Pubdate: Thu, 17 May 2012
Source: Sacramento News & Review (CA)
Copyright: 2012 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: David Downs


New Book Is for All the Amateur Pot Growers Out There

The days get hotter, the ground grows warmer and millions of cannabis
plants are going into the soil across the state right now. The federal
crackdown is arguably spurring more home grows this year, too. And
while thumping on marijuana businesses, the Obama administration has
tacitly blessed cultivation for personal use, and patients say news of
besieged dispensaries has led to them to snatch up spring starter
plants of Sour Diesel and OG Kush, just in case the election-timed
crackdown lingers.

Celebrity grower and author Ed Rosenthal said that "clones are going
out as fast and they are coming in" to dispensaries. It makes sense
that more people are taking control of their supplies, and Rosenthal
has a new book out on May 15, written expressly for this bumper crop
of amateur gardeners.

It's called Marijuana Pest and Disease Control, and Rosenthal did the
improbable: He penned a book about pests that manages to be
interesting to a layperson.

He describes how slug penises break off during slimy, hermaphroditic
sex; vicious, territorial moles feast on gopher meat; and Donald
Rumsfeld is called a "war criminal" in the foreword.

"I enjoyed doing this book," he said in an interview. "Insects are so
weird. Nature is so weird. We're living on the same planet but in
different worlds."

Marijuana Pest & Disease Control covers "95 percent" of cannabis
growers' problems, he said. And he offered readers five tips for
successful springtime gardening: barriers, biological controls,
helpful soil bacteria, all-natural pesticide and overall sanitation.

"This time of year caterpillars can devastate young plants," Rosenthal
said. White moths endemic to North America lay eggs that turn into
voracious caterpillars. Rosenthal uses an insect net tented over the
tiny plants to let light and air in, but keeps moths, butterflies and
caterpillars out.

Root and stem rot can kill baby cannabis plants or stunt their growth.
Rosenthal recommends the beneficial soil fungus mycorrhiza, which is
widely available in a number of brands.

He also fogs his greenhouse weekly with a one-quarter dilution of his
brand of all-natural pesticide called Zero Tolerance-a mixture of
cinnamon, clove, rosemary and thyme. Rosenthal is staunchly against
the use of synthetic pesticides at home, in his greenhouse and in his

Lastly, don't forget to keep it clean. "We don't believe in
spontaneous generation," he said. Standing water, for example, breeds
algae, fungus and fungus gnats. Wood piles harbor snails, slugs and
many other nasties.

Also, don't invite house pets into your pot garden.

Marijuana Pest & Disease Control also provides gardeners an insect's
view of the war between man and pest, leaving readers with a newfound
respect for the annoyances. "We've co-evolved over millions of years.
They're survivors, perfectly adapted for where they are, maybe more
adapted than we are," Rosenthal said. "Chances are, we're going to go
out, but the insects will still be around."
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