later i went down to the community garden to water my plot. i haven't been there since saturday. plants are growing so fast right now, just even skipping a day to visit can mean dramatic differences. most of my chive flowers have blossomed, adding a touch of purplish pink colors to the garden. yellow creeping buttercups have also flowered, the ones i didn't pull out anyway, they'e tolerable in small amounts. self-sown striped mallow seedlings continue to grow bigger. my tomatoes are also looking very nice, as they outgrow their indoor grown lankiness. bitter melons are starting to grow taller and putting out tendrils to begin their climb up my 3ft trellis. the whole garden was covered with elm tree seed pods, don't know why i never noticed that very large tree at the back of the community garden is in a fact a large elm.
i bumped into helen and i helped her move a large container of garden soil somebody had thrown out along with their garden refuse. we gave each other tours of our respective garden plots. we have a lot of mutual associates, from lisa to renee, and she even knew the young woman living next door (miora) even though we've yet to be introduced (she's into gardening as well). helen was also good friends with the woman who used to live in my place 2 owners ago, who was the one who designed the shady perennial backyard garden. finally, helen told me about a gardeners' social group (cambridge community growers) that gets together every tuesday at lucky jungle for beers, live music, and gardening-related activities.
i ended up staying in the garden longer than planned. when i got back home i soaked my gardening gloves in some oxiclean solution and rode the motorcycle to belmont, getting there before 1pm. i had some leftover barbecue drumsticks for lunch.
there's always something to do in the backyard, especially since time of the year. even after setting out most of our raised beds and other growing areas, there's still plenty to do. while my father was mowing the lawn, i mixed up another half gallon solution of neem oil and sprayed the lupines, jasmines, and the cherry plum. there are a lot less aphids now, but i still saw a few colonies, and the more i spray, the less there are. as far as pests go, aphids are on the lower end of the difficulty in treating scale, a lot of things will get rid of them, from insecticidal soap to neem oil, and they don't hide as much as mealybugs.
so a few things i noticed about the flowering cherry plum. the dark reddish purple leaves were getting spots, like they were losing their colors. in hindsight i realized it was because they were getting sun scorched from the neem oil sitting on the leaves on a hot day. i have to remember not to spray when it's sunny. i found some eggs on a leaf. my initial reaction was to remove them, but then i thought about it and made me think they might possibly be ladybug eggs. that suspicious was later confirmed when i not only saw a ladybug, but my father saw a fat ladybug larvae. and when i was photographing the larvae, i noticed the branch i was holding had several larvae crawling about, mowing down the aphids. not sure how the neem oil will affect the ladybugs, but i'm going to stop spraying for the time being. it's better to have a natural solution, and i totally wouldn't mind having more ladybugs in the garden. i wonder if the ladybugs are doing well because i kept the ants away?
later my father and i pruned the quince bush. it's gotten huge, touching the branches of the nearby maple tree. i also noticed a good chunk of the bush was leaning into our neighbors yard, so more than half the branches we pruned off were from there. quince bush are a challenge to prune because they have 1-2" spiky thorns. it'd be one thing if there was a pattern to the thorns, but there's no rhyme or reason as to where they might appear, so some branches have them, while others don't. new varieties of quince have been bred to be thornless, however this isn't the case with our quince. i noticed thorns appear more often on younger branches, on the sides and especially on the branch tips. so we had to cut carefully. we figured out a way to get behind the bush by using a shepherd's pole as a barrier to hold back the branches so we can get access. some of the branches had immature quince apples, size of olives. my father and i both tried some, they tasted crunchy and juicy, some slight tartness the bigger the fruits, but actually pretty good. i gave one to my mother who said the texture reminded her of guava.
around 4pm my father and i drove down to home depot to get some garden soil on sale (4 for $10). while we were there, we also grabbed some mulch (brown, 5 for $10). we looked for sand to fill the sandbags we'll use to anchor the cantilevered umbrella. there was some sold in the garden department but they seemed to be used for paving, and sold by volume, not weight. we went inside the store and went to the cement aisle, where they had play sand that sold in 50 lbs. bag for $4.20, a bargain considering the plastic umbrella base we bought cost $45 (naturally we're returning). we didn't get the sand because it wouldn't been too heavy a load to carry back, we'll get them next time.
we got back home by 4:30pm.
for dinner we barbecued some marinated steaks. they were from my 2nd aunt for the saturday barbecue, but because we already had a lot of food, we didn't bring it out. the steaks were okay, but we didn't have any A1 sauce, and i've been tried to always have steaks with A1, so it wasn't as fulfilling. afterwards we had some fish ice cream. i tried the adzuki bean flavor, which should be called vanilla (there's zero mention of it in the packaging), but adzuki bean jelly is standard for these fish ice creams. i liked it better than green tea.
i returned home by 7:30pm. my father gave me a piece of quince he asked me to propagate because i had the rooting hormone and the potting soil. while i was at it, i also thinned out the squash seedling so now i just have 4. i thought about running down to the community garden and planting the unwanted seedlings but decided not to, since i already have other things going on in my garden. finally, i did a water change on my 5 lotus seeds. the water was brownish due to the tannin from the seed cases, this is natural. none of them had sprouted yet, but their seed cases all seemed to have ruptured, which is a good sign that they're expanding. i forgot how long it takes to see the first sprout, i believe 48-hours at least. i don't want to find out that all 5 seeds are duds, although i have more seeds, and a few days delay won't affect my lotus garden in the long run.
i checked my pokemon go app in the evening, was confused why there was a pokestop within tagging distance from my house. i thought it was a glitch and quickly swiped at it before the gps recalibrated and positioned me back to my actual location. that's when i realized it's a new pokestop. this is a game changer because it means i don't have to leave the house just to tag a pokestop, i could mine it for goodies all from the comfort of home. this is like every pokemon go player's dream, to live next to a pokestop or even better, a poke gym.