I was hoping to get the garden spot nailed down and some tilling done, at the least. I had dreams of getting the back flower beds cleaned up and ready for planting. Instead, I spent all yesterday in a drug induced semi-coma exactly where I plan to spend today in a drug-induced semi-coma–on the couch, with the TV on.
I caught Dwayne Johnson on Saturday Night Live, though, and that just tickled the shit right out of me. I like that he seems game for everything and there’s something about his ability to connect the audience to his delight in what he’s doing that made, I thought, even the most terrible skits watchable.
I felt a little bad for Fred Armistead, though, because no only was Ba-Rock Obama pretty amusing on its own, Dwayne Johnson inherently has that kind of smooth charisma that Obama has, but Armistead lacks. Seeing Johnson as Obama made me feel like there were all kinds of funny things a person could do to send up Obama, but I just don’t feel like Armistead gets it.
Then I caught the “Why Yes, MTV is Trying to Kill Chris Clarke Show,” in which a bunch of semi-obnoxious daredevils go all these places Chris Clarke loves and drive all over them in whatever vehicles the have handy and then launch themselves and those vehicles into canyons where, after parachuting to the bottom, they are rescued by helicoptors and I don’t know what becomes of their motorcycles.
It’s a sign I’m getting old, I know, because believe me, when the first in this genre came out–Jackass–it was such a nice antidote to the Tom Greene show that I watched it with a real sense of joy and relief. I mean, I’m sure it can be annoying to be caught up in Jackassian chicanery, but I can’t remember it ever being directed at people who weren’t in on it. Where as Greene’s whole thing was about making people who didn’t know what he was up to the butts of his pranks. Which is not to say that Jackass was a perfect program, just that it was so much better than what came before.
But now? This third or fourth generation? Maybe it’s me. It just seems obnoxious in a really sad way. Because here’s all this stuff that is amazing in its own right and the whole show is about people who go to these amazing places and turn those amazing places into their playpens. It’s never about engaging your surroundings as they are, but, no matter what, forcing your surroundings to conform to your preexisting ideas of what fun is.
Anyway, let’s talk gardening. I planted some tomato seeds for NM to see if I can get them started. At the same time, I started some herbs and continued on our quest to grow cactuses from seed. What kinds of things are y’all planning on growing? Did you get any good work done in the yard this weekend? And are you noticing all the birds squabbling around?
And the Butcher and I are worried about how huge our tomato seedlings are. Will they be okay for the coming month, until we put them in the ground or did we start them too early?
Have you re-potted your tomato seedlings or are they still in the tiny things you started them in? If they are still in the things you started them in they need to be transplanted into something a little larger. Hope you feel better soon.
Yes, your tomatoes (also peppers and other stuff like that) need to get fatter as well as taller. If you don’t have any containers for growing bigger transplants I can give you some that are leftover from my last attempt to grow my own.
I have noticed the birds. Yesterday I saw two young male cardinals trying to scare each other out of the presence of a female, who just went on calmly eating and ignoring them both. Also a goldfinch checking out our big holly bush; some birds or other almost always nest there and I would love it if it was goldfinches this year. And there are purple martins setting up in the purple martin houses our neighbors across the street have. But my favorite so far this year has been the incredibly stupid wren that was trying to build a nest on top of my wind chimes.
We always grow the tomato starts in 3″ peat pots to give them plenty of room to grow. We also use supplemental lighting, but they will get leggy no matter what, I think. When is your last frost date?
When you plant the leggy starts, bury them down in the ground. The leggy stem will root. Not kidding. It’ll give it a good base, if nothing else, and takes care of some of the legginess.
I have some pots too, if you want me to drop them by the office
Regarding stuff on starting seedlings of plants – these won’t work for tomatoes, but I discovered a really good thing at Trader Joe’s when shopping.
I bought a two-fer of bell pepper – one red, one green – and they are packaged in this cardboard stuff. The cardboard packaging is perfect for starting seedling of something AND it’s biodegradeable. I normally reuse styrofoam cups that come from take out restaurants, for my sunflowers, etc – but this is another option as well. The tree hugger in me gets all giddy about stuff like this.
As much as I did not like Jackass or most of it’s descendents, Chris and I are enjoying the hell out of Nitro Circus. Mostly because he’s all, “that looks like fun!” and I’m all, “you’d fucking kill yourself, dumbass.” I usually do a little reading while it’s on, too.
One of our gardener friends buys the root-bound tomato plants for cheap at the nurseries and plants them laying down in a trench like you describe, with just the tops above ground. The whole stem sends off roots and the plant is much sturdier than if it had been planted “feet down”.
We get an early start in the Sonoran Desert: the frontyard has been blooming for weeks. Just now we are getting ready for the summer crops: seeds of corn, tomatoes, squash, and beans go in this week. We just pulled up the snap and snow peas and have a 5-gallon bucket to blanch and freeze and/or shell. The broccoli and cabbage came out last week after going to flower in the heat (it was 90-plus last week). The carrots are coming out a dozen a week as ready. The onions and garlic will stay in until they can be seen cropping out: May or June. The spinach is still good, but the lettuce bolted four weeks ago. New rosemary and oregano are taking root in the herb garden between the volunteer catnip and basil.
We have goldfinches, hummingbirds, and house sparrows in the frontyard flowers, but my favorites are the Harris’s Hawks that hunt the pigeons from the telephone cross-posts, for the drama of it.
Oh, when I lived in the Bronx I was next to a vacant lot of unknown ownership that the super of my building used to use as a paid parking lot. And the unknown owner of the lot found out about it and shut him down, but still didn’t do anything with the lot, so it remained vacant, and got all overgrown, and mourning doves, mice, and probably groundhogs and such all made their homes there. (This is separate from the befuzzled ducks who waddled up and down the block in confusion after they had flown over from the Bronx River, which flowed through the Botanical Garden right next door.) And one glorious day, a kestrel came and perched on my fire escape while it decided which of the small edible things below to scoop up next, and then it tensed its shoulders and swooped. I know I ought to feel sorry for the poor little rodents, but I couldn’t. It was quite lovely.
The Harris’s Hawks often hunt in pairs or threes and so we usually get a pretty good Mutual of Omaha style show right here in our urban neighborhood. If the poor, slow pigeon manages to survive the first hit off the line, the hawks take turns diving and striking at it as it looks for cover. I’m always elated to witness one of these hunts, even though my first reaction is to look away from injury.
Our landlords have okayed us planting veggies in some of their bourgie flowerbeds. Hooray! We’ll probably have to buy plants instead of start with seeds since we’re getting started kind of late for SoCal. Still, this means I can be your gardening buddy too!
Woo hoo! What kinds of things are you planting?