Johanna Silver is a gardener, writer and editor, formerly the garden editor at Sunset magazine and regular contributor to Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes & Gardens, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She is the author of The Bold Dry Garden, on the garden and legacy of famed California famed plantswoman Ruth Bancroft and her famed cacti and succulent garden.
This week Johanna joins us to talk about her newest book: Growing Weed in the Garden, a No-Fuss, Seed-to-Stash Guide to Outdoor Cannabis Cultivation out now from Abrams Press.
Cannabis has been legal for medicinal purposes in California since the late 1990s, and in late 2016, California voters approved the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, thereby legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. The use, sale, and possession of cannabis over .03% THC remains illegal under federal law, however. That said, according to a recent report on NPR: "Thirty-three US states currently allow for some form of sale and consumption of marijuana. And of those, more than 20 states have designated the cannabis industry as essential during the coronavirus outbreak.
Cannabis sativa is a plant equally loved and reviled, common and commonly misunderstood. As the rest of our warm season crops – tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and the like come online in the garden – this week we’re joined by Johanna to help us demystify this other warm season crop and very specific weed.
"They can be so beautiful, with amazing fragrances, and they are among the oldest plants cultivated by humans."
Johanna Silver, Growing Weed in the Garden
From the beginning of its prohibition in the 1920s to becoming fully illegal in the 1970s controlled substances act, to its recent legalization in varying degrees in 33 states, Cannabis can be very confusing. In our conversation Johanna helps to shine a light in a long storied plant.
For a full list of the legal status of Cannabis state by state, check out more information here:
Join us again next week when author and maker Melanie Falick joins us to discuss her new book, "Making a Life, Working by Hand and Discovering the Life You are Meant to Live" out now from Artisan. the empowerment behind the hand made in our lives – in making our lives. Hard to say when this truth has ever been more apparent to so many of us. And of course, to make a garden is to grow a better life by the sweat and creativity of our own hands.
There are soooooo many ways people engage in and grow from the cultivation of their places.
RELATED EPISODES INCLUDE:
- THE KITCHEN GARDEN REVIVAL, NICOLE BURKE of GARDENARY
Thinking out Loud this week...
Really – I have had people say to me forever – well at last since before California’s landmark legalization in 2016, "you should do an episode on pot!" And I was nothing less than dismissive. "No way – way too fringe for me."
And here I am in doing it. Why? Because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that in the garden as in life (to quote Annie Red Bird) those uncomfortable territories in our own minds or lives that are masked by prejudice are calling out to us asking us to wonder why? Why do I have such a bias against this one, ancient and medicinal plant? And who benefits OR is harmed by my harboring an un-interrogated blanket rejection of any one plant – especially one as ancient potentially healing, ritually rich, and useful as this one? Because Cannabis itself has done nothing wrong – and there are PLENTY of other psychoactive plants that we blithely cultivate in our gardens without much fanfare let alone confusing legislation – poppies, salvias, skullcaps, cacti, agave, and more.
But this plant is shrouded in angst and misinformation and so when Johanna Silver started documenting on Instagram her journey in researching and trialing Cannabis, I paid attention to my own reaction – and my own misunderstanding and lack of solid information. And I was in. Because if one of the things we’re trying to address as gardeners in this world is the plant blindness of the whole, then un-founded plant blindfolds over our eyes has no place.
In this time of Covid-19 – of social distancing and varying levels of isolation – you all have been my constant companions. In my mind, in my ears, in my in-box, on social media. Want to know something? There are more than 32,000 of you who tune into the Cultivating Place podcast every month – which blows my mind. From Seattle to Austin, Los Molinos, Ca to London England and Orange, New South Wales, Australia – we grow together and we grow better – deeper, wider, louder and wiser, gentler.
We are the gardeners – regenerative, intersectional, powerful agents of positive change.
Thank you for listening, thank you for donating to support the program, thank you for sharing the episodes out to your own family and friends – we are our own mycelial network of food, beauty, utility, medicine – cultural and environmental literacy starting from our own small seeds of this undeniable impulse to garden.
It may be me doing most of the talking people – but I hear you. Thank you….
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