Weed whacker drafters; Seed updates

Weed whacking started last week and is just finishing up. Yay! We had some days when it started persistently raining pretty early in the day. Antonio is a conscientious, hard worker. Use the horizontal slider over the two photos below to compare before and after. They aren’t perfectly lined up, but you’ll get the idea.

Before (left) and after (right) weed whacking.

I saw a cattle egret drafting the weed whacker every time I glanced out over a period of hours. I’m not sure if it was the same egret. At the end of the day I saw around five egrets flying around, so I quickly snapped a photo. There were also an assortment of mynah birds nearby, drafting. I see one occasionally riding a pig, waiting for whatever it roots up. I saw a nature documentary with African cape buffalo and what I thought were mynah birds sitting on their backs. From looking on the internet, maybe those birds were oxpeckers, which are in the mynah family.

On the cacao front, we inherited a red cacao pod, of unknown variety, from our friends’ visit to Puna Chocolate Company. It was good timing for Take 2 of planting cacao by seed. Hubby removed the mucilage (the white pulp) from a few, but to plant by seed, simply gently agitating and rinsing off some of the mucilage is sufficient.

We’ve had an interesting development with our Master Gardener germination trials. Hubby has plant babies! This is the native tree, ho’awa, we were told would take NINE months to germinate! Now that Hubby has seedlings, I looked up more details in our Native Hawaiian Plants book, and it says the seeds can germinate between 3-9 months. I guess Master Gardeners gave us the worst case scenario. I had continued to keep mine covered with saran wrap to keep them moist. Hubby had abandoned the saran wrap cover well over a month ago, and was just letting them fend for themselves. I had a brief time when I removed the saran wrap, but then I started developing mossy green things on the soil surface (lots of spores or whatnot in our air), so I re-covered it.

For the ho’awa experiment, we planted nine seeds that were rinsed about 30 minutes in a diluted bleach solution then soaked overnight, and we planted nine seeds that were only soaked overnight, no bleach involved.  It has been four months already, and during that time we’ve both lost the line in permanent marker that separated the bleached from the not-bleached. We’re assuming the seedlings that came up were from the bleached seeds, though.

The germination trials were really interesting since we had two sets. We did slightly different things, and our results differed. Both our lettuce seeds germinated in moist paper towels in days, no problem. After they had two sets of leaves, Hubby planted his directly in the ground. I put most in seed starter pots and two directly in the ground in a different spot than Hubby’s. Most of Hubby’s lettuce grew and we could actually eat them. They’re now bolting. Mine all withered early on.

Three of four of my koai’a native tree seeds germinated; none of Hubby’s did. We think he overheated them by having them covered in saran wrap and in morning sun. Probably the same thing happened with his papaya seeds. I kept all my saran-wrap-covered pots in the shade.

My strawberry papaya are all doing well. The seeds that were soaked before planting are ahead of the unsoaked seeds. I need to plant them in the ground out in the land, though I think the biggest ones are kind of in the ground (went below the pot). The leftmost green pot is Hubby’s papaya seedling(s), next on the right is my dry seeds, and rightmost is the soaked seeds. Also pictured is our papaya picker. It just so happens I used it for small papayas (unfortunately with anthracnose spots). The picker works just fine with bigger papaya, too.

Since you might not be enthralled by plant minutiae or even the (new, never used) toilet plunger papaya picker, I’ll sign off with a photo of pretty latte art made for us by our Italian friend who mastered his skill at home during COVID. We didn’t really want cappuccini after noon (gasp! for Italians, cappuccino is typically enjoyed before or during breakfast), but we wanted him to make us a design. All this time I had assumed he was using a toothpick, but it’s all in the pour direction, angle, amount, speed, etc. Here’s an article I found about how to make latte art at home. I love fleeting, daily art. Grazie mille!

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