i went down to the community garden at 8am to do some watering and weeding. i pruned off much of the lemon balm just to give more sunlight to the row of peppers i've planted behind it. i also pulled up a bunch of striped mallows, but i was too sentimental to simply throw them away so i wrapped up the roots in a wet paper towel and put them in a large ziploc bag. while i was there i met david, a gardener with a plot behind the other david. he had a lot going in his garden, but from the fact that he confused eggplant with arugula and cucumbers with beans, i could tell he was still a gardening amateur. i also met andrea, who had the plot diagonal from mine (formerly lynn's plot); she was less friendly but we eventually did exchange pleasantries. she said she'd neglected her garden and was here to do some clean up. i finally left an hour later, the weather so hot and humid i was already soaked in sweat, hair stuck to my forehead, legs splattered with dirt.
after going back home to use the bathroom and take a shower, i rode the motorcycle to my parents' place by 10am. i went out at the same time as my upstairs neighbors. "hi," i said, while the husband immediately began speaking with me in chinese, introducing himself. i will of course not be able to remember his name, because chinese names are nothing more than sounds to me. the wife came out of the house wearing an yankees t-shirt. i was tempted to say something snarky, but held my tongue. maybe being a foreigner is her excuse, but she said they've been to boston multiple times, what genius wears a yankees t-shirt in boston? they were waiting for their uber, heading to the MIT museum.
i took a survey of the backyard as soon as i arrived in belmont. the big news is a rabbit somehow got into the backyard and defoliated half the buttercup squash plant growing in the shady southern area. how did it get in? through the blocked hole in the fence that it managed to once again dig underneath. the rabbit must've gone crazy because it also ate some of my potted hollyhocks as well as all the dill growing in the long rectangular raised beds by the sunroom. i'm kind of amazed it managed to do that because that bed is pretty high, must've been a determined rabbit.
my serenade organic fungicide ($15.99 32 oz.) arrived yesterday, i was eager to put it to use. serenade contains biopesticide Bacillus subtilis (patented strain QST 713) which naturally attacks plant fungal pathogens. it's one of the recommended treatment for blight when i chatted with other gardeners. i emptied the iron solution from the garden sprayer and added 2-1/2 oz. of serenade solution to 1 gallon of water. serenade - milky brownish like coffee - has a distinctive smell - not bad but not good either. i sprayed the tomatoes which need it the most - many of the lower leaves have yellowed - and then sprayed some other vegetables as well as the grapes. i ended up using the whole gallon of serenade solution. now i just need to wait and see if it works, and keep on spraying weekly.
i finally got my mother into watching perpetual grace ltd., only after she exhausted all her other shows. i couldn't find chinese subtitle files (the show is too obscure for the chinese audience even though it was my chinese friend WWY who first recommended the show to me) but there are english subtitles. after the first episode, my mother liked it enough to keep on watching.
we dug up the garlics from RB4 on monday. today we dug up the rest. we continued with RB2, working down to RB1 and RB0, the garlics getting progressively bigger. there were some big ones, but i was kind of disappointed, as i thought there'd be more. the garlics on the left side of RB1 were overripe, and the heads had started to break apart into cloves. those will either be eaten or replanted since they'll be hard to keep. as for the rest, i put them in the cool dry basement so they can cure. my father and i tried a raw clove, it didn't taste particularly spicy, maybe the curing will enhance the flavor.
as dinner was drawing to a close, i casually peered out the window into the backyard, on the lookout for rabbits. i saw something move which at first i thought was a rabbit, but then it surprised me by how large it was, and i took a closer look and realized it was woodchuck. i have never seen a woodchuck in the suburbs and here was one eating the clovers off of our lawn. i immediately called my father to the window to take a look while i got ready to go outside to chase the woodchuck down.
my father and i were in the backyard thrashing the tall grasses growing along the edge of the backyard with bamboo poles, trying to flush out the woodchuck. it couldn't have gone out, especially after i sealed the exit (which earlier i thought was a rabbit hole). when i made it to faucet area that's where i saw the newly excavated tunnel underneath the unused rain barrels, between two cinder blocks, straight down below the foundation of the sunroom. here was the woodchuck burrow. we cleared the area so we could get a better look. we couldn't tell how far the tunnel went, but it looked deep. my father suggested we flood the tunnel to drive out the woodchuck. that was a good idea, unless the woodchuck managed to burrow underneath the sunroom, in which case flooding the tunnel wouldn't work. so my father started spraying water into the tunnel from a distance, and sure enough, a big fat woodchuck came running out. it made a beeline to the hole in the fence which i blocked, then it disappeared underneath a pile of wood. we tried to flush it out but it was gone, somehow escaping when were weren't looking.
so it's not enough that we have to deal with fungal diseases, vine borers, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, birds, chipmunks - but now woodchucks as well? why even bother growing anything at all when animals are just going to eat it? i hope it left the backyard; worst case scenario is it's still trapped inside and will continue to wreck havoc. later i found out that woodchucks can also climb, so what's the point of plugging a hole in the fence when they can just climb over it? i kind of missed the good old days when it was just squirrels and rabbits ransacking the garden. now we have raccoons digging up my lotus plants and woodchucks eating everything in sight. i've never killed an animal before but i wouldn't be against the idea of shooting the woodchuck with an air rifle.
afterwards i checked the memory card on the backyard wyze camera i set up a week and a half ago. from the videos i saw te woodchuck eating the buttercup squash early evening yesterday, between 7:50 to 7:56pm, before leaving through the hole in the fence. and this morning, it returned to the backyard at 7:59am, making a beeline to it's burrow. i felt a little better seeing it in action on video. not so much the garden destruction it caused, but just knowing for sure that's what caused it instead of having it be a mystery.
my 4 LED infrared illuminator light ($7.35) arrived today. the 12V 1A plug itself came 5 days ago. without a webcam i won't be able to test it. when i turned on the light there was 4 faint red glows but nothing more i can see with the naked eye.