Rather than having those conversations behind closed doors, we weren’t hiding behind a veil. Such conversations cultivated a platform for a grassroots feel, a level of authenticity, which was met with high-level exper tise from a fresh perspective. The venue, the Old Divinity School at the University of Cambridge, was prime to provoke intellectual wander through multi-disciplinary debates. The speakers I was honored to share the stage with brought together insight from their distinctive discipline. There was a par ticular moment that captured this forum well. Dr. Derek Tracy, a consultant psychiatrist, clinical director, member of the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs in the UK and par t of Oxleas NHS Foundation, had a tough crowd to please. Being ‘that guy’ that adopts an unpopular view (i.e., acknowledging that cannabis may cause some form of harm), he expressed himself through fact and experience. 55
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T h at is t he p o w er of cr e at ing a di a l o gue r at her t h a n r ecr e at ing w h at a l r e a dy e x is t s. T he l at t er is s ome t hing I e x p l or ed dur ing m y p r e sen tat ion at C A NN Ta l ks.
Following his talk, Dr. Tracy hosted a panel between Dr. Chandni Hindocha and Dr. Callie Seamen about the barriers to cannabis research (both academically and commercially). There was a moment when the two women paused after sharing a genuine concern to the obstacles to conducting research. Dr. Tracy then admitted to understanding something he had yet to realize. A moment of shared and changed perspective.
I’m all for reducing and reusing, but I struggle to hop on board when that recycled content isn’t contextualised
That is the power of creating a dialogue rather than recreating what already exists. The latter is something I explored during my presentation at CANNTalks. I engaged with the audience noticing some familiar faces and some new ones too. There were some folks I recognized as pioneers and others that I’d refer to as professionals. Despite the allocated categorization, everyone in the room, I noted, ‘is a policy influencer.’ Clarification was added that a ‘policy influencer’ is not a policymaker nor an advocate or activist. As members of society, whether that is society at large or this society, we like to call the ‘cannabis community,’ we are all policy influencers. This approach is taken from my Ph.D. at the Center for Socio-Legal Studies at Oxford. We assume that law influences society and, likewise, society influences law. Law is more than a rule, and it is more than a piece of legislation. Legality changes and society shifts (note that they can be read in reverse order, too). In this regard, we are influencers, and with that power comes great responsibility.
When I hear industry members boast about ‘creating an industry with XYZ value’ I struggle. Rather than creating a new industry that launches forward-thinking into the 21st century and utilizes the technological advancements available, we seem to be following the structures of 20 th-century models. Are we creating or recreating an industry? As policy influencers in society with the opportunity to generate change, we have a responsibility to, at the very least, be aware of this. I like to break it down like this:
We interact with the outside World (capital ‘W’ world). We also communicate with our inside world (lower case ‘w’ world). Through both avenues, some policies live on, in both paper form and figurative form. At the risk of geeking out further on anthropology and providing too much academic criticism, it’s best to leave thought to provoke ongoing conversations. The legal cannabis market is the ultimate example of nature turning into culture (e.g., a sub-culture, counter-culture, and mainstream culture). How can we, as individuals, and as a society, influence the way nature moves, shifts and shapes into a culture? What are structures we, as policy influencers, are (re)creating? 3
Jessica is a Ph.D. student at the University of Oxford researching the legal cannabis industry. She is the managing director of international cannabis consultancy, The Global C, and co-founder of entOURage Network, an organization to empower and connect women in the European cannabis industry. Her work brings her to the UN and WHO and she speaks globally about her research and work, as well as the charity that she founded when she was 13 years old, Giveable Giggles. 57
BY EVAN FOLDS
How To Grow A Healthy Society Society is heavily influenced by narrative and incentive 58
A HEALTHY SOCIETY
he stories that we tell can be a means of turning our values into action, or they can be used against us in the name of profit over people. Awareness of this phenomenon is the best antidote. The power of narrative - or the story that we are telling ourselves and about ourselves - is that the story
itself becomes an incentive. This is the secret of the indigenous cultures that hold the wisdom of the Earth; we tell ourselves stories so that we remember what we do not want to forget. I have experienced this reality in my city of Wilmington, NC. With our cobblestone streets and monuments to the battles of our Civil War, our local history represents the roots of the nation. We are now the leader of our region in Southeastern North Carolina; what is now, and should be going into the future, one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States.
My prism is agriculture; I believe it is the source and, at the same time, the solution to virtually every issue that we face
This growth potential brings terrific opportunities, but also a tremendous and fateful responsibility to ourselves, to the people who visit and want to relocate here, and to our future. We are currently failing in this responsibility, but even worse, we are not even going through the motions. In the last municipal election, only 14% of our citizens cast a vote in the election. Our region is attracting people and accomplishing new development at a record rate. But in our haste, we are leaving entire communities behind, and we are damaging our people. We are also damaging the economy and the natural beauty that brings people here and makes them want to stay. This is happening everywhere in this country, and there is no telling where it is leading us. But if we donâ€™t make some drastic changes, it is not going to be pretty. We cannot continue to use this same motivating force to move us forward and expect to solve the issues that we face. That motivating force, primarily profit before people, is the responsible party. My prism is agriculture; I believe it is the source and, at the same time, the solution to virtually every issue that we face. Regenerative agricultural methods have the potential to bring abundance, but it is going to take a massive effort to start transitioning the 99.8% of farms that are conventional in the United States. Work like this will not be easy. It is going to take accountability and hard work, but the fruits of the effort will be exponential.
The value that can be drawn by tapping into what unites us and brings real value is endless and invites us to consider the deeper workings of our humanity. The way a healthy society works is similar to a healthy human body. The physical body works through the collaboration of many different capacities, but can be deduced into three larger systems that maintain a certain level of autonomy to function properly. We can explore this idea by first considering the workings of our bodies. In the human body, we are sustained by a circulatory system, a nervous system, and a metabolic system. Each performs a critical function that cannot be disturbed or enhanced by the other.
