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!

Week of January 1st


Even though I started the “garden” when we moved in last year, I thought this might be a fun way to document all the changes.  I’m going to try to be slightly more structured this year, and this will also give me a chance to document my learnings and preserve some notes for future growing seasons.


The Great Basil Propagation Experiment!

Matt showed me a YouTube video before the holiday that got me inspired to really get good at growing and taking care of basil plants.  I love growing basil, but I always just forget to take care of it so it ends up going crazy and then kaput. So in this experiment, I’ve got two good pots of Basil where I’ve snipped the top few nodes off the health plants and put them in water.  The idea is to keep them under a grow lamp and on heat mats to have the snippings grow some roots then planting them like a normal seedling. This should also give the original plants an opportunity to fill out the spots where you cut from. You can keep repeating the process as the plants grow.  Let’s see if this works!



On one of my last visits to Miner’s in December, they had a box of freebie onion bulbs for the taking!  Never one to shy away from an unplanned challenge, I took 14 bulbs. I got those planted today and am looking forward to seeing how these grow.

1/4/2019 & 1/5/2019

Haven’t been feeling great since the new year, but Spring waits for nobody!  And here on the central coast, that spring comes earlier than in the midwest!  During the holiday break, Dad and I made some modifications to the beautiful Crafted Workshop planter box that I wanted to build, and made it slightly more managable for a first timer.  I knew the weekend was supposed to be rainy, so decided I could use the project as a good rainy day project.

It was actually quite managable, once I got the proper measurements decided.  I cut most of the boards on Friday night (except the bottom boards, waiting until the box was assembled to do that!) and then put everything together on Saturday.  Only a few mishaps (put one side on upside down!) but other wise it was a pretty straight forward build. It’s pretty big, so for future boxes I might make them smaller but I think for the first one, it turned out pretty great!  Now all that is left is to sand and stain/seal and line it before filling her up!

And yes, I know the stain/sealing is a hot topic - but this won’t be used for eating plants and it will be lined, so I’m not too worried about any chemical leaching into the soil.