State of the garden – January


The mini daffodils are blooming, with the full sized not long behind. In my area they really do well, and require little maintenance except for digging up to divide every few years. Mine need it again, but I’ll wait until after the tops have withered.

My brassicas have not done well this year at all. The bok choy & most of the broccoli bolted, and the poor cabbage has had a time of it. First by caterpillars, then aphids, and now some sort of leaf miner is cutting into them. This may be a “pick your battles” thing, and pretty sure instead of spraying and such I’m just going to skip them next year.

The onions are garlic planted last fall seem to be doing fine. Last October I ordered some starts from Dixondale farms which should be arriving soon. I was looking for Stockton Reds, but they didn’t have any so I got an assortment of three varieties suitable (intermediate day) for my latitude . Of course right after I put in the order, I found some Stockton Red starts at Green Acres Nursery so I bought and put them in. It will be interesting to see which does better come harvest time. I have some in Root Pouch fabric pots, and some in the ground, so will see which does better that way as well. I’m hoping the containers do well since swapping out potting mix would be easier to do proper crop rotation given my limited ground space.

Inside, I have started some pepper plants, and will start some tomatoes in the next couple of months. Pepper plants take a couple weeks to sprout, so I wanted to give them a head start.

Sixteen Ones (Sixteen Tons parody)

Some people say that dabs are better than bud.

Sticky and gooey like made out of mud.

Hustle and bustle, and a rig that’s a chore.

A price that’s high and a high that’s strong.

I rolled sixteen ones. What do you bet?

Rolled two more, ain’t seen nothing yet.

Had some left and so what do you know?

I rolled two more and now I have a score.

I awoke one morning ‘fore the sun it did shine.

I picked up my lighter and a joint that was fine.

I loaded my lungs with all they would hold.

I cleared my heart and I blessed my soul.

I rolled sixteen ones. What do you bet?

Rolled two more, ya ain’t seen nothing yet.

Had some left and so what do you know?

I rolled two more and now I have a score.

Some demons came a calling, they was calling my name.

A kicking and a biting and a causing me pain.

To my relief and against their desire.

Can’t no demon make it past the fire.

I rolled sixteen ones. What do you bet?

Rolled two more, ya ain’t seen nothing yet.

Had some left and so what do you know?

I rolled two more and now I have a score.

If you see me a smoking better come astride.

A lotta folks did, a lotta walked by.

One hit of stank, the other of real.

If the first one don’t get you then the second one will.

I rolled sixteen ones. What do you bet?

Rolled two more, ya ain’t seen nothing yet.

Had some left and so what do you know?

I rolled two more and now I have a score.

Event: 420 Grow Cruise

This year for 4-20 I attended Guy Holmes’ Grow Cruise. I know Guy through Grow Magazine, and in the interest of full disclosure I should mention that I traded some writing I did for them for my ticket. 

It was a cannabis friendly event which drew some cannabis friendly folks to pier 40 in San Francisco. Standard ticket price was $560 apiece, so not exactly what I’d consider a cheap date activity, but the goodie bag included a Ghost MV1 vaporizer which retails for around $295 which helped to offset the price. More on the Ghost MV1 & Grow Cruise goodie bag in future posts. The ride was about 4 hours long around San Fransisco Bay and seemed to me to go by quickly and pleasantly.

Cannabis events tend to have their own vibe, and that hasn’t been completely quashed by the new corporate cannabis movement yet. While waiting for boarding patrons were serenaded by a talented gentleman named Bear with a ukulele. Dress ranged from cocktail ready, to business casual, to the ever popular casual casual, to even a tie dyed outfit or two. 

After a slight delay (which according to some rumors involved someone learning that a bass drum should not be used as a floatation device) we boarded and were greeted with drink tickets and boxes containing our new vaporizers. 

The yacht was spacious enough to accommodate everyone with enough room for personal space. There was a dining seated section, a second floor with music, dabs and dancing, and an outdoor smoking and viewing area (where I personally spent much of the trip).