In other words, there is no center to a human organism. Our bodies are governed by independent processes that communicate in complex and subtle ways towards the benefit of the whole. When one area is sick, the entire system is hindered. In other words, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link - and so it is with a city. If we wiped the human memory of all of our dogma and conditioning right now and asked all of us to show up brand new as humans, what would we be? How would we organize? It is an interesting question to follow. We would determine some means of exchanging value (Economy). We would carve out a platform for our human rights (Rights). And we would demand a way of expressing our individual and collective talents towards the value of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of human beings (Culture). We can bring balance and resonance between our social organization and the raw impulse of our humanity by identifying and ensuring total autonomy and good collaboration between the realms of Economy, Rights, and Culture.
The best Dutch substrates, period.
A HEALTHY SOCIETY
The way a healthy society works is similar to a healthy human body
Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)
Some examples of how this works are in order. The Constitution got the separation of church (Culture) and state (Rights) correct, but this arrangement has been eroded over the years to the point of politics pandering to religion. They compromise one another. When the walls of these arenas - Economy, Rights, Culture - break down, society gets sick.
Just like we cannot use pesticides to get rid of our pest problems, we cannot solve dynamic problems with linear thinking
Our systems of Culture are dominated by and almost solely dependent on government (Rights). Within this, imbalance thrives off of conflict at the expense of people. At the same time, government (Rights) has been compromised by the interests of Economy, or what is called, “Corporatism,” i.e., money in politics, penalties being less than pollution, cronyism, etc. What this means is that our social organization is not aligned with our human nature, the landscape that we engage life on is out of tune with the impulse of the human spirit. The body social has given over so much of our authority and decision-making capacity to government that the landscape we find ourselves in is confusing. It doesn’t make sense to our humanity. It can’t. The depth to which we can bring discernment to our humanity must be deepened. With intention, we can recognize and keep tabs on the shifting balance of the masculine (outer) and feminine (inner) archetypes that are playing out in the paradigm shift we are experiencing globally, and also in the culture and politics of our own cities and states. The great social reformer Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) put it this way, “The subordination of the general economic prosperity
to the common sense of right is the only thing that can prevent man from being so used up and consumed by economic life that his existence no longer seems to him worthy of a human being. It is this sense of an existence unworthy of human beings that is really at the bottom of social convulsions.”
Our local government (Rights) has consumed our Culture and is in cahoots with the Economy. It must be checked and taken to task. Government is not going to fix our problems; that’s our job. We do this by mimicking Mother Nature by using an “Ecosystem Approach” to social organization and problemsolving, leveraging systems thinking to identify hidden costs, logjams, and gaps for incentivization and correction. Just like we cannot use pesticides to get rid of our pest problems, we cannot solve dynamic problems with linear thinking. Rather than evaluating problems and considering how to fix them in isolated and compartmentalized ways, we make “solution decisions.” Dynamic in nature, they address the entire influence and landscape of the issue. True Cost Accounting is a tool that can help in this work by allowing us to see the truth and error in our ways. With True Cost Accounting, we can show that, for example, in addition to being the right thing to do, caring for people and the environment is profitable. Take human health. We are currently experiencing a First World Epidemic in degenerative and auto-immune disease, and despite throwing massive resources at the problems, the rate is increasing across the board. The pain and suffering that is pervasive and almost considered normal now in society are tragic, heartbreaking, and preventable.
A HEALTHY SOCIETY
A big part of the problem is that food is no longer our medicine
New data says that 1 in 2 people will get cancer in their lifetimes; 1 in 36 children born today will be on the autistic spectrum; 1 in 4 people will develop diabetes; 1 in 4 have allergies; 1 in 10 has asthma, and 1 in 3 people are now obese... the list goes on.
Spraying poisons on our food and landscapes is a choice
Modern allopathic medicine has no real explanation for this human tragedy. The reality is that we are weakening and poisoning ourselves in so many different ways that we cannot even diagnose what is wrong with us. A big part of the problem is that food is no longer our medicine. More than 70% of the average American diet is processed; it is not even real. Only 10% of American citizens eat healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables. And 70% of produce sold in the US contains pesticide residues. We are eating very dangerously.
This may sound like a pipe dream, but one thing is for sure; it cannot happen if you donâ€™t run for office and start telling some new stories. 3
Evan Folds is a regenerative agricultural consultant with a background across every facet of the farming and gardening spectrum. He has founded and operated many businesses over the years - including a retail hydroponics store he operated for over 14 years, a wholesale company that formulated beyond organic products and vortex-style compost tea brewers, an organic lawn care company, and a commercial organic wheatgrass growing operation. He now works as a consultant in his new project Be Agriculture where he helps new and seasoned growers take their agronomy to the next level.What we think, we grow!
It doesnâ€™t need to be this way. Spraying poisons on our food and landscapes is a choice. There are good and healthy alternatives to toxic rescue chemistry that, in most cases, cost less.
It is no longer radical to suggest we stop spraying pesticide poisons at schools and on public land, or at home. What if our government and politicians crossed the line of objectivity in the name of the public interest, and through action and policy started suggesting and investing in healthy behaviors?
Contact Evan at www.BeAgriculture.com or on Facebook and Instagram @beagriculture
Our skies, water, and soil are being rampantly and unapologetically polluted. The US is currently allowing and using 85 chemicals that have been banned in other countries.
Creating a New Standard in LED Grow Lighting.
BY CATHERINE SHERRIFFS
NO-TILL AND NO-DIG
GAINING GROUND 64
It all star ts with the soil, which is why so many no-till farming and gardening
techniques are gaining ground. Achieve beautiful gardens; no digging required!
Find this and so many other garden tips at GCMag.co.
No-till prevents soil erosion and compaction while also creating a healthier soil that can better absorb nutrients and water
bought some carrots at my local farmer’s market a couple of weeks ago, and the woman I got them from told me they were the world’s best carrots. She was right; they were perfectly sweet and ear thy tasting. When I went back to buy more the following week, I asked her how they turned out so well. She said it’s her soil.
