i ate some leftover barbecue for lunch with some suanmeitang. it tasted better than yesterday: colder, sweeter, more intense flavor. while watching the news, we learned that governor baker will left remaining pandemic restrictions by may 29th. no more masks in either outdoor and indoor spaces, and no more social distancing requirements. private businesses can still decide for themselves how much risk they're willing to take, but this essentially feels like game over for the coronavirus, that we finally after more than a year returning to normal.
my mother asked if we were going to binbin's house today to pick up her mail. what she really wanted was to go to michael's along the way to buy some yarn and get some supplies from market basket. we left shortly after i finished eating.
first stop was michael's, where my mother bought $50 worth of yarn. my sister called while we were there, said be needed to pay the fencing contractor by 2:30pm. that only gave us an hour. my mother told my sister we'd be back by then, but i told her it was impossible, we probably won't get back until 3:30pm at the earliest. so we decided not to go to market basket. we stopped at total wine to grab two bottles of niu lan shan biajiu ($17/bottle). then we proceded to binbin's house where we quickly grabbed her mail while i did a quick check of the house, readjusting the timers to take into account the longer day lengths. it was already 2pm by the time we left and started to head home. my father dropped use off at the house around 2:30pm before driving to the cafe to meet the contractors.
i mixed up a gallon solution of copper (4tsp of concentrate) to spray on the flowering cherry and plum. this is to prevent black knot, but i couldn't find any literature that specifically said that copper could treat black knot, but i know copper is a general fungicide, and something is better than nothing, especially given the previous trees had a massive black knot outbreak. i started with the kwanzan cherry, using a ladder to get to the top of the tree, before moving onto the cherry plum. i noticed what looked to be black clumps on some of the stems. i thought maybe it was some plant disease but when i took a closer look, i realized it was a massive aphid infestation. i mixed up a new batch of insecticidal soap and began spraying. they were mainly confined to the shadier western side of the tree. there were so many aphids, i could hear them falling off the tree. afterwards i tried rinsing them off with the garden hose, but they were still clinging on. using a hand sprayer on such a large tree was too much work; i decided to come back tomorrow and spray the tree again with neem oil using the pump sprayer.
my father came back around 4:30pm, right when i was flying the drone from the backyard. it seemed fine at first, but 8 minutes into my flight the DJI fly app crashed again and frozen up. everytime this happens i promise myself i'll get a new (cheaper) more compatible phone that i'll use exclusively with the fly app.
my father had brought home a garden center plastic bench display table. it's perfect for our jasmines because we can keep them outside off of the grass and the table has holes to allow drainage. after showing him the aphid infestation on the flowering cherry plum tree, we started planting our tomatoes, ground cherries, and eggplants beginning with RB4. we then planted some tomatoes in some makeshift western beds. in the sun spot beyond the fence we planted a 'cloudy day' tomato. the long strip of grow area in front of the raspberries my father planted nearly a dozen wild 'cocktail' tomatoes.
after dinner we went down to the basement grow room to move the 4 dragonfruit cactuses outside. under the blurple led grow lamp, the cactuses continued growing but forming long and thin tendrils instead of thick meaty limbs. my father pruned off all the tendrils so the cactuses would be easier to move outside. we placed them in the basement stairwell, a clear plastic tarp giving them some protection from the cold, as this is their first time being outside since the end of last season.
i finally returned home by 7:45pm. not only is there street cleaning tomorrow, but some neighbors reserved a large chunk of parking spots for a moving truck, so the street was particularly empty, and parking especially hard to find.
first thing i did when i got back home was move in all my seedlings from the backyard porch. i transplanted the perennial seedlings from the starter trays into individual cups: 5 'cherokee sunset' rudbeckias, 2 snowy spires. i also planted 4 buttercup squashes and filled a dozen starter cells with nigella seeds, my 3rd batch. finally i moved all the plants back into my grow closet. i'm only using a single shelf, but with 3 strip lights. i made sure to water with Bti treated water and set up some yellow sticky traps to control the fungus gnats.
only then was i able to use the bathroom and take a shower. i mixed some chocolate milk and settled in to watch last night's episode of mare of easttown. this is the most suspenseful episode yet! after the slew of potential suspects, they finally catch the guy, but things don't go as planned.