30 October 2020

angel fin

Miss Beautiful's dorsal and anal fins have grown back- near complete, it looks to me. Although lacking color. 
I'm finding new joy in just sitting in front of this tank. Watching the kuhlis wriggle and slide all over the place (Tiger looks particularly fat, I wonder if that one is a female?) The female guppies- some of them quite fat now too, so I expect fry- which will quickly become feeders- again soon- have taken to hanging out in the open or skittering around just under the water surface now. Either they too had been harrassed by the tetras, or the angelfish has realized they're not worth chasing and ignores them now. 

She really seems to appreciate the tall val rubra, and the leopard vals are doing great too.

two insects

Found a large wheel bug on the deck. 
I was able to get it to crawl on a leaf, and take some closeups. 
Very cool bug.
Left it crawling all over the chocolate mint.
All the milkweed have died and I cut them back a week or so ago. Surprised to find one late monarch on the lovage- 
It must have been one of the last to feed on the milkweed, and the caterpillar made its chrysalis on the lovage or nearby.

more coleus

I took more coleus cuttings, even though I didn't really need to.

29 October 2020

some compost notes

Mainly, that I tossed two houseplants in the bin. That haven't done well for a long time now. A very sad striped spider plant
and the little pilea which withered to near nothing. I don't know where I went wrong with these two, but if I try again will be with a new, healthier plant. Don't think I can bring them back from this.
Also, when turning my worm bin last week I couldn't help noticing a lot of the worms were pale and lethargic. The bin had dried out a bit and not been fed in a while. I'm sure the population will bounce back now that I've refreshed their bedding, moistened it, and am trying to feed more regularly. But when I saw someone nearby was giving away worms from her vermicompost bin to downsize, I thought it a good chance to boost my own. So I got some. She had four or five large plastic bins going. Gave me two good-sized scoops of worms (with bedding/foodstuff mixed in). May the red wigglers be happy and find new companions here.

28 October 2020

a funny beet

Pulled the last beets. They were all small. This one grew three tops!

outside plants

My rhubarb is flourishing since its move. Hope it continues to do well.
One that's not so well is the inkberry. I cut out all the dead branches and it is very reduced. I recently moved all the remnants of my old wild cherry tree- short trunk sections that have been sitting on-end here and there convenient for me to place things on- away from the under-deck area and across the yard for shrubs. They're starting to decay (which is probably why I've see the wren so often flitting about below the deck and through the garden- I bet it's feeding on insects in the old wood). I put most of the wood pieces on the downhill side of shrubs. Idea is that as they continue to decay will feed my bushes, and being on the downhill side, when rain sweeps down the hill maybe it won't push as much mulch down against the fence, but some will get caught and stay in place under the shrubbery. Well, the inkberry got a full circle because it needs the most help.
I do like foliage so I hope it makes it
The bayberry nearby is doing much better.
Pannacle hydrangeas each got a log piece too
and the rhodies
Also the little hollies.
My arum is springing up again in the cooler weather- among zinnia 
Center of that yellowed hellebore definitely looks more normal green, so I hope this one recovers
Joe pye weed had big poufy blooms and I didn't want it reseeding all over the yard, so cut them off. It's so grown through the pokeweed now, hard to distinguish between the them. Soon will cut that back, too.

27 October 2020

lemon balm and other stuff

It's getting colder so I've started cutting back my lemon balm plant preparing to mulch it heavy at end of week when it will drop below freezing. Taking stems off in stages; plucking the largest leaves to freeze for overwinter use, and putting the smaller ones left on stem tips in espresso cup for fresh tea the next few days.
Still picking purple pole beans to eat, and some of the oldest dried pods (that faintly rattle now) have brought into the house hung to mature further before I split them open for the seed. There's carrots, swiss and beet leaf chard, amaranth 'callaloo' (not for long), tokyo bekana (a bit bug-eaten but still good)
and baby kale leaves. 
My fall lettuces are finally looking like something. I think it helped that I weeded their bed recently, and started watering a bit more regularly when it hasn't rained in several days.

fall flowers

Still some flowers outside- loads of mairgolds, both the dark red I like 
and also many with bolder yellow (here in the rain)
Nice contrast with their bluish foliage
Still have a few zinnias-
I like this faded pink one
A few borage left near the pole beans
I forgot to do the second pinching of my chrysanthemums, so they are a bit leggy and flopped over already. But thick enough with flowers now, look pretty enough from the street.
Especially the pink one, it's always the fullest.
The one in pot on porch dropped its flowers last week, but I left it awhile because kinda liked the wavy stems-
Cut it back yesterday; there's new leaves at the base. But we have a freeze coming later this week, so a lot of plants will soon get cut to ground, composted and mulched.

26 October 2020

pothos pulled

Noticed some of the plants in my 45 are looking yellow or dropping leaves- since I added the vals (which have had only a little bit of melt). I figure with removal of the tetras, the nutrient level is less for all the plants now. So I took out the largest piece of pothos, and the one stem of heartleaf philodendron, from the back of the tank. The philodendron I replanted into its original pot with mother plant. The pothos stem was about half the hydroponic plant mass- particularly of the root amount in there. It had grown long enough to span a 6" pot. I simply wedged the length of it down, only one end has roots the rest those little nodes that soon should grow, though. 
Next to my original pothos (still the only plant in the house growing in a sub-irrigated container). Plant pulled from the tank is on the right, it's paler and more yellow-green. Was originally a cutting from the plant on the left.
New pot by a indirect-lit window.
Incidentally, I also removed emergent stems from the 33L- remnants of the parrot's feather. It was looking okay a week ago- and now suddenly I realized the foliage is all smaller, it looks kind of withered, definitely not doing well. Again, probably because the vals are doing well and out-competing for nutrients. I don't mind. Discarded the parrot's feather.

23 October 2020

zygo buds and more

My little thanksgiving cactus is getting ready to bloom again- right about on schedule!
Started bringing in some of the pots on colder nights-
Scented geranium- needs a trim!
Bay Laurel-
I took cuttings of this for the first time, hung some to dry for the kitchen
Also the mini geranium, cuban oregano and citrus geranium. Upstairs the pot of chives and ice plant. These down in the basement window area share space with avocado plant-
Which hasn't been doing too well. I'm starting to think it will never just be happy in this house. Gotten so spindly looking.