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Frogs and Sprouts

The surface of the frog pond was rippling, little expanding circles, and at first I thought it was raining.

When I looked a little closer, I realized it was dozens of Upland Chorus Frogs. They're sitting still, some of them engaged in amplexus, but their throat sacs are pulsing and every time they expand, another little ripple goes out.

The noise is deafening. We have opened up the house because it's seventy degrees out, and in every room, you hear frog song coming through the windows.

The seeds I start indoors have SPROUTED! (Well, some of them.) The tomatillos have grown little sprouts and come up and are sproutlike and OH MY GOD YOU GUYS I DID IT! (I have not been this excited since the time I germinated corn on a wet paper towel in grade school.)

Sadly, the other seeds are not doing so well. My peat pots have molded rather badly, and the seeds with them. (I don't know why the tomatillos are fine.) I went on-line and found a lot of contempt for peat for just that reason, so I'm going to chuck those and start over with something less prone to molding. Lost a week on the fish peppers, but meh, learning experience.

Thanks for giving hope of spring.

North of the wall I shoveled my driveway when I got home from work, shoveled again before going to bed, shoveled a third time when I got up this morning and will have to shovel yet another time when I get home from work. Also the city snowplow driver was sneaky and plowed a bunch of snow into my driveway this morning while I was taking my shower after shoveling.

They warn that winter is coming, but does anyone ever talk about winter leaving? At least I have the memory of the warm weather from the last couple days. It was over positive 40F, stuff was actually melting.

The scary part is that we STILL haven't gotten as much snow as they got in central NY, which is where I lived before moving to MN.

The frogs are going nuts here, too. If I walk down to the pond, they shut up, but they're loud enough for me to pick up on the voice recorder of my telephone, even if I'm a good 100 feet from the pond. I love it!

The frogs in the creek in my across-the-street neighbors' back yards are so loud I can hear them from inside my house with the windows closed.

My jonquils are budding. My crocuses aren't blooming yet, but the neighbor's are.

Don't know if they would be better/worse for moulding, but there is a thing for turning newspaper and its ilk into biodegradable starter pots...

Edit: All my herb seedlings have spider mite, despite being indoors. I'm blaming the thyme that came in for the winter.

Edited at 2014-02-21 04:35 pm (UTC)

And .... I learned a new word today. Amplexus. Pseudo-copulation.

I wonder if I can work that into a letter somehow?

I stopped using peat pots when I found out they don't break down very well outside, and garden cleanup revealed a whole bunch of root-bound flowers and vegetables. I started using Cow Pots (Made from compressed manure) to start my tomatoes and found them to be much better with regards to letting the roots expand once they're planted.

The other reason I stopped using them was I found it almost impossible to keep the proper moisture ratio in the starting mix. Either too dry and the seedlings shriveled, or too wet and the seeds rotted and I had the same molding problems you're having.

Gardener's Supply Co. makes these self-watering seed trays I really like. I've found them to be a million times more reliable for starting seeds and then I just pot up until everything's big enough to harden off.

I once started a bunch of seeds in old toilet rolls, because the internet (in this case, Pinterest) had told me that was a fun and environmentally friendly was to start seeds. Yeah right! The seeds got started, but were choked with mould before they were big enough to be planted outside. Bah, humbug.

Tomatillos take pride in bucking convention. When someone told me I couldn't grow tomatillos in my garden in Wisconsin the tomatillos volunteered from compost. And grew for 5 years.

Compost volunteers often turn into the most durable and persistent of varieties.


XD I keep hoping for tadpoles in my two little garden ponds, but nada as yet; I swear, if I ever see any frog-eggs in a stream or something, I'm going to kidnap them. There's waterlilies and everything; c'mon, frogs, Chez Ysabet is waiting for you!

My 8-inch Red-eared Slider, whose name you'll be happy to know is Bob, has come out of hibernation with a vengeance and I found him sunning himself on the rocks I had set up for him... nose-to-nose with my gigantic 20-pound monstercat, whose name is also Bob (I got him first; Bob-Onna-Halfshell was already named when I took him in as a rescue.) Turtle!Bob didn't seem to be at all intimidated by Monstercat!Bob, though perhaps just a little wary; Monstercat!Bob, on the other hand, flinched like a total wuss when Turtle!Bob stuck his head out a little further. It was really funny, a true Mexican Standoff; I half expected slow, dramatic Flaminco music to start playing in the background, but I made a little too much noise and Turtle!Bob plopped back into his pond.

I've run across Tomatillos growing wild around Tucson; I think they're very good survivors. Every now and then I find some sort of crop-type plant growing and wonder how it got where it did-- was there a homestead? Is this descended from stores that the Anasazi left that rats got into? Who knows? I've found short little cornstalks growing wild by a canyon lake that had fat cobs no taller than my palm is wide; it made me wonder. They weren't small because of the soil, either-- they were growing on rich, marshy ground that flooded periodically and was littered with fishbones; you could've rooted firewood there.

My own plants are about to go into the ground; I got a late start this year. The herb-garden's being refurbished (I let it lie fallow this past year) with cooking-herbs for the most part, though I picked up some Dittany of Crete because I love how it looks; in general, though, it's sage, lemon-balm, English thyme, catmint, garlic-chives and so forth. The sunflower seeds are going in the larger garden next with Anasazi Beans to climb them and small onions to grow in their shade; I have two pots of watercress sitting in one of my ponds right now, just waiting for me to plant them among the waterlilies. ^_^


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I am shocked and surprised that no one has mentioned Paul McCartney yet.

Another thing that Doesn't Work are those cute little disks of peat that you soak, open the top and insert a seed. The mesh they enclose the peat with is just tough enough to strangle the seed's delicate little roots and break them off. And removing the damn stuff with a tweezers is excruciatingly delicate work and not worth the trouble - you wind up breaking the hair roots yourself.

AHA! That explains the death of the poke milkweed!

Whoops, posted reply to question about fish peppers with a link to Seed Savers Exchange, and it was marked as spam. :-(

BTW, best seed-starting gizmo I've used was a block of styrofoam with bottomless tubes cut into it, that one fills with potting soil. The whole shebang sits atop a felt mat that wicks water up from a reservoir beneath. Works beautifully. The tubes are longer and narrower than a peat pot. There's a transparent cover to hold in heat/moisture until the sprouts come up, and then you remove the cover to prevent mold.

I was also able to rig up a cheap, sturdy and effective light shelf, using coated wire shelves (in my case, the kind that fit over/across your washer and dryer--laundry room is warm, yay!) and a suspended four-foot shop light. I hung the shop light from the chains that came with it, which made it easy to raise the light as the seedlings got taller.

Damn I miss gardening. Stupid oak trees. Well, not stupid really, but deep oak shade isn't compatible with vegetables and herbs.

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