Chef Matthew Dolan put out a fine spread of tasty treats for those with the munchies, with select items imbued with the spirit of cannabis (or at least some CBD). I particularly enjoyed the kabobs, brownies, and the meat and cheese selections. Personally I thought the menu a touch pretentious in places, but I have the palate of a peasant, and at the price I’m sure many would have been sorely disappointed had it not been. Chef Dolan has a Michelin star from the renowned French tire company, and proved himself not only deserving of culinary praise, but charming in person, and a delight to share a few moments of light conversation with.

I had the pleasure of being seated with the Kind Guys for the meal, and labeled jars of a variety of cannabis varieties made not only attractive table decorations but came in handy for rolling joints to take to the smoking section at the back. I rolled up a cupid’s arrow (tulip variation) joint and we split it while enjoying the view. 

I’d forgotten how much I enjoy riding on the water. We had great views of the Bay and Golden Gate bridges, Alcatraz, and the city of San Fransisco as it came alive with light at dusk. Watching the sun set by the bridge, feeling the gentle rocking motion of the ocean, smelling the crisp sea breeze (along with enjoying the pretty good buzz I had going on) made for one of those perfect moments to remember and treasure.

Upstairs the Jamie McLean Band played a good selection of great music. While I found that being in the same room was a few decibels too loud for my comfort, from the smoking section they sounded much better, and I thought they were an appropriate choice. 


I didn’t know many of the folks in attendance, but besides the Kind Guys and folks from Grow Magazine some of the other notables I ran into included Jinxproof, Wallace Patterson of Ghost Vapes, CBD breeder Adam Jacques, & AC Moon of Harvest Moon Munchie Co. and afterwards Julie Chiariello of Skunk Magazine. Just a random aside, but now somewhere out there is a photo of me on a Game of Thrones style throne from the after-party, I’ll share it if I get ahold of it.

Review: Berggren Botanical Wellness Hemp/CBD Granola Bar

While attending the Oaksterdam Graduation this year I happened to wind up with a CBD Granola Bar sample from Berggren Botanical Wellness, It was a good sized sample, about 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ x 3/4″, wrapped in wax paper, and sealed in plastic with a printed label.

The texture is a combination of crunchy and chewy, with an emphasis on the chewy. My advice would be to nibble on it slowly to enjoy the variety of flavors hidden within. The bite is hearty, and intensely but pleasantly flavored. In true tradition of traveling foods, I can see this being a handy snack to tide one over until the next regular meal.

I had the pleasure of speaking with a gentleman from the company, although to be fair it was when the graduation ceremony had become a graduation party, and I was a bit more mellow than I would normally be. I do remember talking about there not being peanuts in it due to allergy concerns, but best bet would be to contact them directly with any ingredient questions.

It is a CBD edible, although I would say it would make a good THC infused recipe as well. I think the strong flavor and filling nature would lend itself well to not overindulging, something that can be an issue with other edibles of the same caliber where they would be a taste treat even if not infused. I’ve overdone it on chocolates and gummy bears where after the first few the munchies kicked in and I continued eating them for the pleasure of eating them. With this granola bar (and nibbling at it) I found it to be much more a gourmet granola bar experience than an edible centric one.

Although I haven’t yet had the chance to try it yet, I also received a limoncello CBD bath bomb. I have every reason to believe it will be a nice experience though, since who doesn’t like the occasional indulgence in the bath.

Basic Plant Nutrition

There are several nutrients needed for proper plant growth. The first three are the non-mineral nutrients and are Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Carbon. Water (H2O), atmospheric Oxygen (O2), and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) supply these requirements for plant growth.

In photosynthesis, light energy is collected by chlorophyll in leaves, and part is used to split water (H2O) molecules into free oxygen gas (O2), and hydrogen (H). The hydrogen is bonded with carbon dioxide (CO2) to form the sugars the plant can then use to grow. The water is often added by itself or as part of a nutrient solution, and carbon dioxide are naturally present in fresh air (or is added to the garden as a gas).

In a natural setting, plants use nutrients to grow to maturity, then when they die they fall to the forest floor and return their nutrients to the soil, so new growth can use them to grow to maturity. One reason that composts are useful is that they are made from the decomposed building blocks of other plants (“animal” composts are plants processed through an animal first), and as such tend to have at least a little of all the required nutrients. When an animal dies in the forest, the scavengers eat the fats and meats, and the plants eat what remaining blood and bones they can get (blood tends to be high in N, bone high in P).