Her carrots taste so darn good because her soil is so darn happy. She practices no-till farming, a movement that is growing in popularity around the world. The No-Till Movement
Her carrots taste so
No-till farming involves growing Method darn good because crops without disturbing the soil Whether you’re a fan of no-till farming with tractors or other machinery. or conventional tillage techniques, her soil is so darn Whenever you dig down into your can all agree the preserving the happy. She practices we soil, whether it be with a tractor or a natural balance and fertility of our no-till farming, a simple shovel, you are destroying the soil is paramount. There are other work and fertility that microorganisms methods out there when it comes to movement that is have already created. Plowing and farming, whether it be in large-scale growing in popularit y productions or in home gardens. tillage are major contributing factors to soil erosion, which is a major around the world environmental concern. Tilling soil also Modern Farmer has a great guide to releases CO2 into the atmosphere, causing global warming. double-digging, a method that keeps the soil microbiology intact, while also making your earth loose enough to plant The no-till movement is gaining in popularity. In 2009, about in right away. With the improvement in drainage and 35% of the USA’s cropland at least partly incorporated the aeration, proponents say this gardening technique leads to no-till concept. Only 10% of the farmland was strictly nohealthy roots, beautiful blooms, and high yields. You would till. In Canada, conventional tillage has lost its status as the generally go this route when creating new garden beds. primary option; between 1991 and 2006, the total planting area using no-till practices increased from 7% to 46%. There are pros and cons to the no-till movement. The most obvious reason in favor of the movement is the environment. No-till prevents soil erosion and compaction while also creating a healthier soil that can better absorb nutrients and water. Yields are just as strong as with conventional tillage, and by eliminating tractors, plows, and other heavy machinery, farmers also gain financially. Beyond the fact that it’s much more work for the farmers, many argue there is one major con to the no-till movement. Plows help remove weeds from the fields both before and after planting. Without the machinery, farmers often have no choice but to replace their plows with herbicides. 65
Follow this guide, and you’ll keep precious soil bacteria and fungi intact, while also preventing weed seeds from sprouting without the use of herbicides
The No-Dig Garden It’s hard work, but the good news is you only need to do it once every few years if it’s done right the first time. Double-digging involves loosening two layers of soil and adding compost to the earth. The first layer of soil is removed with a shovel, while the second is loosened with a pitchfork. There are some great how-to tutorials online, but here’s the main idea: •
Shovel a foot-wide trench the length of your new garden bed and keep the soil for later. The trench should be about 10” deep. Take a pitchfork and push it down into the bottom of the trench you dug. Don’t turn the soil; rock it back and forth, gently loosening the ground. Spread some compost into the trench and gently work it into the soil with the fork. Make a new foot-wide trench beside the strip you just completed, taking the soil and using it to fill the previous hole. Be careful not to move the dirt around too much. Repeat these steps the entire length of your new bed, using the soil you removed from the first trench to complete the final line. Cover the top layers with compost and gently work it into the bed with a pitchfork. Rake the bed out and get planting!
If you’d like to improve the soil in your existing garden beds without digging it up, there’s an interesting way to do that too. I found this no-dig method in the book, The Guide to Humane Critter Control: Natural, Non-Toxic Pest Solutions to Protect Your Yard and Garden, by Theresa Rooney. Follow this guide, and you’ll keep precious soil bacteria and fungi intact, while also preventing weed seeds from sprouting without the use of herbicides. • •
Cut back all existing vegetation and leave the scraps in the bed for compost. Water the soil very well, then cover the area with newspaper. You’ll need about 5-10 layers to cover a reasonable amount of weeds. Hardier varieties will need about 20 layers of coverage. Cover the newspaper with compost, dried leaves or mulch, then water well. Plant right away by peeling back some of the compost and punching a hole in the paper. Or, wait one season and plant later. This is a wonderful process for the fall! The newspaper decomposes after one growing season.
There’s so much more to building gardens than digging around in some dirt. Keep these methods in mind (and your pitchfork handy) for your next garden project! 3
Sources: • • • •
The Washington Post: No-till farming is on the rise. That’s a big deal wapo.st/2k9gxpC Statistics Canada: Conventional tillage: how conventional is it? bit.ly/2lIJWag Mother Earth News: No-till farming pros and cons bit.ly/33ciO52 Modern Farmer: Double digging: How to build a better garden bed bit.ly/2k7pyzt
BY ALBERT MONDOR, HORTICULTURIST AND BIOLOGIST
Create Your Own
ruit cultivation is more popular than ever in Nor th America and Europe. Borders planted with fruits and urban orchards are now par t
of the landscape of many cities around the world. Some people are reluctant to introduce fruit trees into their gardens; they are known to require a lot of care and phytosanitary treatments to grow edible fruits. Urban orchard 68
P l a nning a nd m a in ta ining your orch a rd w i t h p er m acult ure p rincip l e s a nd orga nic fa r ming t echnique s w il l reduce cult ur a l p robl ems a nd in t erv en t ions needed
However, there are several ways to reduce the workload required to maintain an orchard. First of all, it is possible to choose fruit species that are not demanding, such as serviceberry, sea buckthorn, SK dwarf cherry, or Asian pear. Also, there are less known varieties of apples, cherries, plums, and pears that are more resistant to insect pests and diseases. Examples include apple cultivars ‘Liberty,’ ‘Macfree,’ and ‘Redfree’ that are resistant to scab and fire blight. On the other hand, planning and maintaining your orchard with permaculture principles and organic farming techniques will reduce cultural problems and interventions needed. This means using low environmental impact pesticides and natural fertilizers such as compost. It is also best to plant your orchard with a wide diversity of fruit species. Incorporate flowering plants that attract pollinators and beneficial insects, avoid regularly mowing the grass at the base of trees, and reduce pruning.
Fruit tree planting 69
A mature semi-dwarf apple tree
First of all, it is possible to choose fruit species that are not demanding, such as serviceberry, sea buckthorn, SK dwarf cherry, or Asian pear Most fruit trees are grafted, so choose rootstocks well adapted to your climate that lead to the formation of small trees easier to maintain and that require less pruning. The use of dwarf (Bud.9, M.9 or M.26, for example) and semi-dwarf (M.7 or MM.106) rootstocks or of columnar cultivars can avoid many problems in urban settings. It is essential to reflect and review our requirements regarding the aesthetic appearance of fruits. Obtaining perfect fruit requires the extensive use of fertilizers and pesticides. Furthermore, our desire to eat fruit without blemishes is a source of extraordinary waste. The FAO estimates that 45% of all fruits and vegetables produced on Earth are lost or discarded before being eaten, partly because of waste for aesthetic reasons. Every year, about 3.7 trillion (3,700 billion!) apples are left in the orchards or thrown in the garbage on this planet! Fortunately, the Ugly Produce Movement is gaining popularity.
