i moved some things into the basement this morning: 3 banks of grow lights, bottle of paint thinner, 2 buckets of gravel, and a jug of ice melt pellets.

next i rode the bike to the cambridge public library to pick up a pair of passes to the new england wildflower society in framingham. there was large group of visiting architects doing a tour of the facilities. there was a time when i was a library regular, but this was my first visible since the arrival of kindle, and it wasn't even on book-related business.

community garden

i stopped by the community garden on my way home. it seems all my plants survived the week-long stretch of overcast and rainy weather. i forgot what i planted next to the radishes (cilantro? basil?) but none of them had germinated. besides the wild morning glory seedlings that seem to plague my plot, the only thing that sprouted was a single summer squash seedling. how that's supposed to grow big enough to take over a large chunk of my garden i still have my doubts.

elsewhere in the community garden

there are a few select raised beds that are the envy of all the other gardeners. the variety of greens and herbs is like having a growing salad bar combined with a spice rack. it's too late for me to do that in my own community plot, but i may try it next season.

while most flowering trees have already shed their blossoms, now is time for the smaller plants to put on their own color show. i hope this is but a preview of what bruce and i will see when we visit the new england wildflower society on wednesday.

i opted to ride the bicycle to belmont in case of rain. it was a tricky choice because i was transporting 4 ft long wooden stakes. a neighbor had thrown them out during trash day, two bundles neatly tied together. i attached to the back, like the balancing pole of a tightrope walker. i had to make sure that i wasn't too close to the right that i'd hit the parked cars, nor too far out to the left that i'd get clipped by passing vehicles. the weight of the sticks also made my bike wobbly. i was relieved when i finally arrived in belmont.

belmont garden

without even trying, i spent most of the day outside doing garden work. the weather was cool but i found it warm and just wore my t-shirt (the clean one i changed into after a quick shower). i thinned the beet seedlings; tied strings to the beans so they can crawl up to the wire fencing; and i staked the cucumber so they too could have something to climb before they reached their respective fencing.

i redid my cucumber/squash mounds since more than 2 weeks have gone by and nothing has emerged except for a single frail cucumber seedling. even when i dug into the mound i couldn't find anything germinating, except for one stunted cocozelle squash. hopefully the weather will be sunnier within the next few days to properly germinate these seeds. they supposed to emerge in 5-10 days.

corner garden

there used to be an apple tree at the southwestern corner of the yard. it was a dying tree bearing diseased fruits so my father and i chopped it down. we never did anything to the area, leaving what remained of the stump to rot and letting that corner become overtaken by celandines. a few years ago we took another look at that corner and realized it was a pretty good plot. the tree trunk had been naturally reduced to compost and the area got a surprisingly amount of sunlight. last year i successfully grew some sweet corn, before either a skunk or a raccoon completely razed my plants. this year we dumped out all the content of the compost bin so now the soil is super fertile.

it was still just a pile of dirt but i partitioned it into 2 3x3 ft growing zones using some wooden stakes. in one square i planted some summer squash right in the middle (they need a lot of space, 3 ft radius is ideal) while in the other i packed in 4 rows of sweet corn. i put up some fencing but not sure if it'll really keep out the dog or any other animals. there's also really nothing keeping the dirt inside the square. after a heavy rainfall, i'm worried all that soil and compost will just spill over. this corner garden is basically a bonus area. it's not as ideal as the raised beds, so anything that i can grow here is just an extra perk.

the corner garden also sits next to the compost bin. i turned the content today. it's mostly grass clippings with a bit of shredded newspaper. it smelled absolutely horrible, like the worst public toilet in china, reeking of rot and ammonia. it needs more dry material to counteract the nitrogen surplus.

additional garden notes

i believe i won't see any peony flowers after all. i noticed the flower buds have darkened and shriveled up, not a good sign. there are still a few viable buds, but i think it's only a matter of time. i think not getting enough sun made the peonies abort their flower buds. i suppose it's for the best, i wasn't confident it would've been any significant blooming since the buds were so small and never got any bigger. maybe this season the newly emerged leaves will gather up enough energy to produce stronger shoots for next spring.

yes, the wisteria are blooming. they smell like cloves, which i don't think i ever mentioned. the variety we have is a very pale purple; i've seen wisterias where they're completely purple and resemble grapes. they're still pretty in a deadly "choke-your-tree-to-death" sort of way. some of the golden raspberry canes have also began to flower. the 3 tomato plants i transferred into bigger pots are doing exceptionally well, much better than the ones i transplanted into the raised beds. the only exception is the potted tomatoes i'm using entirely compost instead of soil. it's a very dramatic improvement.

the whole time i was outside i could smell the spicy slow-cooked chicken coming from the kitchen. my father was in charge of preparing the main course. we ended up having dinner around 4:30 and i left for cambridge by 6:00.

earlier my father was showing me the new apps he found for the ipad. apparently there's an app that takes you to secret chinese language apps not seen in the app store. he downloaded a chinese version of ibooks that tapped into a large database of free chinese literature. but the thing that impressed me the most were chinese video streaming apps that fed pirated english language television shows and movies with chinese subtitles. this wasn't some backroom pirate stream with shoddy graphics but rather a full-blown beautifully-executed app that followed apple's user interface design. i can't believe this would be sanctioned by apple, but apparently there's some loophole. if i remember next time i'll try to take some screen captures.

victor and i watched game 4 between the mavericks and the thunder. OKC led for much of the game, as much as 15 points. everytime dallas would pull even, OKC would extend their lead again into double digits. it was all but a foregone conclusion that the thunder would win and even out the series 2-2, but the mavericks went on a run in the final minutes and managed to tie the game to send it into overtime. the thunder seemed demoralized by that point and the mavericks managed to pull ahead and steal a victory, setting the series 3-1 with the next game back in dallas.