Friday, February 25, 2011

Water Drops

They are so pretty. Watching the incoming storm, I remember these pics I snapped last Sunday morning:

 here was the total of last's week rain from Tuesday to Sunday morning (inches)

snap pea leaves really hold their droplets!

I like how they caught along the edges of the nasturtium leaves...

 ...and on my tomato cages

Here's to this weekend's arctic storm and more rain drops!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Seed Bombs Away!

I finally had the perfect opportunity to make use of my Seed Bombs! Last Tuesday I knew it would be lightly raining for several days building up to a heavy rain Saturday. It didn't pour on Saturday like I hoped, but my rain gauge showed me 3/4" for the week. And it's supposed to rain again this weekend :) That should germinate my babies!

 here they are in one of favorite carry buckets :)

 and here's my primary target - the former Malibu Castle and Monsoon Lagoon

 oh I miss my childhood haunt :'(
 right by my local Metro station :)

The Malibu Castle now a bunch of ruins and vacant land being used as an "Auto Hotel" which means big cargo trucks park in humongous lot overnight and their drivers take a nap. I miss the good 'ol days when the mini golf was always busy and there was the Monsoon Lagoon open during summer. The Lagoon was a little water park that was torn down long before the Castle went under, it used to be in that large expanse of vacant land between the street and the Castle in that first picture of the location.

I think it's perfect for seed bombs because most of the land is not paved over. Also, there is green growth most of the year, even in summer. I think the weight of the trucks parking there compacts the ground enough that water gets trapped in many of the tracks for long periods of time. Many also runoff from guys rinsing their trucks off. Anyway, I flung more than three dozen seed bombs in all directions. This weekend or next week I'll be stopping for more pics to see how it goes.

The seed bombs performed great so far. Some broke apart on first impact. The ones I threw farther and at a lower angle bounced once or twice before breaking apart. Good, now moisture will get to the seeds faster and hopefully spread them out more :)


I also dropped some in the parking lot at the office. Lord that place could use some purtiness. I've also got it in the back of my mind to transplant some morning glories to climb up with the ivy there....

Aaaaaand - I also tossed some seed bombs in other random locations I drove by last week. I will try to get pics soon. It was after dark when I did most of them. I hope they take.

My Vday Gift

This year I received:

Near as I can tell it's a Phalaenopsis, one of the zillions of hybrids of orchid out there.

It didn't come with any info at all, not even a plant tag so bumbling away I go...awaiting my organic orchid food from Amazon...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bloom Day February 2011

Just barely remembered to take these pics on my way out the door this morning:

 the first Sweet Cherry Red pepper blossoms of the year!

 still don't know what these are, but they're nice

 my desert bluebells blossomed just in time!
they're waiting for their poppy friends to open up there

 a white Nudicaule Icland poppy

these were supposed to be either Bewtiched Blend pansies,
either there was mix up during packaging or they need to work on the breeding a bit more.

Alaska nasturtiums,
I think they need a dose of fertilizer...
they're not supposed to be bleaching at the edges!

lucky concentration of blooms here, left to right:
lobelia, Tall Single nasturtium, and more failed Bewtiched Blend pansies

 on the outsides are Amber Jewel violas
I'm not impressed so far... out of 7 plants 5 came out muddy colors and only two are jewel tones :/
center stage is my best Betwitched Blend pansy that's actually a very deep black!
there is just barely the thinnest edge of along the petals, and two spots of color at the center

 oh snap pea blossom, grow me a snack!

 strawberry Quattro Stagioni, been munching them all winter so far ;)

my favorite Alaska nasturtium that has decided it does not wish to be a 12"-18" mound,
 it has become a 4' vine
I think I like that :)


one of only two proper looking Amber Jewel viola plants
(the other is out of bloom at the moment *womp*womp*womp*)

Oriental Nights alyssum
(and my Felis catus "Camouflage", can you see her?)

strawflower still going strong

dad's Shasta daisies are happily blooming

my first California poppy of the year, HOORAH!
the flower bud has been teasing me for days...

and finally my statice - last year's statice!
the package said annual, but damnit they wanted to be perennials!
this happen to anyone else?

Monday, February 14, 2011

No BPA on My Receipts Please

Ok this post is a little off-topic for me. I've been learning alot in the last few weeks about BPA on cash register receipts and used in the lining of canned food. I'm not a scientist and I don't completely understand everything, and I know a research here or there isn't the definitive answer on anything... But I'm leaning towards I don't want this in my water or food or on my skin. Especially if there are alternatives. Like for receipt paper.