Choosing the right fruit tree Apple has a strong power of seduction on humans, and many people dream of having an apple tree in their garden. However, some home gardeners are somewhat disappointed when they realize all the maintenance that is needed to get an abundant and high-quality apple harvest.
Rather than planting a demanding fruit tree such as an apple tree or a plum tree in your garden, you can opt instead for hardy small fruit trees - producing little shade - that require low maintenance, such as ‘Martin’ serviceberry or ‘Romeo’ and ‘Juliet’ cherry trees. If your space is limited, plant a climbing fruit species. Arctic kiwifruit, for example, has beautiful variegated foliage and produces an abundance of edible sweet green fruits rich in vitamin C! 71
LIFE IS SHORT
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On the other hand, several fruit shrubs species are very easy to grow. Highbush blueberries and raspberries are undoubtedly the most popular. Furthermore, many recently introduced cultivars, including Raspberry Shortcake™ Raspberries and Jelly Bean™ Blueberries are small in size and ideal for urban gardens or container crops. Native fruit shrubs such as chokeberry, haskap berry, and elderberry are popular with younger generations of urban farmers and gardeners. No matter what type of fruit tree or fruit bush you grow, be sure to plant it in full sun, in rich, loose, welldrained soil. An annual supply of compost is necessary along with a spring fertilizer; a granular slow-release natural fertilizer rich in potassium (formulation 4-4-8 or equivalent) is ideal. This will ensure that the majority of fruit trees and shrubs have good production. 3
Rather than planting a demanding fruit tree such as an apple tree or a plum tree in your garden, you can opt instead for hardy small fruit trees producing little shade - that require low maintenance
BIO Passionate about environmental horticulture, urban agriculture and extreme landscape design, Albert Mondor has practiced his craft for over 30 years and created numerous gardens in North America. In addition to teaching courses and lecturing at conferences across Canada, his weekly gardening column has appeared in the Journal de Montréal and the Journal de Québec since 1999. In April 2018, Albert Mondor published Le nouveau potager, his tenth horticultural book. He is a regular guest and contributor to radio and television programmes and his hosting The Trendy Gardener spots broadcasted on Météo Média and online. You can also read his blog called Extreme Horticulture at albertmondor.com. Follow Albert on Facebook: fb.com/albert.mondor 73
BY CAROLINE RIVARD
From Garden Weed To Powerful Medicinal Plant Yarrowâ€™s white cor ymbs flabbily dance on a hot and dr y summer day, filling the air with a bewitching and suave aroma
his hardy plant feels at ease pretty much everywhere and thrives in a wide range of climates and soil conditions. The poorer the soil
it grows in, the stronger its potency and the scent of its oils will be. A garden weed by nature, it tends to spread quickly! If you are lucky enough to find yarrow growing in your gardens, think twice before throwing it on the compost pile. It is a powerful plant that has much to offer. Yarrow’s Roots We have long been taking advantage of yarrow’s medicinal proper ties. Archaeologists discovered its pollen in Neander thal burial caves, suggesting that its association with the human race is nearly 60,000 years old! During that time, yarrow has been par t of folklore and many myths, legends, and supernatural beliefs. Its involvement in our history and culture proves how valuable and previous this plant is. Yarrow, or Achillea millefolium, was named after the Greek mythical hero, Achilles, who used it to heal his soldiers during the war. The plant was also called Herba militaris in classical times because of its ability to stop bleeding on the battlefield.
How To Make It Making the tincture is quite easy: • • • • •
Fill a glass jar with wilted plant material, including the flowers and leaves. Cover the material entirely with vodka. Tightly cap and label the jar before placing in a dark cabinet for four to six weeks. Shake the jar from time to time to help the extraction process along. After the steeping period, strain and discard the plant material and pour the tincture into a labeled glass bottle with a dropper or spray nozzle.
Why We Love It With white or light pink flowers, wild yarrow is best suited for medicinal use. The brightly colored cultivars, flashy pink or bright red, are not as valuable. Yarrow’s benefits and uses are as many as the flowers on the corymbs. Medicinally, the plant is a panacea; with more than 40 chemical constituents, yarrow is complex, bioactive, and versatile with many vir tues.
To help a minor cut or scratch, spray or add a few drops until the blood stops flowing.
Soldier’s Woundwort or Carpenter’s Weed, other names given to yarrow, say a lot about its proper ties. The styptic and antihemorrhagic proper ties of yarrow are quite impressive. The leaves and the flowers can stop bleeding and work well on even deep cuts and wounds. The antiseptic proper ties of the plant also help disinfect injured tissues.
How To Use It A poultice of fresh mashed leaves and flowers can be applied directly to the wound, but drops of the tincture can be used as well. An alcohol-based tincture, where the plant proper ties have been extracted, is an excellent addition to the medicine cabinet, coming in handy when an injury occurs outside of the growing season.
In the garden, yarrow’s pungent odor is a ver y ef fective pest repellent but also at tracts beneficial insects and pollinators
Taken as a tea, the bitter constituents of the plant will help digestion, encouraging the bile to flow and increase the appetite. The same cup of tea can also help reduce a fever or fight a cold by stimulating the body to sweat. Diaphoretic plants like yarrow will move the blood circulation toward the surface of the body, helping to cool it down, while also reinforcing the immune system.
Do your research and seek advice from a doctor or healthcare provider before using any medicinal plant. Medicinal weeds or plants can all have side effects under cer tain health circumstances. Yarrow might cause an allergic reaction or photosensitization in very sensitive people. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also refrain from using yarrow, as this herb may induce a miscarriage and may have unknown effects on a child.
A strong infusion of yarrow can help heal skin conditions such as eczema. The astringent and anti-inflammatory vir tues of this plant will also work wonders in one’s skincare routine. Yarrow can also be a great ally of women when taken internally. It can help relieve menstruation pain, reduce heavy menstrual bleeding, and even eliminate pelvic congestion.
