Week of January 27th


Another busy weekend!

Prepped the new containers for gardening - drilled holes in the metal tubs I’m going to use for the succulents (would be SO PRETTY with the string of pearls!), drilled holes in the new wooden box, sprayed the acrylic coating on the terra cotta pot and the wood box

Started one of the metal tub planters - got the sea weedy plants in, and cleaned up the string of pearls to split enough for both sides.  Also had a little left over to try propagating.

Got the horseradish and potatoes into some soil; also repotted the little tomato plants and little zuchini that were both still in their plastic “grow” containers.

Finished the bottoms of the smaller planters!

Set up the intervelometer for doing some test shots - nothing crazy, just capturing the movement of the sprouts as the sun moved.


Managed to be productive after work today - got the ginger planted, but will keep it in the garage for a few days to acclimate it to the temps, and then do another watering likely over the weekend to get it going.

Also was finally able to get the smaller planter boxes sealed.  I was a little more stingy this time and didn’t cover them with quite so much sealant, but all I have left is to line them and then get those top trim boards in.  Which reminds me, I need to either get my circular saw going and handle it myself or get them marked up and have Matt take them into school (he offered to use his table saw to get them ripped).

Also saw the hot pink hummingbird again - I was worried since he hasn’t been around in a few day!


Man, am I a zombie today!  The skunk certainly made an impression last night.  I was hoping we could co-exist, since they haven’t seemed to be interested in my garden plants and there is a decent chance it’s been eating some of the yucky bugs out there.  But no no, all bets are off now. About 3am last night, I was awakened to the sound of the thumping under my bed.. It almost sounded like it was chewing through something. Right under my bed.  Tried to practice my mindfulness and go back to sleep but then heard the squealing from near the far wall (with the windows). I’m going to hope that it wasn’t from any babies. Again, trying to go back to sleep.   Then I smell it. It starts growing through the room and I can’t handle it any more. I know Matt has to get up in a few hours for a work trip so I really don’t want to wake him, and frankly there isn’t anything I can do at this point right?  I’m not about to scare the skunk off, and aside from looking up home remedies, not. A thing. To. do. The smell was strong enough it woke matt up, so I went aheda with those home remedies. Ceiling fans turned on. Bowls of vinegar laid out. Once it was daylight and we could confirm the skunk hadn’t sprayed outside, I opened up the windows to get some fresh air.  Sorry skunky, but you gotta go!


When watering the basils today I noticed some white bugs with wings - turns out their “whitefly” - go figure.  Found out I can use alcohol to kill them (or just my fingers) so I cleaned those guys up a bit. Thankfully a pretty minor incident, but I’ll keep an eye out for them in the future.  Sneaky devils like to hid under the leaves and in the wrinkles of the new foliage. Also found out they are fond of the new growth - which might explain why I only found them on certain leaves.

Just to be safe, I popped the tops off the biggest basil.  For some reason, they started looking like they do right before they’re ready to bolt.  But they definitely shouldn’t be to that point yet!


Matt received the Saffron bulbs he ordered in January, will need to make sure we get those planted soon.  Did a little research, and they’re fall blooming and it sounds like the likelihood of first year blooms is pretty low.

The basils are looking great and are ready for a trim

The other seedlings are doing ok - the salvia and marigolds are really the stars this week; both thickening and growing nicely.

Some of the seedlings in the white tray will be ready for transplanting into bigger pots soon, and I can get a new crop of flowers going.

I also caught a glimpse of the hummingbirds from my office today too - they’ve got to be around here somewhere!


Matt taught me how to create time lapse videos with my photos not using Adobe; so I was able to compile two of the ‘test’ ones I did.  Pretty happy with how they turned out, will need to share them. It’s not anything amazing, just a couple sprouts doing their things. Hoping to get some clips of flowers blooming, etc.  Using the camera won’t be great for long term though, since it’ll fall asleep. But on that note, I did order a smaller tripod because when I am shooting the seedlings on the bottom shelf, I have to get super creative with how I prop the camera for the right angle.

Matt took up the arduino project.  I’ve spent many a night the last few weeks just getting more and more frustrated with it so thankfully he took a stab.  And of course, he figured it all out and got it running in a matter of hours. He also configured it to data log to google sheets.  So now we’ve got a working prototype. I ordered more of the components (the weather proof temp sensor, the light sensors, more wireless boards, breadboards, and a box/casing to try out).  They should be here monday, so depending on what the week looks like, we really could have a working model ready by the weekend!

Also ordered a new container for some succulents and am really excited - it’s a Groot!  I think it’ll be really cute with some flowering or pink tall succulents. Looking forward to him arriving on Monday!

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!