Currently Reading: Pest Eye View

The world’s greatest pot farmer for the past 40 years solves the Northwest Pest problem

Our damp climate is a pest, fungus and bacteria paradise. From the kitchen sink to the garden floor, standing water is a five-star accommodation for these microscopic troublemakers. Yet, considering our Northwest morals we just can’t use harmful pesticides, no matter what Lance Armstrong-style growth hormone success you might get from the yield. This isn’t the case all over the country. Ed Rosenthal is the author of the “Grower’s Handbook,” the million-copy seller that was first published 40 years ago, and this year he has put out a new table-thumper called “Marijuana Pest and Disease Control.”

“Natural pesticide chemistry has been used by plants with no help from humankind for millions of years,” Rosenthal explains.

His influence reaches beyond the printed pages of pulp as he is actively creating products that solve the problems facing novice growers. The “Zero Tolerance” all-natural pesticide recipe using cinnamon, clove and rosemary amongst other exotic ingredients, has become an industry staple. Rosenthal has chosen to turn his attention to the upstart growers just learning the ropes, after decades of pioneering advanced techniques for the botanical elite. He lays out a five-point plan to keep the critters at bay consisting of barriers, biological controls, helpful soil bacteria, all-natural pesticides, and overall sanitation.

As one of the first American writers to explore the horticultural breakthroughs in Holland, with the popularity of indoor gardens still a long ways off, his contributions earn him the royal treatment. On a low-key weekday last month he visits Tacoma Cross to sign a few books and inspire the aspiring. A gray-haired senior wearing a yarmulke chews the fat with a twenty something sporting neck tattoos. Rosenthal’s appeal transcends the differences between us. Dating back to his co-founding of “High Times” magazine, and the “Ask Ed” column that ran forever, he has been the trustworthy father figure that quietly speaks from the heart.

Patients who visit him at Tacoma Cross are eager to share stories from the wildly popular cooking and growing classes offered to a standing-room only crowd in the Downtown collective. An aging gentleman with a baseball hat approaches with a first edition of the “Grower’s Handbook,” it’s in poor condition so an autograph is obviously about the experience not the increased monetary value. He mentions he got it when it first came out, and a much younger budtender adds “it hasn’t changed a bit.”

Pests however, continue to evolve. They are engineered for adaptation. This new offering gets up close and personal with everything from slug penises that are shed after the dirty deed to moths and caterpillars, who love targeting that clone that is full of potential. He spends a lot of time on avoiding root rot which is particularly relevant in the Pacific Northwest. At 4E we really liked the insects perspective of co-evolution alongside humans. This exercise seems to have created a real appreciation in Rosenthal, one can’t help but marvel at the intelligent design that makes insects better suited for survival than humans in the event of catastrophe.

Get “Marijuana Pest and Disease Control” directly from Ed’s website or snag it on Amazon.

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