It is also imperative to do rigorous research before foraging wild plants or weeds. Yarrow has two look-alikes; Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum), which is deadly if consumed, and Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota), which is safe. Confusing these three plants is unlikely when you know what you are looking for, so be sure to be well-informed before enjoying the marvelous medicinal vir tues of the beloved yarrow! 3
Garden Friend While this weed is best known for its medicinal proper ties, it can be also used in many other ways. In the garden, yarrow’s pungent odor is a very effective pest repellent but also attracts beneficial insects and pollinators. Some people even rub yarrow flowers directly on their skin or on their clothes to repel pesky mosquitos!
A therapist and healer for over 15 years, Caroline’s passion for medicinal plants only began after leaving the city for the quiet country life in Quebec, Canada. Eager to learn, she’s never looked back, using forests and wildflower fields as her classroom ever since. In a time where reconnecting with plants and nature is badly needed, she spreads her love for herbalism by holding teaching workshops about the powers of medicinal herbs and natural remedies.
Grow In The Dark
Excerpt from book:
“If there is enough light in your room to read a book, you have enough to sustain a low-light plant. You may have more light than you realize and can grow a large variety of plants.” - Lisa Eldred Steinkopf
“The charming spider plant is one of the most popular houseplants (...) The solidgreen version of this plant can live in low light, but the variegated versions need medium to bright light.”
Grow in the Dark: How to Choose and Care for Low-Light
Houseplants is an excellent read for those looking to
he cooler months are for getting cosy by the
he summer growing season is over; time to bring the outdoors in! But venture away from a sunny windowsill, and homes can lack the
appropriate lighting many houseplants need to thrive.
brighten up a dark corner!
fire with a warm cup of tea. While bags are easy and convenient, you don’t get as big a bang
Known as the Houseplant Guru, author Lisa Eldred Steinkopf introduces us to 50 of the best plants we can grow in rooms with low to little sunlight. Think Peace Lily, Chinese Evergreen, Arrowhead Vine, Ox-Tongue, and more. Perfect for citydwellers, this easy-to-read and beautifully photographed book will help everyone reap the many physical and emotional benefits of raising plant babies. The first order of business is determining which direction your windows face. After that, Eldred Steinkopf expertly directs readers toward appropriate plants that do well in various levels of light. Learn how to select healthy plants from the nursery, properly feed and maintain them, and how to solve problems that may arise.
for your mug. According to The Herbal Handbook For Homesteaders, storebought teabags often contain only dust; the smaller particles oxidise more quickly, leading to a greater loss of flavor. So why not take advantage of some of your fresh herbs and make your own brew? Guaranteed you’ll taste the difference! To make one cup you will need: • •
Get rid of the winter blues by making them green! Find the book online or in most major bookstores. 3
1 tablespoon of dried herbs or 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs, cut into ¼-inch pieces 1 cup of hot water
In a kettle, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Place your herbs of choice into a tea accessory, such as a tea ball, reusable cloth tea bag, tea filter, or french press. Pour the boiling water over the herbs and cover your mug with a heatresistant top. Sip and enjoy! Sources: The Herbal Handbook for Homesteaders: Farmed and Foraged Herbal Remedies and Recipes, by Abby Artemisia (Voyageur Press). 3
BY KYLE L. LADENBURGER
Cannabis is a sacred crop. A grower must be a slave to the plant and provide for it the way we would our children
ILLINOIS VALLEY HEMP
ur first installment of Illinois Valley Hemp (US Issue 28) left you with somewhat of a cliffhanger! After more than a few hiccups setting up our hemp farm, torrential rains throughout May and June made it impossible to get the plants into the ground. But it canâ€™t rain all the time, and eventually, the sun shines again.
Here Comes The Sun July brought us warm rays of hope. The rains subsided, and we were blessed with an entire month of perfect growing conditions, allowing us to finally get the small plants transplanted into the fertile Illinois soil. Since we have a 2,500-gallon water tank on-site, we can irrigate and fertigate as needed.
The rains subsided, and we were blessed with an entire month of per fect growing conditions, allowing us to finally get the small plants transplanted into the fer tile Illinois soil
After working the two fields and installing the irrigation system, only one of them was ready for planting. In the second field, cultivation was impossible due to the roots still in the ground from various trees and shrubs. All of the land we are using this first year has never been used for crop production, and so they had to be properly cleared before we began. One field had mostly grasses in it, which were easy to remove. The other field was a different story. Trees and shrubs primarily grew there, and they were a hassle to clear away. Luckily, we had some adjacent land with fewer trees that was easily cultivated; we were back on track!
The first feeding is a simple one, but itâ€™s essential for getting the young plants off to a strong start. We applied a mixture of Age Old Bloom (high phosphate), Age Old Kelp, and Age Old Soluble Mycorrhizae to help with initial root establishment, nutrient uptake, and growth. Very few plants were lost after transplant; we had a 95% success rate!
After analyzing our soil tests, we determined that the ground is rich in nutrients and that bi-weekly feeding will be sufficient. We used the higher nitrogen Age Old Grow for the first couple of feedings to help facilitate robust vegetative growth. The plants were put into the ground late, so the goal was to boost growth before flowering began in mid to late August.
Transplant Time Since the new field is positioned differently and further away from the first field, we had to move the water tank to a more centralized location. With the help of our trusty backhoe, we buried the tank just about halfway to keep the water cooler for a longer time. The transplanting took several days to complete in the second week of July. Utilizing a 3.5-inch auger, we drilled directly through the plastic sheets and into the ground every five feet to line up with the emitters in the drip tape irrigation line. With the help of some generous volunteers, we were able to get all 3,000 plus plants in the ground in a matter of four or five days. We certainly do get by with a little help from our friends.
Food For Thought Immediately after transplanting, the crop was given fertilizer and a beneficial substance mixture to combat any possible stress.
ILLINOIS VALLEY HEMP
Af ter analyzing our soil tests, we determined that the ground is rich in nutrients and that bi-weekly feeding will be suf ficient
After supplying the ever-impor tant nitrogen applications, it was time to focus on the roots and soil biology. Age Old Fish and Seaweed help condition the soil to be more hospitable to the microorganism populations, which improves nutrient acquisition.
