Saturday, March 7, 2015

Growing Cannabis in Seattle

I recently had the opportunity to tour the cannabis growing operation at New Leaf Enterprises in Seattle. I've done some propagation and greenhouse work in the past, so I found the tour fascinating.

However, seeing how cannabis is grown for commercial use isn't something the average person might get to do. Although the sale and use of medical and recreational marijuana is legal in Washington State, you won't be seeing acres of marijuana planted in open ground any time soon. According to state regulations, each plant must be registered and accounted for throughout its lifecycle, and it's hard to protect plants from poaching when they're grown outdoors.

Plus, indoor operations can control everything: heat, humidity, water, nutrients, and day length (i.e. periods of light and darkness). Not surprisingly, users say that the quality of products grown indoors is superior to what is grown outdoors.

If you've ever been curious about how these plants are grown and harvested, and no one has invited you inside their operation to show you around, here's the next best thing - a video tour inside New Leaf Enterprises, home of Dama Cannabis. Take a look.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Chihuly Garden & Glass

There really is nothing quite like the Chihuly Garden, one half of the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at Seattle Center. Situated at the foot of the iconic Space Needle, it combines Northwest native plants, selected ornamentals and an imaginative collection of glass art. Here are a few images of this unique garden.

To get to the Garden, you first tour the Glass exhibit, and then walk through a glass house, pictured above, which leads out into the Garden.

Once outside, you see a magnificent glass sculpture representing the sun, suspended over a mass planting of black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens') - a visual representation of night and day.

The rest of the garden beds have individual color themes. Here purple "candles" stand alongside native ferns and logs salvaged from Northwest forests.

Plants in each bed have been chosen to complement the glass. The red branches of the coral bark maple (Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku') shown above echo the red glass surrounding it.

The orange garden is pure whimsey. I imagine that the daylilies in the foreground have yellow-orange blooms, but even without bloom, this bed is eye catching.

Note: all of these photos were taken when the Garden opened two years ago. As plants have matured, it undoubtedly looks quite a bit different. Which leads me to my only complaint about this exhibit. It would be nice to be able to visit just the Garden, without having to buy a ticket for both the Garden and the Glass exhibit. After all, plants are constantly changing, but the glass, once blown, stays the same.

That said, the interior Glass exhibit is well worth a visit at least once for its remarkable collection of Chihuly glass. And if you are hungry, you'll also enjoy the attached Collections Cafe, with excellent food served amid Chilhuly's collections of toy trucks, transistor radios, and more. Be sure to look up at the ceiling!

Chihuly Garden and Glass is located on the grounds of Seattle Center. For information on hours, ticket prices and more, click here.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Save Your Back with Elevated Garden Beds

There's plenty of research that shows that gardening is good for people. It is a great stress reliever, and gardening lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and diabetes. Gardening is a mood elevator and a sleep aid. It is also said to improve people's sex lives.

But sometimes there are serious obstacles in the way of getting a garden growing. What if you have really poor soil? What if you have back and joint problems and it is hard for you to bend over? What if you are confined to a wheelchair? What if the only space you have for a garden is an apartment balcony or a small patio?

For you, the solution might be an elevated garden bed. These beds bring gardens up to a level that is easy to reach. They also fit nicely into small spaces. And manufacturers are coming up with innovative and attractive designs for planters that can be shipped right to your door and assembled in minutes. Here are a couple of examples.

The Grownomic Rustic Elevated Garden Bed, shown above, is made of Western red cedar which is resistant to rot. The wood is untreated, so you don't have to worry about toxic chemicals leaching into your garden soil. It stands 30" tall and is 2 feet deep and 4 feet wide. The planter depth is 8", perfect for growing herbs, salad greens and other shallow rooted vegetables. This planter assembles in minutes, without any tools.

If you want a splash of color to brighten up your space, this stylish Herstera Urban Garden Metal Trolley from EarthEasy comes in 4 colors: silver, red, white and moss green. It measures 29-1/2" wide, 13.8" deep, and 33" tall. The planter compartment is 8" deep. The trolley is made of galvanized and powder coated steel and is resistant to rust. Assembly is easy - no tools required. With the shelf below to store tools, this is ideal for small spaces. Wheels make it easy to move from place to place.

The beauty of these elevated beds is that you can get a small garden started quickly and easily. No struggling with tools or equipment. Just assemble, fill with clean top soil, plant and enjoy!