Tomatoes, etc.

Looks like I’ve got a couple of Mortgage Lifter sprouts trying to come up in one of the Gatorade-bottle terrariums.

I think I’m going to spend part of tomorrow evening starting cilantro and chives for this year’s herb garden. Back in Belleville, I had this fantastic herb garden right outside the back door. It was terrific — I’d decide to make pasta, and I could walk outside and grab a half-dozen different kinds of fresh herbs to put in the sauce. Most of the herbs were either perennials or self-seeding annuals, too, so once I got the garden established, it basically took care of itself. I’d just walk out in the spring, grab the seed heads off the previous year’s plants, and give them sort of a rub and a shake to scatter the seeds. It wasn’t a perfectly orderly garden, but there was something charming about it anyway, all this tousled wild fertile growth barely confined by (and sometimes spilling across) the stone and concrete paths between beds. I just loved it. I want to get something like that going here.

Ron sent me a couple of links to pass along to y’all. The first: The Audubon Society is holding its annual Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 17-20. People observe the birds in their backyard or wherever they happen to be, fill out a checklist, and send it in.

Dr. John Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, said the data provided by amateur birders over the past eight years has been really valuable to scientists:

This project has become a major source of scientific information about North American bird populations. It is a classic example of the vital role citizens and the Internet now play in understanding our planet.

According to the Web site,

Everyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to seasoned experts. During the count, bird watchers tally up birds for as little as 15 minutes, or for as long as they like, keeping track of the highest number of each bird species they see together at one time. People are encouraged to report birds from public lands and local parks, as well as from their backyards.

They’re having contests and stuff this year. If you want to play along at home, click here.

Ron also sent me a link to a blog he really likes. Duke City Fix, an Albuquerque-based blog, has some advice on building a $6 compost bin and a $10 cold frame here.

Happy building!