EPA exempt, minimum-risk pesticides are the only t ypes that can be used on hemp cannabis destined for CBD ex traction and human consumption
Next, we will move onto the first application of the higher phosphatecontaining Age Old Bloom. This works to increase flower sight development and allow the plants to bloom to their full genetic potential. With each feeding, we also apply low doses of Age Old CalMag2, Age Old Kelp, and Age Old Humic to help maintain healthy and robust plant growth.
Pest Management When it comes to pest management, you are bound to hear many different approaches and advice from various growers. Some recommend using companion plants to keep pests and predators away from the cannabis. Others suggest using beneficial insects to combat attacks or highly integrated pest management programs. After working with many outdoor growers over the years, I believe a blend of all three methods is perhaps the best approach. We utilize a mix of a few different EPA exempt natural and organic pesticides on a rotation so the pests don’t build up a tolerance. EPA exempt, minimumrisk pesticides are the only types that can be used on hemp cannabis destined for CBD extraction and human consumption. These products are contact killers that won’t leave a harmful residue behind, especially when used at appropriate times.
An essential par t of our pest management program is keeping the farm as clean and tidy as possible. Harmful pests have fewer places to breed and reside; a clean environment is also very inviting to beneficial insects. So far this year, we’ve seen several beneficial insects, including praying mantis, ladybugs, and spiders. A good number of snakes around the perimeters keep large rodents at bay. So far, this approach has helped us avoid any significant infestations.
Research Is Crucial To learn more about my crop, I’ve joined several CBD hemp groups on social media, and I also follow some CBD hemp forums. I have noticed a massive disconnect between traditional farmers (corn, soybeans, etc.) and the veteran cannabis growers that have helped progress the industry to where it is today. A handful of traditional farmers are approaching cannabis hemp the same way they approach a corn crop. They view it as a simple turn-key type operation which, from my experience, is not the best approach for thriving cannabis plants. There has been a lot of discussion in some of the groups and forums about using products like Round-Up to clear fields before planting, using restricted pesticides during the growing season, and using harsh chemical fer tilizers. These are all things that should never even be considered when growing cannabis hemp for CBD, which is used by many as a form of medicine. The methods traditional farmers are bringing with them to this endeavor have no place whatsoever in the production of
ILLINOIS VALLEY HEMP
From what I have seen, the tobacco growers out in the eastern US seem to have an excellent grasp on how to grow this beautiful plant cannabis hemp. Many of these farms will likely fail due to low yields or because they won’t be able to pass the postharvest testing of the crop. A friend of mine once said that hemp is not for farmers. He has a valid point; Cannabis is a sacred crop. A grower must be a slave to the plant and provide for it the way we would our children. From what I have seen, the tobacco growers out in the eastern US seem to have an excellent grasp on how to grow this beautiful plant.
What Does The Future Hold? As I write this ar ticle in mid-August, the plants are visibly transitioning into their flowering cycle. It’s incredible how much progress can be made in a month and a half, especially when the conditions finally begin to work in your favor. Still, we cannot afford to sit back and rest on our laurels. We are now approaching the most crucial point of the season: flowering and harvest when the plants need the most attention and uncertainty looms. I hope our late summer rains don’t come too soon and that we will be able to harvest some nice flowers without too many issues. To find out how this crucial next chapter plays out, tune in to the next installment of our series, Illinois Valley Hemp. 3
Kyle L. Ladenburger is a freelance garden writer who has worked in the gardening/hydroponics industry for over a decade.As an avid indoor and outdoor gardener, he is well versed in nearly all types of growing methods with an overall focus on sustainability and maintaining healthy soils. He holds a strong conviction that growing one’s own food is a powerful way to change our lives and our world for the better.
BY MARTYNA KROL PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARTYNA KROL
Think about it – would you rather be a bee that has a nutritious food supply of qualit y honey from organic allotments nex t door or fed bleached sugar? 88
NATURAL BEEKEEPING GardenCultureMagazine.com
Many beekeepers are all about mass honey production. Natural beekeeping takes a different approach, focusing on keeping the hives happy above all else. Find more eco-
friendly content like this at GCMag.co.
s I’m about to write this blog, my last stare of procrastination falls on the perfect smelling flowers of my orange plant, plump and ready to burst open. I wonder what how the honey made from its nectar would taste? Those that grow their produce know that distinctive taste; the taste that brings a smile
to your face. Our bees’ honey is unique to me because I only have two jars of it for the season.
Happy Hives Unlike most beekeeping, which mainly focuses on honey production, natural beekeeping has adopted an approach that focuses on putting the welfare of the bees first. Eight people share our apiary at Redacre Growing Project in Mytholmroyd (Yorkshire).
I believe that with respect for nature and its creatures, we may have the oppor tunit y to restore what we’ve broken
Unlike traditional beekeepers, we collect honey mostly in the late spring so that bees have a guaranteed supply of nectar throughout the season and use the summer honey during their winter hibernation. Think about it – would you rather be a bee that has a nutritious food supply of quality honey from organic allotments next door or fed bleached sugar?
Peaceful Observation We often sit in the apiary and observe the bees from a small distance. You notice their behavior patterns, how much pollen they bring, and whether any dead bees are being brought out of the hive. In return, they learn your smell and get used to your presence.
A gentle tone of buzzing chaos surrounds us as we inspect the hive. Inspections are much easier with the type we’re using – a top bar hive. This rectangular structure reminds me of a coffin on long legs, with only a top bar instead of frames. Sometimes, bars have a groove down the middle to guide the bees to where to start the comb. This style mimics their behavior in nature – they can build a natural, droopy comb that looks like a teardrop.
We don’t use smokers or any sprays to keep the bees sedated. Instead, we planted some thyme plants close to the hives; when brushed with a hand just before a hive check, their essential oils help calm the bees down.
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best of They tend to build the cells larger than those on a pre-shaped foundation, which they fill with brood and honey side by side, as there is no queen excluder. This helps them to grow the colony, rather than fill with honey for human use. The further away from the entrance, the less brood and more honey appear. This allows us to judge if we can harvest the extra supplies.
