Garden Progress

April 17th, 2010

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year, with the cold weather slowly being replaced with the warm, the greening of the trees, and of course the start of the gardening season. I’ve been spending a lot of time in my backyard tilling soil, mixing in compost, and otherwise prepping my beds.

Young Spinach

I’ve also sowed several seeds a few weeks ago, which are now beginning to spring to life. I got the Spinach in a little bit late, but the first real leaves are beginning to show up on my plants. Other gardeners have told me that I should sow Spinach seeds in the fall to have an even earlier crop. That’s on my to-do list for this fall.


Our chives are always one of the first things to pop up in the spring, and now they’re fully grown in. Our oregano, tarragon, mint, thyme, and sage have also sprung back to life from the winter. Unfortunately, 3 feet of snow seemed to kill our rosemary, so we’ll have to replace that soon.

Young Dragon Carrot Plant

I’ve sowed the seeds for a couple of root vegetables, Dragon Carrots (purple carrots) and beets. Both are popping up and starting their growth. I also have some swiss chard and several lettuces in the ground.

Strawberry Flower

After planting our small strawberry patch 3 years ago, I’m hopefully that this year will finally be the year we have a decent harvest. The plants all look very healthy, with a lot of flowers. Since we do only have a small area dedicated to them, I need to cover them with some bird netting, as I believe the birds were the main consumers of the berries last year.

Snap Pea

I love watching our vines spring back up after reseeding themselves from the previous year. Yesterday, I spotted the first string bean shoot emerging from the soil, and our snap peas (pictured above) started popping up a couple weeks ago. I put a couple cucumber and squash plants in the ground to try and get an early start on them, covering the plants at night, but it’s still too cool for them to really take off it seems. Either way, it’s so exciting to be out in the garden, watching for new surprises everyday. The only downside: my aquariums suffer from a bit of neglect. I’d love to hear what you’re planting in the comments section!

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75G – Updated Photo

April 12th, 2010

I haven’t updated this tank log since January, but my 75G is finally grown in to about where I want it. Unfortunately, the foreground (Glossostigma elatinoides) is way past its prime. I’m debating whether to leave the aquascape in place, and just replant the foreground, or to rip everything out and try something fresh. I have some nice manzanita branches that I’d like to try in here eventually.

75G - Updated 4/12/2010

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The Angelfish in this tank are really doing fabulously. They have probably doubled in size since I got them, and are incredibly personable fish. Whenever I enter the room, the fish swim straight up to the glass, gliding back and forth to follow me around the room. I couldn’t be more pleased with them. I still haven’t really spent much time to figure out other schooling tankmates for the Angels, but I’m sure I will find something eventually. Comments/critique always welcome on the aquascape!

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GWAPA: Hardscaping Workshop

April 6th, 2010

A couple weekends ago, GWAPA, our local aquatic plant club, held its first ever hardscaping workshop for its members. Twenty-ten is the year of the aquascape in GWAPA, as we are doing a whole series of meetings stepping thru the ins-and-outs of aquascaping, culminating in an aquascaping contest. The first meeting in this series was about setting up the hardscape (rocks/wood).

GWAPA Hardscaping Workshop

The club provided buckets of rocks and a large box of manzanita so that our members could get their hands dirty in several 10G aquariums we had setup. The idea was to provide the materials for folks to be creative, while having more experienced aquascapers in the room to assist and give pointers.

GWAPA Hardscaping Workshop

I had the privilege of doing a short presentation at the beginning of the meeting, where I showcased a number of award-winning aquascapes and pointed out how the hardscape was the foundation for why they were successful.

GWAPA Hardscaping Workshop

Our members produced a variety of different hardscapes. Some were rockscapes like the one above, using locally collected slate.

GWAPA Hardscaping Workshop

Others decided to mix manzanita and slate in their tanks. It’s not hard to figure out where this member would have planted this hardscape, leaving a path down the middle.

GWAPA Hardscaping Workshop

I was happy to see lots of collaboration among members when working on their hardscapes. Personally, I’ve found it very beneficial to aquascape by committee so because other folks can point out potential pitfalls that I would have otherwise missed.

GWAPA Hardscaping Workshop

In addition to the slate, we also had some locally collected quartz-based rock, which looks very nice in an aquascape with a bright sand foreground.

GWAPA Hardscaping Workshop

In the end, we auctioned off all of the manzanita and aquariums at reasonable prices. The auction itself was pretty sizable, and overall, I think the workshop was a success. Has your club ever done anything like this? I’d love to hear other similar types of experiences in the comments…

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