In a garden, often times the previous year’s plants have been cleared away, and are not decomposing into compost to return their nutrients to the soil. Even if they were, the nutrients removed along with the harvested portion of the plant would eventually show a loss of nutrients in the system.

In container gardens, the growth medium may be new and sterile, without any preexisting nutrients in them at all. To replace the missing nutrients, they are added to the system in the form of fertilizers.

Fertilizers supply replacement nutrients so they are available for use in plant growth. The first three are known as the primary nutrients, and are so important that they are listed on the front of nutrient packaging.

Nitrogen (N) is needed to make plant cells and the chlorophyll (the green in leaves) required for photosynthesis. Nitrogen compounds comprise from 40% to 50% of the dry matter of plant cells. It promotes large healthy foliage, absorption by roots, and proper plant development. Used in chlorophyll, amino acids, proteins, and nucleic acids. Nitrogen deficiency is the most common nutrient problem. “Growth” nutrients commonly have elevated levels of Nitrogen in them.

Organic nitrogen breaks down over time to become a form available to the plants. In contrast, synthetic nitrogen forms can become available to the plant very quickly, and are often made with an easily dissolved salt.

Nitrogen deficient leaves will contain relatively little chlorophyll, tend to be pale green to yellow in color, and plant growth is retarded. Nitrogen is very mobile in plants, and this enables it to be moved from older growth to young growing tips when supplies are short. This mobility of nitrogen explains why deficiency symptoms appear first in the older lower portions of the plants, working their way up to the growing tips.

Phosphorous (P) is required for photosynthesis, root development, and assists in blooming. It is also used to form nucleic acid which is an essential part of living cells. Compounds of phosphorus are used in respiration and the efficient use of nitrogen. It is important throughout the life cycle of the plant, but use is elevated during flowering. “Bloom” and “Flowering” nutrients often have elevated levels of Phosphorous in them.

Phosphorus deficiencies usually manifest as a generalized under-performance of the plant, leaf development is stunted, and buds size is reduced. Leaves may develop a bluish tint. Phosphorus assists in nitrogen uptake, so symptoms of phosphorus deficiency are often similar to a nitrogen deficiency.

Potassium (K) is required for photosynthesis, carbohydrate and protein creation. It assists with disease resistance, and is used in the “plumbing” of the plant: liquid movement within the plant, stems, roots etc. Many enzymic reactions require potassium, and it assists in silica uptake.and helps with fruit quality. “Bloom” and “Flowering” nutrients often have elevated levels of Potassium in them.

Potassium deficiency often shows as a yellowing/browning/dying of the leaf edges, curled over leaves, followed by yellowing spots in the interior of the leaf face. Discolored spots may appear on the undersides of leaves.

Potassium is mobile, so deficiency symptoms show first on lower leaves as flecking or mottling on the leaf margins. Prolonged deficiency results in cell death along the leaf margins and the plants can show signs of wilt. These symptoms first display in older leaves, and continue to work up through to the newer leaves if not corrected. Growth, root development, disease resistance, and bud size are reduced.

The next three are the secondary nutrients, and are Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg) and Sulfur (S). Calcium-magnesium supplements can be used if needed, but sulfur deficiencies are rare since sulfur appears frequently in both synthetic and organic nutrients.

The final group are known as micronutrients, and are Boron (B), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Chloride (Cl), Manganese (Mn), Molybdenum (Mo), nickel (Ni) Zinc (Zn). Micronutrients are only needed in very small quantities when compared to the other nutrients. Micronutrients may be either added as a separate additive, or included as part of a nutrient line.

One benefit of using a particular nutrient line, is that by following the manufacturer’s schedule the plant should receive enough of the above nutrients to grow. If designing a nutrient regimen, then attention should be paid to ensure that there are sources for each of the nutrients. Regardless of the exact sources of a garden’s nutrients, they can make the difference between a fair garden and an impressive one.