A Time to Plant…

By Chris Conway

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A Time to Plant…
Clockwise, from top left: Lemons These hemp seed sprouts are a legendary classic strain, ‘Original Haze’ heirloom seeds. Blueberries The Strawberry Patch
Planting time is here! After a long wet winter, there’s never been a better time to get your garden growing. Planning a garden can be a daunting task if growing your own is new to you. As any determined grower will tell you, homegrown tastes the best and Topanga is an excellent place to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, berries, fruit trees…and cannabis. With proper planning, you’ll be enjoying the fruits of your labors for years to come. Cannabis is an excellent “teacher plant” and may help you learn to grow some of the best fruits and veggies around. Since it grows like a weed and puts nutrients back into the soil, planting a few cannabis seeds into the ground may help spark your plants and thus your interest in a lifelong hobby of growing plants. Choosing what to plant in your garden is an important step to ensure its success. Although planting seeds is nature’s preferred way to start a garden, getting young plants from a nursery may help with the task. Most popular fruit tree varieties are the result of grafting a choice cutting onto a vigorous rootstock to produce high-yielding trees with delicious fruit. Similarly, cannabis clones are genetic copies of a mother-plant and the most popular for commercial growers. Selectively bred hybrid varieties create a predictable result by combining a variety of favorable traits from several different parent plants. Heirloom plants grown from seeds of a recognized stabilized genetic variant are also popular for home gardeners. Cannabis growers have developed some of the most sophisticated growing techniques used today. A healthy root system or rhizome is incredibly important for growth of a healthy plant. Indoor hydroponic systems, which bathe the roots in a nutrient-enriched solution, can facilitate rapid growth by creating an aerated, moisture-rich zone for roots to thrive. A sunny space with rich soil full of organic matter and microbes can be even better. Covering your garden with a thick layer of mulch can help retain moisture to protect the roots and provides a great source of food for a healthy community of beneficial microbes to grow. Unlike hydroponics that use chemical-based fertilizers, organic soil systems take time to develop, so gardeners will see improvements to their growth year after year. Young plants need access to water at the base of their stem, but as their root system expands, they can bring moisture in from farther away. 
Cannabis seedlings develop long taproots that break up soils and aid them to access moisture and nutrients deep underground.

A healthy start to life is essential for a productive garden or orchard. Taking advantage of the excessive moisture this year may be the best way to get a forest of food growing at your home. The creek is still flowing and the soils are saturated so there’s plenty of water for plants to make use of a healthy ecosystem to sustain a healthy garden long into the summer when there will be plenty of sunshine to help your plants grow big and strong. 

With such a variation in terrain and weather patterns, planting a diverse group of crops is a great way to ensure a successful harvest. Similar to what we see in nature, inter-planting different crops can increase the success of all plants in your garden. By starting a garden, you can help. Growing your own produce helps reduce our dependence on oil and the fragile system of factory farming and global food production. 

As culture evolves and adjusts to our changing world, planting a garden is also great way for you to stay connected with the earth, thereby improving your health, the health of the environment and of the planet.

Whether you have your sights set on growing your own salsa or pickles, turning your cannabis plants into delicious blonde hash, or just eating fresh tomatoes from your garden is a perfect way to enjoy the sunshine and the beauty of Topanga.

This is Part 4 of an ongoing series by Chris Conway, a long-time Hemp advocate from Topanga. He has worked on reform campaigns, consulted farmers, and advised patients on the best ways to grow, process and utilize hemp, CBD and cannabis. He is excited to see the expansion of the hemp industry to help heal humans and the planet.

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