Harvest and Care
As much as I don’t love to describe natural beekeeping as “a holistic approach” (yes, it’s a bit hippydippy), it cer tainly is a mindful obser vation of something that existed for thousands of years without our inter ference
As we gently crack the propolis bars and lift to check the comb, it seems that the buzz goes up a semitone with each bar closer to the entrance. The behavior of the bees changes, their noise is louder, and the guard bees are bumping against our hood nets. They’re informing us that we’re too close to the brood and the queen. If there are no other warning signs, we often leave the last few bars untouched; we trust them to be a responsible superorganism.
In terms of varroa control, in our apiary, we have never had an infestation significant enough to warrant chemical treatment. We’re monitoring the numbers on varroa boards, and should we have any abnormalities, we’d use icing sugar duster to cover the bees in the first instance. This will make them groom themselves, knocking the varroa down through the mesh bottom of the hive, straight on the board for us to count. Failing that, we’d try eco-floors with leaf mold, which mimics the forest floor. This allows for the varroa predators (Stratiolaelaps) to establish and protect the hive. Natural beekeeping does not exclude chemical remedy if the infestation is severe, but it’s rarely needed.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T Maybe traditional beekeeping seems a little odd to me since I have learned the natural way from the very beginning. There doesn’t seem to be the need for endless treatments and interference in the hive. As much as I don’t love to describe natural beekeeping as “a holistic approach” (yes, it’s a bit hippy-dippy), it certainly is a mindful observation of something that existed for thousands of years without our interference. I believe that with respect for nature and its creatures, we may have the opportunity to restore what we’ve broken. 3 91
Green New Deal
Trump is enemy No. 1 to combatting the climate crisis, and his presidency has had devastating short and long-term effects on the environment 92
GREEN NEW DEAL
BY ANDREW ABRAMSON
n an alternate United States of America, the leader of the free world takes the lead on the planet’s most pressing issue. The progressive Green New Deal policies reverse, or at least diminish, the climate crisis that worsens by the day.
The Green New Deal, a plan to create new jobs and stimulate the economy while addressing the climate change crisis, is championed by progressive Democrats and environmentalists Smar t power grids guarantee affordable electricity to all Americans through clean, renewable energy sources. The nation’s crumbling infrastructure is upgraded, and the US invests in high-speed rail and electric transpor tation, helping to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Expect three major issues to dominate Democratic legislation — healthcare, gun control, and climate change — possibly in that order
Access to clean water, clean air and, healthy, affordable food become a right for all Americans. It’s an alternate reality from the current US climate policies which barely exist and contribute to the spike in global temperatures and rising sea levels that threaten millions of Americans from coastal South Florida to the Alaskan tundra. The Green New Deal, a plan to create new jobs and stimulate the economy while addressing the climate change crisis, is championed by progressive Democrats and environmentalists. But it’s far from a fringe plan. Various elements have been adopted by most of the Democratic candidates seeking the presidential nomination in the 2020 election. It’s received mainstream press coverage and is suppor ted by 43% of registered voters — that’s more than the 38% who oppose it. The remaining Americans are unsure. So could the New Green Deal become a reality in the world’s top economy? Or is it a radical plan that will never see the light in a country that desperately needs a progressive climate policy?
The answer is somewhere in the middle. As usual, it all star ts with politics. In the current clusterfuck that is American politics, Republicans control the White House and the United States Senate. Democrats control the House of Representative. Even if the Democrats gain control of the US Senate in the 2020 elections, they’ll need also to win the White House to pass any meaningful environmental legislation. As long as Donald Trump is president, he’ll veto any Green New Deal. Trump’s spent more than two years in office slashing environmental regulations and cozying up to Big Energy. One of his first priorities as president was removing the US from the Paris Accord — the landmark international pact negotiated by former President Barack Obama that aimed to heavily reduce greenhouse emissions worldwide. Trump is enemy No. 1 to combatting the climate crisis, and his presidency has had devastating shor t and longterm effects on the environment. There will be no Green New Deal under Trump — and that could be a rallying cry for Democrats in the 2020 elections. If the Democrats gain control of the Senate, they’ll likely also take the White House. Most oddsmakers have a generic Democratic presidential candidate as a slight favorite to defeat Trump in 2020. Capturing the Senate is a taller task. Democrats will need to keep all their existing Senate seats and also gain three seats currently held by Republicans for a flip. If that happens, it means a Blue Wave will over take the elections and almost cer tainly lead to Trump’s White House eviction.
So let’s say it’s January 2021 and the Democrats are in full control. Climate change will be a top priority. The Democratic base has moved left since Trump took office and the environment is finally receiving the platform it deserves. Yet it will be far from the only transformational issue the Democrats will tackle. Expect three major issues to dominate Democratic legislation — healthcare, gun control, and climate change — possibly in that order. As we’ve learned from the last two presidents, it’s difficult to pass even one landmark legislation, let alone three, before you lose control of Congress. Trump’s only legacy legislation was a tax cut bill that benefited corporations. His attacks on immigration and regulations have mostly been through controversial executive orders and would be undone by a Democratic predecessor. Republicans lost control of the House in 2018, ending any of Trump’s hopes that he will oversee significant Republican-friendly legislation. Obama had an even greater majority when he took office in 2008. Yet in the two years before Republicans gained control of the House, the Democrats were only able to pass one landmark legislation — the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare provided healthcare to millions of previously uninsured Americans, including those with preexisting conditions. It was a step in the right direction, but it didn’t go far enough. Moderate Democrats, backed by special interests, ensured that Obamacare would only be a watered-down bill of what Americans really needed — a universal system that guaranteed healthcare for all. That’s likely what will happen with climate change. Even if Democrats retake control of the government, there will be inter-par ty fighting with the moderate wing refusing to do a real overhaul of the system.
GREEN NEW DEAL
The Green New Deal would push the United States to use 100% renewable, zero-emission energy sources
The original New Deal was considered a radical plan in the 1930s. Amid the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt tried to revitalize the economy by reforming the banking industry, creating Social Security benefits for senior citizens, and employing more than eight million Americans through the Works Progress Administration that built highways, roads, bridges, and parks.
