Returning home to Ganja Ma Gardens after nine days swirling about the Emerald Cup‘s whirlpool of cannabis celebration and industry work feels, quite simply, amazing. A bit weary from life on the road, even run-of-the-mill chores mend my mind, body and spirit.
Work that gets my hands dirty helps ground me to the Earth. Although we’d barely been home a day, there was already work to be done to prepare us for next year’s grow. This unertaking required the movement of large piles of compost. We’ll use this nutritious compost to feed both our food and cannabis gardens. This straightforward task provided balance to the hustle-and-bustle of the recent months. As I climbed aboard Hank—our lovingly-named John Deere tractor—I fondly remembered learning to drive my Uncle Gilbert’s tractor at the age of 12 so I could help on his farm alongside my cousin Philip and my older brother, Bob. Real Farmin’!
Compost piles sorted, the next chore to cross off the list meant emptying the ash cans we use to clean our wood burning stoves. I had already built a sieve by nailing a wire screen to a wooden frame. Placing the sieve over a wheelbarrow, I poured the ash through it, gathering every remaining, useable chunk of charcoal. Nothing is wasted here at Ganja Ma Gardens.
Even the fine ash will be put to use in the new Hugel beds we plan to build. Using ash as fertilizer in this way is called potash, an ancient technique. As the name suggests, potash contains high levels of potassium, a nutrient that our girls love. We plan to amend the Sri Yantra Garden’s soil using large charcoal chunks along with compost, leaves, wood chips, alfalfa meal, lava rock, straw and manure from a nearby friend’s farm. We also plan to build higher Hugelette beds in the Sri Yantra Garden in 2018, so we’re already working to increase the amount of amendments we create here on site at the farm. While it may be December 2017, the preparations for summer 2018 and beyond are well underway. Time does fly, and it’s imperative to prepare. Yet, though we dream and ready ourselves for next year’s garden, we are still deep in 2017. While unpacking and storing our Emerald Cup ephemera — decor, production materials and more—we’re also cleaning and stowing the tools we just used to harvest and trim.
Thankfully, through the tasks of sorting, storing, cleaning and planning, we’re afforded time to pause and reflect, to walk our land after being away from it for so long, to slow down and smoke for healing, for pleasure and for inspiration. Now that judging The Cup is passed, we can put down the score card and simply meditate as we medicate. The clean up work itself offers a sort of meditation. Plus, beyond work, there’s time to notice the small things, to look around, to enjoy the simplicity of farm life and to really tune into the tranquil beauty of this place we are blessed to call “home.”
The California State Department of Food and Agriculture, in its bureaucratic wisdom, has redefined the 700 hundred year old concept of a plant’s “canopy” to mean not simply the area shaded by the plant itself; rather, “canopy” now refers to the entire area inside the garden’s fence. Thanks to this political decision, Ganja Ma Garden’s three cultivation sites must be consolidated into one single garden, the Sri Yantra Garden, of which so many of you are familiar. This move will allow Swami Select to comply with California’s new definition of “canopy” while also keeping us within the 10,000 square foot limitation placed on cannabis cultivators. These rules require digging fresh trenches and building new Hugelettes, using soil from our other gardens. Our plan will maximize the space we can grow in while also allowing us to grow using the sacred geometric design. We work with thoughtful diligence to protect the true spirit of cannabis, providing our patients with safe plant medicine while staying compliant to state regulations. As practitioners of regenerative agriculture who grow in living soil, we are proud to provide safe, clean medicine rich in healing terpenes, cannabinoids and a dash of inspiration.
While the past year has brought hardship to most everyone in the cannabis community, Swami Select included, we are determined to thrive in the new, regulated world. It’s about more than surviving. It’s about continuing to protect and share the healing spirit of this long cultivated plant so that future generations can benefit from it, too. Cultivating cannabis today depends on “track and trace” operations as on digging in the dirt. Even in this time of jarring evolution, if we work together as a community, if we peacefully reflect and appreciate this beautiful land, this amazing plant and the valuable work we provide as caregivers…if we can do all those things with hope, respect and love, then the old Mendo spirit, the very same vibe that has taken us this far, will survive.