March « 2009 « verdure
first and counting
Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

The two tomatoes that we bought as plants have been doing well. What we think is the Husky Cherry Red The Bush Goliath has continued to flower and has its first baby tomato.

At least one seed from each of the peat pellets has sprouted now, the peppers and especially the parsley taking the longest. Unless of course the “parsley” is actually a volunteer seed that happened by and took advantage of the frequent watering.

A few days ago something (we blame the squirrels until they can prove their innocence) knocked over some of the seedlings and was digging in the larger pots. Today I saw a (second?) snake in our yard. May it catch lots of squirrel.

It’s rained twice since we arrived in Tampa, with officially 0.06″ of rain thus far in March compared to an average to date of 2.61″. Average for the entire month of March: 3.36″. There are water restrictions in effect, but maybe it’s just the government offices that are expected to heed them, as I’ve seen plenty of fountains running and daytime watering.

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spare change
Monday, March 16th, 2009

Florida is very toll road happy. In addition, maps, both on our GPS and on Google, are decidedly unreliable here. I’m unaccustomed to needing to keep spare change in the car in case I have an unplanned trip or find a misbehaving toll machine, such as the 2nd to the left west bound lane on the Pinellas Bayway (falsely labeled “exact change” in this case), which took about $1.00 of change before deciding we’d paid the 50 cent toll. From their websites it looks like if you don’t pay, they photograph your license plate, ding your driving record, and send you a bill for somewhere around $175, depending on the road.

For those booths that are accepting the correct amounts, here are the charges:

Buying a SunPass transponder (prepayed) saves you a quarter to fifty cents on the larger toll amounts compared to cash.

This is not complete, but here’s a map of some of Tampa Bay’s toll booths:

View Larger Map

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Sunday, March 15th, 2009

On the 12th we planted seeds of: watermelon, yellow squash, tomatoes (red robin, black krim, quarter century and early girl), parsley, thyme, lettuce, sweet pepper, basil (purple and last year’s genovese).  Of those, only the genovese basil, sweet pepper and parsley have not pushed up at least one seedling.  Today we planted chives.  The package says to wait 4 months before harvesting.  That seems like an awful long time.

We also bought two tomatoes from Home Depot, a bush goliath and a husky cherry red.

On tomatoes:

Days to maturity
Early Girl 57
Red Robin 55-68 (???)
Husky Cherry Red 65
Bush Goliath 68
Black Krim 75
Quarter Century 85

*Note on the Red Robin maturity date: For having such pretty plants, the red robins we tried to grow indoors last fall/winter must have never been that happy. We had them for around 120 days, and not even one successful flower.

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Sunday, March 15th, 2009

We’ve rented a house on the west side of the bay.  We have a yard.  The landlady seems garden friendly.  There are a lot of blue jays, mourning doves, squirrels and little lizards.  There was a frog on the first night, but we haven’t seen him since.  We’re already using the AC.  I haven’t been bitten by any mosquitoes yet.

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