January Garden Observations

  • Hummingbirds are still gone; have been keeping the feeders clean and filled, just in case

  • Butterflies & other pollinators: Saw a bee on one of my flowers, but otherwise not much in that department

  • As far as we know, the skunk is still living under the house.  We had a debacle with him getting in the crawlspace opening, but he seems to have just dug his own entry way.  Concerning.

  • Gophers are still ransacking the front yard, and between them and the winds and rain, one of our lovely palm trees on the side of the house (the smaller one, not the bigger one) has lost it’s footing.  Hoping the lawn guys see it, not sure if I should let rental managers know.

  • Rainy and not particularly light (find some research, also where the arduino’s would be helpful)

Week of January 20th


You can tell it feels like spring - the parking lots at all the garden centers are packed!  Ran some errands in SLO today (Farm Supply, Miners, Michaels, etc). PIcked up some horseradish bulbs, succulents and more hyacinth bulbs; found some new containers to use for succulents (since i”m going to have a million of them once the cuttings are ready (and some of them certainly have sprouted roots already!).

Week of January 6th


Since I’m new to the area, and am in an odd microclimate, I’m trying to be ‘safe’ in terms of when the ‘last frost’ date will be.  My zone is 10, and we experienced some ‘frost’ temps over night for a few days late december/early january, but my plants that are outside seem to have survived, including my little tomato starts.  The root veggies I’m not too surprised about but the tomato impressed me. Even the milkweed made it through without any protection. This is insipiring another upcoming project (arduino temp gauges) that i’ll write more about later.  But, today I got some of my seeds started for the flower containers. Pentas, Petunia, Phlox, Lobelia, and Saliva’s are all on the growing mat now, and hopefully in a few days will be ready for some soil. Not sure if this is actually needed, but will try the next batch directly in the seed starting medium instead.


When checking on the seedlings today, I noticed my Basil experiment has started to send roots out!  They aren’t big, but they’re a start. And today is the start of the 2nd week, so that’s pretty good progress.  Another rainy, cloudy day we’re not expected to get any sun today. In between the showers, I had the briefest of visits from one of hte hummingbirds at the feeder outside my office.  If I had blinked, I would have missed it, so I’m not sure where they’ve been hiding the last few weeks, but I’m glad to know they’re around.


The sun is finally out today and it looks like we got a touch more rain over the evening and into the morning.  I’ll need to get out and check on the root veggies that really need picking. But I also noticed this morning the chrysalis that was behind the grill hatched, but the little guy didn’t make it.  I found him too late - it doesn’t look like he was able to find anything to attach to, his wings were still crumpled. Not a great sign for the start of the year. I’ve got two more chyrsalis’s that are in the back, so I’m hoping those both hatch successfully.

Ran to HD at lunch time (exciting, right? Most people go to a restaurant) and picked up the stain/sealer, paint brush, more sanding discs, landscape fabric and plastic sheeting to continue on the planter box.

Also did a quick measurement on the front to get a sense of what size boxes would work for the front, but I need to keep in mind that its a super shady spot.  So I bought some more lumber - more of the 6” cedar boards, but also some of the 8” boards. Considering doing the deeper boards in front. We’ll see.

Thought about the trellis for the first planter box, but I think I’m going to hold off on that, and let things grow first.

Also spotted a few monarchs out, so need to get on the project of making a milkweed cage!