A guest rant by Tom Alexander
A good friend and best selling author on marijuana cultivation
recently submitted his books to the Garden Writers Association for their annual
Quill & Trowel awards.
At first he was told his works wouldn’t be considered for the
awards because the judges didn’t consider them to be “gardening.” Then he
received word that his works would be considered but “the judges had a
significant difference of opinion as to whether the subject matter was
gardening. Lacking a specific definition of gardening, which will be resolved
later, the group accepted your entries for review and judging.” To say the
judges were prejudiced and his chances at an award were next to zero would be
Obviously, there is going on behind the scenes at the GWA a
discussion as to just what defines gardening. I would submit that even though
marijuana is illegal (for a few more months at least in California),
cultivating the plant is gardening (or farming in the larger plots.) Many marijuana
gardeners have researched breeding and cultivation techniques that are way
beyond anything that many land grant universities are doing, both in soil and
Even though the plant is considered a weed, it needs a good
growing medium, lots of nutrients and water. It needs pruning to bush out for
maximum yields. It needs close attention, especially indoors for pests such as
white flies, aphids and spider mites. Gardeners also have to pay attention to
when the flower buds are at their maximum ripeness just like vegetables and
other flowers. In short, it needs a human to attend to its needs. To me that is
the definition of gardening: plants needing humans to survive and flourish.
In the gardening world, many times there is an elitism that is
sort of inherent in the plants and kind of garden a gardener grows. Those that
don’t know the latin names of every plant turn their nose up at those that do.
Those that like fancy flower gardens with a feng shui design, look down at
those who garden in more of a disorderly kung fu design. Vegetable gardeners
think their gardens are better than flower gardeners. Container gardeners
choose the beauty and art of the container over growing in soil. And vice versa
in many of those examples.
Now we have the non marijuana gardeners considering marijuana
growers as not gardeners at all.
Gardening is much like obscenity. You know it when you see it.
For me, the definition of gardening should be the planting, tending,
cultivation and care of a plant; any and all plants, including marijuana. Just
because it is for now, an illegal plant, doesn’t exclude it from being grown
and considered gardening. Moral and personal judgements shouldn’t come into
play as to what is gardening. In fact it is much more difficult to garden
marijuana because the gardener has to worry about the garden getting stolen by
thieves or confiscated by law enforcement. Most gardeners don’t have to worry
about those two reasons for crop failure in their gardens.
Tom Alexander has been a gardening publisher since 1980. His
blog, GrowingEdge.com covers all aspects of sustainable, organic and
non-genetically modified legal gardening and farming in soil, hydroponically,
aquaponically and in greenhouses. In September he also is reviving his
marijuana information blog, SinsemillaTips.com . Follow him on Twitter
on August 30, 2010 at 5:00 am, in the category Guest Rants, Ministry of Controversy.