temperature today was going to reach the 70's so i brought out some seedlings and put them on my back porch for the very first time. out were all the tomatoes, eggplants, and ground cherries. my only concern are the squirrels who like to dig in the dirt, although i haven't seen squirrels in the backyard for quite some time (but i'm sure they're around). i also shut down one of my grow closet shelves temporarily, and moved all the remaining plants so they only take up 2 shelves.
i also juiced another half dozen navel oranges. like yesterday, i came across half an orange that had some black mold on the inside, even though it looked perfectly fine from the outside. fortunately the mold didn't get into the juice and i threw away the diseased orange as soon as i found out.
i made it to belmont around 12:15pm and had a reuben sandwich for lunch (my parents already had their second reuben sandwiches earlier). this time around we toasted the rye bread in the toaster oven, which was much faster. the leftover corned beef was cold though, i would've preferred to have it heated in the microwave first.
my father had already brought out all our grow room houseplants. my job was to spray them with neem oil and inspect them for mealybugs. it won't be long now, looking at the long range weather forecast, in about 10 days the average nighttime temperature will be in the 50's, which i think is warm enough to leave the jasmines and gardenia outside. once they're out in the elements, natural predators (ladybugs, hoverflies) will take care of the mealybugs and aphids. i noticed the gardenia plant had especially large flower buds, i wouldn't be surprised if a few of them bloomed within the next few weeks. i did fertilize the gardenia with some acid-loving water soluble fertilizer 3 weeks ago, not sure if that had anything to do with the flowerbuds swelling.
after i finished spraying with neem oil, i mixed up a gallon of spectracide immunox multi-purpose fungicide. this was for the grapes, to control the black rot that seems to kill the fruits every season before we can harvest them. i've tried more organic solutions - from copper to serenade biofungicide - and i've finally worked my way up to a more artificial fungicide. it didn't have a terrible smell, and mixed with a gallon of rain water, the odor was diluted even more. i got on a ladder and sprayed the grapevines multiple times wearing a mask and gloves. the rule is once new grape shoots are about 2-4" long, that's when you start spraying.
my father set up the climbing trellis for the new southern border bed as we planted all 6 long beans seedlings and all 7 hyacinth bean seedlings. the 16 hyacinth beans my father planted over 2 weeks ago still haven't germinated. i started half a dozen myself. will we get anymore hyacinth beans besides the 7 that i germinated back in mid-march? they could definitely do with some germination heating pad. my father doesn't know if they'll survive the cold nights; i think they will, but if it gets too cold, it stunts their growth and they'll remain small. we didn't really have a choice though, the bean plants were already sending out climbing stalks, so they needed to be planted right away.
on top of everything else, we also mowed the lawn because the grass started to look a bit shaggy. we mowed it just last weekend, i think all that raining plus the fertilizer in the soil is making our lawn grow a lot faster than usual. like last time, we shredded the grass clippings and pulverized it back onto the lawn as fertilizer. we'll do this for the time being, but later in the summer we'll start collecting the clippings for our compost pile.
i noticed it yesterday but we have a nearly completely white violet growing in the backyard. i think it's a hitchhiker from my community garden, because there are a bunch of white violets there. i've always wanted one, and i've often thought about asking other gardeners for a plant swap. we have tons of violets in my parent's backyard, but they're either completely purple or they're white with purple veiny centers. this white variety is nearly entirely white, with some faint purple veins on the lower petals.
also noticed yesterday were our lilacs are blooming. we pruned them two years ago, in the fall, which removed all the branches that were due to form buds the following spring. so last year we only got a little bit of flowers. but this year we had the most lilacs we've had in a long time. we just need to remember to prune them again once all the flowers have faded. lilacs only form flowers on the very tops of the bush, so in order to get the flowers lower so we can smell them, we need to prune accordingly. anyway, the lilac scent is intoxicating! that area of the garden is the most fragrant, from lilacs to honeysuckles. we also have other fragrant flowers in the backyard, like peonies and lily-of-the-valley.
my mother made squid nuggets for dinner. that alone would've been enough, but she considered it a soup, so she cooked up some rice as well and made two additional dishes: chicken with salty scallion dipping sauce and tofu and long horn pepper stirfry. my father was drinking some my overly fermented sweet rice. i tried it sip, all the sugars have been converted into alcohol, it just has that bitter alcohol taste, none of the sweetness. in fact, it tastes exactly like japanese sake.
i left before 7pm. on the motorcycle i can get back home in almost half the time it takes me to ride the bicycle. i took a shower to wash off the stink from working in the backyard all day - it was actually warm enough that i actually started to sweat. i waited until later in the evening to download and watch the latest episode of the nevers.