Seagulls and worms and tomatoes (oh, my!)

1. I saw a seagull circling the parking lot today at work. It was gorgeous.

2. I looked in the worm bin tonight. They have been busy chewing up the stuff I put in there (except the lettuce, which they continue to ignore) and have made a pretty good supply of castings. As I was checking their food and moisture levels, I saw a pair mating. I’ve never seen that before. I did not take their picture, as I was afraid the flash might bother them. I know how it disappoints you to miss out on the opportunity to view some gratuitous earthworm porn, but just imagine how you’d feel if some giant started flashing a blinding strobe into your bedroom just to satisfy some weirdo’s curiosity….

3. I spent about an hour this evening turning a dozen 32-ounce Gatorade bottles into terrariums for starting tomatoes. I planted two varieties: Early Girl and Mortgage Lifter. The Mortgage Lifter seeds are a couple of years old, so I planted extras to increase my chances of germination.

It’s really about two weeks too early to start tomatoes, but I figured I’d go first and see how these mini-greenhouses perform while you start rounding up Gatorade bottles. If I have healthy seedlings by Feb. 15 (seed-starting time in my zone), then you’ll know this project is worth the trouble. If you decide to try this at home, here are the instructions:

Rinse out the Gatorade bottles and remove the labels.

Put a garden trowel full of perlite, vermiculite or small gravel in the bottom of each bottle for drainage, then add a scoop or two of potting soil.

Plant three or four seeds in each bottle, using a chopstick or fondue fork or something to poke the seeds down into the soil about a quarter-inch.

Give them a little water, cap the bottles, and use a Sharpie to write the varieties on the lids.

The finished project will look like this:

Tomato starts

Obviously you should keep these in a sunny window and watch the moisture level to be sure it’s not too wet or too dry. Add water or remove the lids to let the moisture evaporate as necessary.

I am going to try an experiment next week. Tomatoes supposedly love the color red, so I am going to try to find some sports drinks with red labels and leave the labels on when I do my next round of seed starts. I guess if you left your labels on the bottles and drank different flavors of Gatorade, you could use the labels to sort of color-code the different tomato varieties you planted.

Hopefully this will get my plants off to a good start.


2 thoughts on “Seagulls and worms and tomatoes (oh, my!)”

  1. A true nature lover if I ever saw one. Well i’m one too but I can’t actively do everything in my power. I’d like a few tips though.

  2. Best thing I ever did for myself (and for the environment) was to pick up a copy of “50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth” (Earthworks, 1990).

    I was about 15 when the book came out. I couldn’t do all (or even most) of the stuff on the list, but it made me more aware, and it gave me some goals — both short-term and long-term — that I’ve been pursuing ever since. Just doing the little stuff on a regular basis has helped make it habit; for instance, I automatically pick up six-pack rings and snap them apart when I find them on the ground, and recycling (which can be done almost anywhere these days, a major improvement over the way things were 15 years ago) and composting (which also can be done almost anywhere, with a little effort) are second nature to me.

    I still use the book as a barometer to see how I’m doing. I get it out every now and then and look at it to see if there are any more “simple things” I can cross off my to-do list. Last time I checked, I think I had about six to go. It took 15 years to get here, but I’m sure in another five years, I’ll have all of them crossed off the list.

    The Ecological Footprint calculator is also good for ideas. Kinda depressing, because there’s no way for the average American living the average American lifestyle — even in a conscious, responsible manner — to keep his or her footprint as small as it ought to be, but it does give you a sense of perspective about how other people live and where you can start working to shrink your footprint.

    The other thing I recommend is to get a notebook and a camera and just start paying attention. The more aware you are of the environment and your impact on it, the better you’ll be at protecting it. For some reason, when I limit my line of vision with the viewfinder, I find that I actually see more … probably because it encourages me to look at the world through an artist’s eyes. I become more conscious of lighting conditions, textures, colors, and little details I wouldn’t normally notice.

    Maybe I’ll add a page on ways to help the planet when I get a hand free.

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