Thursday, April 28, 2016

This was unexpected...


About 3 inches of snow.

But it won't last long.

I was feeling pretty ill that day and had to call out from work, which i really didn't want to do.  I really didn't know it was snowing until that evening.  Two days later it is 98% melted away. Some remains in the deeper shady parts of the treeline and against the dim sided of fences and shadows of houses.


This is what Skirret seedlings look like:

And Leonotis:

And Lemongrass...  (some Stevia on the lower part).

I pulled the Henna and Santolina Tomentosa from the fridge (the seeds were wrapped in moist paper towel and zippy-bagged getting cold treatment).

I got my seed order of herbal tea mints and other interesting things that i bought from an eBay seller.  I'll post that list later.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Leopard frogs are out,  they have been for a few days. The spring peepers have also been awake for about a week but we don't have any of the vernal pools they prefer close by enough to hear them from the house. Leopard frogs seem happy with the trickles in the gully across the way.  Its nice to hear them.  I've meant to try and get audio recordings of the peepers for a few years but haven't taken the time to do so.  Their singing is a deep rooted sign of spring,  like seeing the maples blooming.

I had started a post about my change in jobs but i never put it past draft. I now work in a national chain (big box) home improvement store. I am really enjoying it. My draft was full of my angst about wanting to be perfect straight away and being nervous about an almost total change of direction in career paths. I was pretty spastic but have since settled in. I think i'm going to be ok.  My favorite place to work is, of course, in Outside Lawn & Garden.  It has been cold weatherwise and it hasn't been busy out there very much. Today was my 3rd stint in that department. My first day it was sunny but very windy,  my second day it was gorgeous and there were two of us out there to cashier so it wasn't lonely. Today was chilly, breezy and a few sunny breaks.  The first 2 hours were dull. I saw almost no customers so i sat on my bucket inside the warming shed that is built around the cash register. There is an electric heater provided which is nice. If it is slow and lonely, we are permitted to sit and are allowed to have a book or other things to keep ourselves occupied- which is a luxury.  I've never had a job where sitting and doing "nothing" is not considered a severe infraction. As a cashier, i'm expected to remain within 10 feet of my station. If a customer needs help much beyond that range i have to call a floor employee to assist them. It is a strange contrast to what i am used to. Most places i have worked i tend to be a one person "show". If a task is at all feasible - even remotely- it was my responsibility.  This often meant booking it at top walking speed across the building to fetch, retrieve or locate an item, paperwork or whatever else a customer required. Not that i minded. I like a challenge. I keep thinking.... "I have never, in my life, done so little for so much hourly compensation". This is where my spastic personality comes in. I'm worried the slow season will make me a lazy worker. I've been doing my job at the pace that comes but spring and summer for home improvement stores is like Christmastime for other types of retail stores. Things WILL pick up very soon...  but i don't know what other people's definition of "crazy busy" is. I might find myself completely overwhelmed or i might wonder what the fuss was all about.  Oh,  but it is nice to have a job where i can sit outside and be warm, surrounded by plants and have time to mull my own thoughts.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Seeds of the day

Two more flats done, mostly herbs:

Zinger Hibiscus
Holy Basil
Santolina Tomentosa (in plastic baggie chilling in the fridge)
Henna herb (also chilling out in a baggie in the fridge)
Bouquet Dill
Sweet Marjoram
Curled Chervil
Winter Savory
Greek Oregano
Green Shiso
Red Shiso
Lettuce Leaf Basil
French Thyme
Flat Leaf Parsley
Garden Sage
Strawberry Spinach
Lunaria ("Money Plant, "Honesty"- obviously not a culinary herb)
Job's Tears (the seeds are apparently edible but i want more for beading)
Skirret (which is a sort of perennial carrot/parsnip-like creature with tubers that are edible)

So this is today's effort

I've been making plant markers out of the plastic covers of used spiral-bound notebooks that were destined for the trash. They take labeling with a silver Sharpie (seems more reliable a pigment than black or any other color of Sharpie) perfectly and are stiff enough to stay in the dirt but soft enough to bend if i use a clear plastic cover on the flat. The plastic will still end up in the garbage some day but it has been a useful way to prolong it.

This group somehow ended up getting leggy. I think the room might be too warm at times.

I don't think i ever posted a picture of that shelf i made last year out of PVC. I had meant to, so this is what it looks like.

If i don't do it this year, i'll do it next-  add one more level and possibly use 3 fixtures per level.
Speaking of level,  this coming paycheck i will buy something that will fix the uneven hardware cloth situation.  Tilted flats don't distribute water evenly.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Started Seeds Log

Started the following Saturday, April 2:

Toothache Plant (Spilanthus Acmella) -more on that later
Nepitella herb
Ancho hot pepper
A few more Ghost Peppers so i can have some plants to share
Shooting Star eggplant
Black Beauty eggplant
Martin's Carrot hot pepper
Doorknob sweet pepper

Today will be Tomato Day

I just need to make my final choices on what types to plant and which to pass this year.

As usual, i have a fair selection to pick from:

Matt's Wild cherry
Black Krim
Martino's Roma
Burpee's Supersauce
3 seeds left of Pruden's Purple
Cherokee Purple
Chocolate Miracle
Pineapple Bicolor
Ivory Pear

I'm also planning to try planting watermelon in soil bags this year. I'll get some 2 cubic foot bags of garden soil and set them just outside the actual plowed garden and slip a few seeds in each and see how it goes.  If it does not work i will just give up on melons...permanently.

This morning it seemed like it would be a good day to burn Stanley's cut-offs and maybe give him a dose of Fungonil but the wind picked up again.

I have some odds and ends seeds i need to not forget:

Job's Tears
Mexican Hat flower
Ground Cherries
pumpkin on a stick

I did remember to buy soaker hose (2 packages of 100' each) and 100'x20' 6 mil black plastic sheeting.  Depending on the configuration options (which i won't be sure of until i can pull it all from the packaging, lay it out, take stock and measure the garden) i may just grab one more 100' soaker hose. I did read that for optimum efficiency the hose lengths should be less than 50'.  My garden is roughly 35'x35' maximum, so this shouldn't be a problem.

  I have been reading up on covering the whole garden.

  I was a little worried that lack of air to the soil might be an issue but a few articles from Ag Exchange sources say that it isn't a problem and the plastic actually collects the CO2 from decomposing matter in the ground. This is beneficial because when you make holes to put the garden plants in, the CO2 is concentrated and released right to and among the leaves of the garden plant. The plants are in a sort of CO2 chimney - like a person taking in supplemental oxygen- it is a boost.  I decided that if i am going to lay down all that plastic,  i'm also going to install the hoops & Reemay again. My biggest malfunction with the hoops was access.  The wind that i am constantly griping about makes opening and closing the hoops very tricky when it is just me trying to control the floaty Reemay.  With the plastic on,  weeding chores should be very minimal. With the hoops and Reemay on,  bug infestations may be severely reduced as well.  The Reemay might also hold in more of that lovely co2 and the plastic will keep it all very warm....  it might be too warm and will definitely need monitoring.  If there's too much generated heat,  i think i could apply wetted newspaper in strategic areas and watch out for slugs, snails and earwigs. I think this stands a chance to be a good strategy overall.