the biggest deciding factor to move all the houseplants into the basement was that the temperature was finally turning cold, and we'd start seeing some night temperatures in the 40's, something we haven't experienced yet this fall. last year we'd already moved the cactuses and water reed into the basement by this time, but still kept the gardenia and jasmines outside, moving them into the sunroom when it got too cold. that seems too much work and delaying the inevitable. we had the grow room already set up anyway, might as well move everything in, kick off the start of our indoor wintering growing season.
i know the nurse told me to wait 24 hours, but the care sheet she gave me said i could wash the biopsy wound on my toe and change the bandaid. so i was happy to take a normal shower that didn't involve balancing or propping up my leg at an awkward angle. afterwards i checked out my toe, it didn't look that bad, like the kind of wound i might sustain if i injured my toenail. there was also zero pain. i applied some petroleum jelly and put on a fresh bandaid.
today was the day that distinct plumbing was supposed to come by and check out my leaking pipes, but they never called me back to schedule a time. neither did alewife co. which seemed to have disappeared. it's annoying but that's okay, there's plenty of other plumbers, i just need to make some more phone calls next week.
i left a bit before noon, stopping by the cafe to drop off some supplies. i gave my 2nd aunt and sister each a 4 oz. jar of homemade grape jelly. but since one of the tenant from upstairs and my sister's friend were also there, i left behind the 8 oz. jar of jelly for them to try instead of taking it to belmont for my parents.
the big surprise in my parents' backyard this saturday was that the mammoth chrysanthemums finally bloomed. these had a pinkish coral color. i noticed some lower branches had been snipped off, and i thought maybe one of my parents had cut some flowers. later i discovered it was the work of a rabbit. rabbits typically avoid chrysanthemums (they don't like the taste) but will still test the plants to see if they're edible by chewing a few stems. on the ground were some discarded stems and flowers. the plant doesn't have a compact dome shape, it's a bit more scattered because we didn't prune in the early summer, but i also read that mammoth mums don't require pruning. hopefully next year these perennials grow better, since this is just our first year of blooming.
another surprise was the the corner red bud has now turned mostly yellow.
for lunch my mother made some zucchini egg omelette. i also had some cold squash soup that my parents made with the vitamix. they also added some hot peppers to flavor but it made it too spicy and it was like drinking hot curry sauce instead of soup. one of the jars of fermenting long beans continue to grow mold on the surface. fortunately it seemed to be growing on top of a scoby, and all i had to do was remove the scoby along with the mold. but it's better to eat those long beans.
later my mother went out into the backyard to harvest hyacinth beans to eat. we currently have barely 2 dozen hyacinth bean seeds. if my mother continues to take all the bean pods, we won't have anymore mature seeds to plant for next year before the arrival of frost that will kill all the plants. she also harvested a bunch of japanese eggplants, the last of them even though the plants still look very healthy. not enough sunlight and not enough warm to allow them to continue producing eggplants. back inside the house, my parents had collected some more long beans. my father was also drying some ginkgo nuts he found near the cafe. even though he cleaned them, they still smell like cat poop.
before we moved the plants, i added bonide systemic granules (0.22% imidacloprid insecticide) into the soil. the larger 3 gallon pots i added 1/2 cup of granules, while the smaller ones only get a tablespoon or two. my father and i scratched the granules into the soil. i also added some new potting soil to some of the potted plants that needed it.
around 3pm we started moving the plants into the grow room. we discovered one of our two iplantop led grow lights is damaged, only half the vegetative lights will turn on. when we examined the led's, we can see one of them has burnt out completely, with a bunch probably on that same string also damaged. this wasn't the first glow light we bought (that honor goes to the XECCON 1000W, september 2019 $55), but these iplantops were good enough that we bought two (september 2019 $69 and october 2019 $73, right during that time amazon started charging state sales tax). fortunately we have another grow light - the LUXAUTO 1000W (january 2020, $57 before a gift card that cut it down to $29).
first the small potted plants, followed by the larger 3 gallon potted jasmines. the 3 gallon gardenia had already been in the basement since last weekend. it's a lot bigger than last year, we didn't trim it enough after it stopped blooming, and now it's too late, as buds will only grow on new shoots. all 6 3 gallon jasmines were at the far end of the grow room which gets the most light: 2 led grow lights plus a 4ft led shop light. the arabian jasmines were on the wire racks while the two belle of india jasmines were on the floor in the middle. that's actually the best spot because it gets light from both grow lights and shop light. we might not need the shop light, if we want to save some electricity.
next we moved the water reed plant and the dragon fruit cactuses. moving the cactus is a two person job: one person to lift the pot, the other person to hold the top of the cactus (via the pvc pipe frame) and make sure it doesn't hit anything as it comes down the basement steps. the reeds and cactuses need to be trimmed: dead reeds will be removed, while large dangling cactus buds will be pruned. the strategy for the cactus during the winter is just to keep them alive. when they start sending out shoots, we'll just cut them off since these winter shoots will be much smaller and useless in the long run. we also discovered that these cactuses can actually survive a long time without light, like months, because the pruned off cactuses we left in the grow room when we moved out the cactuses back in the spring were still green and looked viable even though they were in the dark grow room for the entire summer.
after all the plants were settled, i watered them with BTi infused rain water. all except the cactuses, because my father said they were too wet and he noticed some root rot. watering also allowed the bonide systemic granules to be taken up into the plants. when it was all over, the grow room looked like a plant shop. we also put yellow sticky traps everywhere to catch any fungus gnats.
my sister came home to pick up hailey. my father and i were working in the grow room and we nearly lost track of time, as he had to leave for a 6pm pfizer booster vaccine appointment at the waltham CVS. they were going to pick up some chinese takeout from mulan across the street afterwards, and my job was to send in the online order a bit later. my sister decided to wait around for dinner.
the sky was turning dramatic so i did a quick flyup to see the sunset and any autumn foliage. i saw neither. i tried to take a high elevation panorama, but it was so windy, it couldn't take the last few photos so it didn't have enough to stitch the panorama. when i came back down i went on my computer and put in the online order for the mulan takeout.
my parents came home by 6:30pm, a lot sooner than i expected. that's because they didn't wait around the requisite 15 minutes after they got their booste vaccine, but simply left. when they went across the street to waltham mulan, their takeout was all ready. the restaurant was doing good business, a lot of sit-in customers, and plenty more of takeout ready for pickup.
the food was okay, a lot of the dishes were leaning on the sweet side for some reason. given the choice, i'd say joyful garden in watertown has the better chinese takeout in our area. we had some fish ice cream sandwiches for dessert before i left by 8:40pm. a heavy band of rain was expected to make landfall in the boston area overnight, drenching the place in precipitation until the morning.