i went down to the community garden this morning to collect some garlic chives and to plant one of the white hydrangeas. i wasn't planning to be there long but ended up staying an hour anyway just sprucing up my plot. one other gardener was there, just so happens to be the plot in front of me (formerly belonged to beth). she told me where to find water when i made a search (turns out it wasn't in the garden but actually a neighboring building's spigot). i planted the hydrangea in the northeastern corner, where a grow bag used to be. not sure how big it'll eventually be, but i could always dig it up if it got too unruly. lunarias (money plants), chives and forget-me-nots were in bloom the last time i visited a week-and-a-half ago; this time creeping buttercups and star-of-bethlehems were open.

i came home a bit after 11am. after gathering my things, i informed kevin and biked to belmont. i was warm enough that i only needed a t-shirt, but i threw a dress shirt into my backpack in case it got cold later in the evening. i packed 2 cases of seltzer, along with some of the things i got from market basket yesterday.

i gave the garlic chives to my mother, who promptly sorted them in the sink, discarding any accidental grass stalks. she didn't think my garlic chives were any good at first, but later said they were very healthy and plump. i harvested about 2/3 of the fattest chives from my plot, leaving the rest to fatten even more. i also have a garlic chive border in my garden that's still tiny, but i could harvest them as well once they get bigger. my father was outside applying the clear sealant we got from home depot on thursday on the planks of wood. he moved back out some of the more tender plants after yesterday's thunderstorm threat. i mixed up a new solution of insecticidal soap (1 tbsp of soap concentrate to one 24 oz. spray bottle) to treat some mealybugs i saw on a few jasmines, the gardenia, and the orchids. i didn't spray the eggplant seedlings though when we saw a ladybug going to town eating up all the aphids.

back inside i had an egg & ham sandwich for lunch. my mother was trying to clean my father's insulated travel mug. simple scrubbing didn't help, i suggested adding some baking soda and soaking the container in hot water. my father accidentally took a sip thinking it was tea. the baking soda hot water soak had zero effect. later my sister tried using salt and ice cubes, which worked a little bit, but there was still a lot of stain. i tried again, making a baking soda slurry and scrubbing with a bottle brush. that worked up to a point, but required several application and a lot of elbow grease. finally my father sprayed some bleach into the container and left it to soak a bit in the sink (we made sure he didn't try to drink tht). i didn't think it'd do anything but was surprised it actually worked, managed to dissolve almost all of the tea stain, leaving the stainless steel interior looking like new.

something happened to my father's dragon fruit cactuses: a lot of them seemed to have suffered frost damage, the lost of color and mushy consistency tell-tale signs. not sure what happened, it was cold a few nights ago, but not freezing. maybe the variety we raised is particularly cold sensitive. my father had no choice but to slice off the tip of one cactus that had started to droop. he's hoping that maybe some of them might recover. he raised these from seeds last august, so nearly a year. apart from the cold damage, a good many of them had also changed color from green to a sickly brown and yellow once they were transplanted into permanent containers, which may be some kind of disease.

another project we took on today was patching up some of the raised beds, which have fallen apart from rotting wood. my father finally convinced me to use large L-brackets to brace the raised bed walls. this is only a patch, since most likely we'll need to completely replace the wood at some point in the future. we built these raised bed in spring of 2011 using raw lumber that we treated with linseed oil. not sure why we didn't go with pressure-treated, must be a lot of the wood was still using chromated copper arsenate (CCA), a type of arsenic. nowadays most pressure treated wood using safer options like alkaline copper quat (ACQ) which doesn't contain arsenic.

my parents made jiucaihexi with some of the garlic chives i brought back. i can't have them without my chili bean paste. we ate around 4pm, with a barbecue scheduled a few hours later.

i only ate one, saving my appetite for the barbecue.

originally i planned on planting my lotus seeds, but with hailey at home for most of the day, i couldn't run the hose without her thinking i was playing. i fished the seedlings out of the jar so i could clean it and do a water change; ever since i removed the rotting seeds, the water has been clear. all of them had tiny coin leaves with the exception of the one where i accidentally broke off the stem tip. but that one continues to grow, sending out a second coin leaf at a rate much faster compared to the other seedlings. the one seed with the broken stem tip that didn't seem to be growing? even though the seed itself still looked viable, it aborted the stem component altogether, so that seed is dead.

out of the 10 i soaked 2 weeks ago, i ended up with 5 viable seedlings, 6 if i didn't accidentally break the stem. the seedling that germinated the earliest and has the longest stem is also the one that has already developed some roots, so i should plant that as soon as possible. all the other seedlings look like they're forming roots as well, but currently they just look like spurs. 5 seedlings make my planting decision easier since i only have 5 lotus containers. i will plant a seedling into each basin, regardless if the lotus root i replanted from last year will develop or not. i know for sure these new lotuses will grow; i don't yet if any from last year will reemerge.

* tomato leaf pruning

we started the barbecue a bit after 5pm, figuring the ribs might need an hour to properly cook at low heat. we were using a different korean barbecue sauce instead of our usual lee kum kee brand. this was an actual korean brand, but it was more runny, not as thick as lee kum kee. it smelled good though, and towards the end i reapplied some barbecue sauce on both the ribs and the corn (more of a wash).

the final result tasted pretty good. i thought it was a little too sweet (was there artificial sweetener?) while my mother said it wasn't sweet enough.

i left by 7:15pm. by then the temperature had dropped into the upper 50's, a little chilly, but fortunately i brought a shirt. even with a shirt it was a little cold but after a few minutes of riding i quickly warmed up.