A recent report by the United Nations estimated a global cost of as much as $69 trillion from even a modest rise in global temperatures
The Green New Deal is more of a concept than an actual plan. It is a non-binding resolution, co-sponsored by 29-year-old far-left superstar freshman US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cor tez and veteran Sen. Ed Markey, laying down the groundwork for a 21st-century version of the New Deal. Their hope is that similar to the New Deal of the 1930s, what seems radical today will become a way of life for all Americans. The Green New Deal would push the United States to use 100% renewable, zero-emission energy sources. It would implement the “social cost of carbon” that was par t of Obama’s 10-year climate change plan. The Green New Deal goes beyond climate change, calling for universal health care and a hike in the minimum wage. It also seeks to eliminate energy monopolies. Critics insist it’s a costly, unrealistic plan. Republicans are already using scare tactics, claiming the ambitious project would cost $93 trillion. Markey calls the figure “a completely made-up number by the Koch brothers.” Proponents argue it’s more costly if the U.S. doesn’t act on climate change. A recent repor t by the United Nations estimated a global cost of as much as $69 trillion from even a modest rise in global temperatures.
But even Democratic stalwarts like the AFL-CIO have publicly criticized the Green New Deal out of fear that it will lead to job losses for miners and workers in the energy industries. The AFL-CIO represents 12.5 million workers and 55 labor unions.
“We weren’t part of the process, and so the workers’ interest really wasn’t completely figured into it,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said at the Economic Club of Washington in April. “So we would want a whole lot of changes made so that workers and our jobs are protected in the process.” Trumka argued that Green New Deal was “not rooted in an engineering-based approach” to climate change. He’s hopeful that new technology will help the US meet climate goals while continuing to burn fossil fuels. It’s wishful thinking. Paul Hockenos, a Berlin-based political activist and writer, argued in a recent CNN op-ed that the Green New Deal needs to rely on less government funding and more on regulation overhauls if it wants a real chance to succeed. “The clean energy boom here in Europe was not ignited foremost by government spending,” Hockenos said. “Rather, legislation initiated by the EU and the national states opened energy markets to independent renewable-energy producers and revamped the regulatory framework to help ordinary citizens, small businesses and communities to get a foot in the door.” Sweden, Portugal, Denmark, Austria, and Latvia now generate more than half of their electricity from renewables. The United States, who should be leading on climate change, is barely on the radar. That can change quickly, but it’ll take an overhaul in Washington. And even then, expect a drawn-out political battle while the planet continues to burn. 3
Follow Andrew Abramson on Twitter @AbramsonFL
TO USE A P UM P KIN A FTER HA L LOWE E N
alloween isn’t complete without the perfect pumpkin! Around the world, many families continue the tradition of picking an orange squash, carving a face into them, and then, unfortunately, throwing them out. A 2018 study in the UK found that 8 million pumpkins go to landfills after Halloween. In the US, 1.3 billion pounds are thrown away, and most of the
80,000 metric tonnes of pumpkins grown in Canada are also wasted. How’s that for spooky? Here’s our list of 5 cool ways to put your pumpkin to good use after the trick or treaters are gone!
Diner’s Delight Some pumpkins are grown and sold for ornamental use only, but a vast majority are edible. They are a great source of betacarotene, an antioxidant that reduces the risk of developing cancer, asthma, and hear t disease. Boost your immunity, fibre, and vitamin A intake by adding pumpkin to your diet. Think pumpkin lasagna and gnocchi, pumpkin risotto, roasted pumpkin wedges or seeds, and homemade pumpkin purees or vegetable stocks, which freeze well and can be used year-round. The possibilities are endless. Bon appetit!
Not the type of person who likes to cook? Donate your pumpkin to a good cause. There are plenty of initiatives that help the food insecure by making nutritious meals with leftover squash. In Washington, D.C., for example, an organization called the Compost Cab collects thousands of pounds of pumpkin every year and gives it to those in need. Ask your local soup kitchen if it can put the gourd to good use. Many farms, such as Hooves & Feathers in Knoxville, TN or the Higher Ground Animal Sanctuary in Spokane, WA also take donations. It turns out pumpkins are a tasty snack adored by many farm animals!
Credit: Higher Ground Animal Sanctuary
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TO U S E A P U M P K I N A F T E R H A L LOWE E N
Plan a Patch
It’s satisfying to grow your jack-o’lanterns at home! Saving seeds from pumpkins and growing them in the garden next season is good fun and also easier on the wallet come Halloween. We take for granted that seeds will always be available in little packets at the store. We can all take personal responsibility for preserving food and flower crops. Growers can choose the healthiest, most vigorous pumpkin plants to save seeds from, and each year, the vegetables become better with higher yields and fewer problems. Be sure to have a designated pumpkin patch; this variety of squash takes over the plot in no time at all. For more seed saving tips, be sure to read Anne Gibson’s article on page 26.
There are many ways to get creative with leftover pumpkin. A quick online search will show you how to boost your outdoor decor game this fall. Some of the neater ideas include turning your carved pumpkin into an extra special treat for the birds in your backyard. Cut the pumpkin in half, clean it out, stick a skewer or chopstick into it for the birds to sit on, and fill it with birdseed. Or, transform your pumpkin into a unique planter. Cut the top off, scoop out the seeds and the guts, and place a beautiful bunch of flowers inside. Place the planter somewhere in the garden so the soil can benefit as it decomposes!
Smash and Compost
At the very least, save your leftover pumpkin from the landfill and add it to the compost. Much like other food waste that ends up in the trash, discarded jack-o’-’lanterns slowly decompose and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Pumpkins are nutrient-rich and give a lot back to the soil when composted properly. Remove any candles or other decorative features and scoop out all of the seeds before adding it to the pile.You can even have some fun and smash it to pieces from high spaces or with a mallet before you do! Many communities hold pumpkin ‘smash’ events after Halloween; not only fun to watch but a great way to encourage our neighbors to dispose of their pumpkins responsibly. 3
SO U R C E S: 98
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The Guardian: bit.ly/2ESsBF0 Inhabitat: bit.ly/2OOblpL Statistics Canada: bit.ly/31nMwCe
WE CHOOSE NATURE