2020 Isolation Grow: Independence

Jul 7, 20202020 Isolation Grow Blog

July 4

This is blog #40 for the 2020 Isolation Grow, falling on July 4 in America, Independence Day.

Magic Jordan seeds are in the house! Thank you, Canadien Hemp Company!

No fireworks this year. To make up for a lack of family, company or pyrotechnics, I’m going to need something colorful . . .

I wish. Yes, we grew all that stuff one year.  Not this year. We still have those peppers dried in a jar. They have been the only Thai spice needed for any number of marinades. (This particular harvest was during the composted horse manure era). Btw, every tomato and pepper is now banned from both of our diets. It’s a nightshade thing. We break that rule for fresh tomatoes. Because fresh tomatoes and almost everything else we grow end up in our favorite summer meal: Summer Garden Pasta.

Boil your favorite penne, grate a mountain of parmesan, and don’t skimp on this sauce. Picked fresh from our garden. Oregano, basil, parsley, nettles, whatever sweet tomatoes we have, green onions (I love throwing in caramelized shallots), olive oil, minced garlic, whatever else ya got, mix it up and boom. There are people in the world reading this right now who have had this meal in our home. I send this photo to all of you. We miss you and hope you are remaining safe. We can’t wait to see some of you when . . . whatever the other side of this virus turns out to be. 

Going to be a relatively quiet 4th here. Playlist is rocking a bit, and that feels good. I’ll be in the beds at various points. Watering and tea pouring already done, pruning and plant inspection later. I’m perfectly fine with a quiet 4th. Though in truth, there is less pruning to be done, in large part due to a long, mostly solo session in the beds by Brenden. Quite a bit removed of inner/lower growth that was never going to get there. Pruning is a ruthless business if you are doing it correctly. In their current state, pruning will serve to boost the growth of what remains. There are noticeable differences every few days, as you’ve probably surmised by the photos that end each of these blogs since Planting Day.

As our plants grow, companion plants develop nearby, and they are attracting beneficial insects. Here is some manner of Assassin Fly that seems to understand the hand of Brenden poses no threat.

Now, allow me to introduce you to one of our greatest enemies in basic form. It is this that can eventually lead to the rotting and removal of way too many flowers. This is a white cabbage moth egg. 

As previously mentioned, these are targeting primarily two plants, and mostly one, RG 5. The following photo of a worm emerging from the leaf casing drew a tremendously adept and timely photobomb from one of our old favorites, the American Hoverfly. 

No interest in fireworks this year. The fire danger is too high, and a loud celebration does not feel quite right at the moment. Nothing about this year feels celebratory, unless you consider 120 days (and counting) of deep isolation to be a party. I will not watch fireworks on television, nor will I listen to any political speech filled with racial hatred and divisiveness. 

When I look at my garden right now, I see true freedom. I see the potential for independence from corporate grown cannabis, and corporate produced medicine. I see lowering our own food costs by growing high calibre organic produce. I am certain that high quality medicine is being produced. But until cannabis falls under the insurance umbrella, it will continue to be high quality medicine that costs too much, and is not sustainable for someone in need, unless wealthy.

When I look at what I’m growing this year, I see several years ahead where a number of over the counter pain products won’t be purchased. We won’t need them. 

I understand that not everyone has the land, the water, and the wherewithal to do what I do, but if you are interested in growing, or building your own dispensary, there has to be a path, a way to progress toward your cannabis independence. I have mentioned several times the importance of networking with growers, and in this, perhaps there is a clue. 

A collective is a beautiful thing. It is a group of people dedicated to a purpose. Is it possible to imagine a collective of growers who all grow different medicine, and make it available for those in need? As described here, of course, this is already happening. It is  being done elsewhere. It is not far-fetched that you could start your own collective and build a network of contributors for the good of your peeps, and their peeps, and so forth. Teaching others to grow and share.

Right now, during these desperately difficult circumstances, it is the best possible time to begin making plans. Because in case you haven’t noticed, things are changing. Possibly, things are changing for the better in ways I’ve long hoped, but never dared to believe would actually occur in my lifetime. Now is the time for ideas to be voiced and heard. It feels like something special might actually be happening. 

When I look at my garden now, I no longer only see the things that benefit me and mine. I see things growing that will benefit others we know. I see a growing methodology, and a way to view gardening in general, to be shared for the greater good. Free of charge.

“If you grow something special, share it. If someone is in need, give it freely.”

Today in the mail, I received a five pound bag of SEA-90 fertilizer. Someone is enjoying the blog and sent me this bag. From Canada. Thank you so much. Inside was an unsigned handwritten note saying, “I think you’ll enjoy using this.” 

So I called Seaagri and spoke with Robert Cain about their product. I will begin using it in compost teas next week. It reads exactly like something I should add to all my teas. In speaking with Robert, we agreed that one of the coolest things about how we were meeting was that it started by someone anonymously sending me their product. We discovered we share a joy of unconditional giving. Something odd I forgot to tell Robert was that this product had been recommended to me from someone at Oaksterdam only a few days before, and I had placed my own online order for it. So sometime this summer, I’ll have a second bag. 

Unconditional giving is why I feel such profound joy in writing this blog. I hope you can feel my joy. I wish the entire world could take a timeout in my joy. Sharing how much I love my wife, and some of the victories and defeats we’ve had since Karen became ill, to get where we are at present, is a gift for me, and as always, an opportunity. On this day, what I feel most when I breathe in, and breathe out, is hopeful.

This is a horribly unique Independence Day. It’s the darkest year I’ve ever seen in my country, and for reasons I haven’t articulated, I’m feeling hope. When I think about Independence Day this year, I’m all in on Black Lives Matter. I’m an aging white man, with deeply prejudiced parents from the American South that I loved, and today, I want to stand on a mountain and shout Black LIves Matter to the entire world. Cuz that’s where this whole thing is going, folks, and isn’t it finally about time? If my parents were still alive at this moment, I would offer them my hands to help them stand with me, but if they declined, I’d grab them by the scruff, stand them right up, and explain that this is where the line is finally being drawn. Ok, I’m worked up a bit now. Did not expect to go here on this blog, but you know what? Now is the time to stand. Now is not the time to remain quiet and watch it unfold. Because of Karen’s health, I can’t march, but I can use my words and be counted for what is right. It’s been time for this as long as I can remember, but right now, while it’s here in front of us, and before it gets buried like so many yesterdays where we forgot and/or did not have the courage to say it, please, please, stand up and say it out loud: Black Lives Matter! That’s the independence I’m hoping for in 2020. Happy 4th of July, America. Survive and vote.

Peace from all of us, to you and all of yours.

80℉  52% humidity 


Jeffery Hickey
Oaksterdam Alumni

Jeffrey Hickey is a 2014 IPPY award winning novelist, performing in over 900 Reader’s Theater shows that featured his authorship of adult novels, and books for children. His accomplishments include a program of self-empowerment and effective oral communication, “Find Your Voice,” that he taught in public and private schools throughout Northern California. Jeffrey is the father of twin sons, and is arguably the happiest married man on the planet.