So I contacted Vons and Trader Joe's last week to ask them to switch to BPA-free register paper. Just those two, they're where I shop most and my mom too. I'm very surprised in the responses I got, Vons was way more positive than I expected but TJ's was.. well they gave a complete non-answer and I find that very frustration and disrespectful >:(

Here's Vons response:

Dear Ms. *:

Thank you for contacting us regarding your concern about BPA on register receipts.

Thank you for expressing your concerns. We are reviewing the study and are gathering additional information. We are also in contact with our receipt paper supplier regarding this issue.  However, please note that the study does not draw a definite conclusion as to whether BPA on register receipts poses a health risk to consumers. Once we have done our due diligence, we will determine the best course of action. Please be assured that your comments are important to us, and will be forwarded to our Public Affairs department for consideration

If you would like to discuss this further, please reply to this email or call our toll free number at 1-888-723-3929 and reference contact I.D. ********.  One of our associates will be happy to assist you.

We appreciate your business and look forward to seeing you soon.  Thank you for shopping at Vons.


Vons Customer Service Team

Well, Vons at least says they're looking into it and already in contact with their supplier. This is more than I expected from a corporate giant. Hopefully it's true. Next time I stop by there I may lookup the manager and mention this, tell him I'm happy corporate is looking into it and that I'd really like it if he tried to make the switch next time they're ordering supplies at my store.

And here's TJ's response:


BPA (Bisphenol A) is an epoxy used in manufacturing the plastic (resin
enamel) lining of canned goods. This resin lining in cans prevents

This is an industry-wide issue for manufacturers of food-grade cans and
canned foods. Work is being done within the industry to develop
alternative, BPA-free linings for canned products. The canned food
industry has relied on this method for many years and is scrambling to
come up with solutions that do not trade one perceived problem for a
degradation in food safety.

To be clear, our receipt paper does contain BPA and we do have some
canned items that have linings containing BPA. In this way we are in the
same position as all other retail grocers. Also please know that NONE of
our TJ'S products in plastic will contain BPA.

All of our products and packaging are within food safety guidelines and

The debate between governmental agencies, manufacturers, and the
scientific community is ongoing-options for non-BPA materials are being
tested and there are new formats entering the marketplace.

We are handling this issue in the same manner as previous matters of
concern: we're listening to the feedback our customers are providing and
exploring options to put that feedback into place in a meaningful way.


Trader Joe's
Customer Relation

Big difference here. I'm surprised they brought up the can lining, I didn't mention it in my message to them or to Vons because I know there isn't a practical alternative for the grocery industry at the moment (unlike the receipt paper). It is is nice to know that they're aware of that also. But they're just barely glossing over what I asked them about - the BPA receipt paper - without mention of what they're going to do about. Hmmm "there are new formats entering the marketplace" , but there's already BPA-free paper available.

I'm actually somewhat put off by TJ's right now. Right now I really feel like stopping at TJ's and having a little fit... but I know it's not my local TJ's manager's fault directly. On a day I'm so frazzled by other things I may take a printout of that response and take it to my TJ's and have a nice chat w/the manager.

That is all, Happy V-day everybody.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Built me an LED Grow Box

This is late, sorry, built it about 3 weeks ago but didn't get around to uploading my camera pics.

Anyway, with instructions from The Cheap Vegetable Gardener I made my own LED Grow Box. I recommend following his instructions, they are good. Here are some pics of the construction:

measuring out the size for drilling
my spade bit made a nice little collar that helps hold the lights steady w/out glue

almost done with drilling, yes I use unsafe methods...

hmmm, my 70 LED set has 75 lights...

 she's a bit purty in use...

I used LED xmas lights 50% off two weeks after New Year's. I couldn't fin a set of just blue LEDs, but I got a multicolor one which I haven't added to this yet.

So far I like it. The first week I made it I had also sowing seeds indoors and several sprouted within days. It was still in the 40's overnight so I brought them all into the box from about 8pm-7am. I think it really did help, but I can't say for sure it's boosting my babies. Perhaps an experiment with a control set of seedlings is in order...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Possible Tomato Comparison Experiment

I read in Territorial's catalog recently that they are trying a technique new to North America of grafted tomatos plants, like you would graft trees. A delicious tomato variety is grafted onto the roof of a different vigorous and disease-resistant tomato rootstock. One of the coolest things about it is you can purchase a plant with a single graft (one variety) and they also have double grafted with two varieties on one plant! Now that's a space maximizer.

I got a reminder about it in an email update yesterday and I'm serioulsy considering order one or two to try it out. Of course it begs the question - Will one of these really grow better than a normal one I grow from seed? So of course now I need to start some Brandywines from seed so they'll be transplant ready by the time a grafted Brandywine arrives and can be planted near each other to get the same growing conditions and....

Uh oh. I think I'm gonna go a little mad scientist this year...

Mary's Gardening Calendar