2009 Garden Seed Order

In addition to what we have left from last year, here are the seeds we will have for our garden:

205PO-Provider Bush Green Bean OG (A=2oz) 1 x $1.80= $1.80
1411BZ-Black Zucchini (A=1/8oz) 1 x $0.80= $0.80
1488WB-White Bush Lebanese Summer Squash (A=1/8oz) 1 x $0.80= $0.80
1504SF-Saffron Summer Squash (A=1/8oz) 1 x $0.90= $0.90
1638BO-Burpees Butterbush Winter Squash OG (A=1/8oz) 1 x $1.40= $1.40
2358LU-Laurentian Rutabaga (A=1/8oz) 1 x $0.70= $0.70
3168KR-Krausa Parsley (A=1/16oz) 1 x $1.00= $1.00
3324AR-Arcadia Broccoli (A=0.5g) 1 x $1.60= $1.60
3471KB-Kolibri Kohlrabi (A=0.5g) 1 x $1.80= $1.80
3756BC-Bulgarian Carrot Chile Hot Pepper (A=0.5g) 1 x $1.40= $1.40
3764EJ-Early Jalapeño Hot Pepper (A=0.5g) 1 x $0.70= $0.70
3810AC-New Ace Sweet Pepper (A=0.2g) 1 x $1.60= $1.60
4057TO-Rutgers Tomato OG (A=0.2g) 1 x $1.20= $1.20
4109GD-Gardeners Delight Cherry Tomato (A=0.5g) 1 x $1.00= $1.00
4415WO-Sweet Basil OG (A=4g) 1 x $1.50= $1.50
4430SG-Spicy Globe Basil (A=0.5g) 1 x $1.10= $1.10
4616SM-Sweet Marjoram (A=1g) 1 x $1.10= $1.10
4632CM-Common Mint (A=0.1g) 1 x $1.10= $1.10
4664BS-Broadleaf Sage (A=1g) 1 x $1.00= $1.00
5007PC-Pastel Carpet Alyssum (A=0.5g) 1 x $1.20= $1.20
5215CP-Crystal Palace Blue Lobelia (A=0.2g) 1 x $1.10= $1.10
5233LD-Lemondrop French Dwarf Double Marigold (A=1g) 1 x $0.90= $0.90
5235SP-Sparky Mix French Dwarf Double Marigold (A=1g) 1 x $0.90= $0.90
5270CM-Carnivale de Venezia Striped Mix Morning Glory (A=1g) 1 x $1.00= $1.00
5310PW-Pink Wave Petunia (A=10 seeds) 1 x $2.20= $2.20
5401AO-Autumn Beauty Mix Sunflower OG (A=1g) 1 x $1.00= $1.00

As like last year, everything was ordered from Fedco.  We have a lot of pole bean seeds I saved from the plants we grew (we have about 3 oz produced from an order of 0.5 oz), along with quite a few radish seeds and morning glory seeds.

We’re attempting to expand our gardening this year.  We applied for a spot in the local community garden (there is a lottery system), and will also be continuing the container garden. There’s a lot of non-edible plants in our order as we hope to have a bit more spare room if we get the plot.

We gave away the few fish left in our aquarium and cleaned it out.   We’ll try to use it as a terrarium for starting seeds (We’re not planning on buying any transplants from the nursery this year, although we’ll still have it as a backup).  To give it more light, we moved the empty tank near a southern window.  We will use the aquarium fluorescent tube for supplemental light, along with two shorter tubes I put in an old blacklight fixture.  The light meter indicates that the light levels from the artificial lighting are nowhere near that of sunlight, but they should help extend growth in the evenings.  The main aquarium tube has a “daylight” spectrum, and the two tubes we bought for the other fixtures are “daylight” and “aquarium/plant” (I didn’t really know which would be better, so I decided to diversify).  We also got the Burpee Ultimate Seed Starting System, which uses a wicking system to keep the seedlings moist.  We’re still looking for a temperature-controlled seed mat as tomato seeds need a lot of warmth when germinating.

January 2009 by the Numbers

Car Odometer Readings (miles):

My Car:  106968 (+244)
My Wife’s Car:  121033 (+387)

Bike Odometer Readings (miles):

My Bike:  2099.5 (+74.0)
My Wife’s Bike:  722.9 (+0.0)

Body Weight (pounds):

My Weight:  158.0 (+2.0)
My Wife’s Weight:  ###.# (+ #.#)
My Dog’s Weight:  51.2 (+0.2)

Electric Meters (kWh):

My Apartment:  20717 (+773)
Neighbor 1:  25490 (+1810)
Neighbor 2:  61458 (+2014)
Neighbor 3:  41161 (+1440)
Neighbor 4:  68919 (+2404)
Neighbor 5:  34850 (+1711)
Neighbor 6:  54749 (+2953)
Neighbor 7:  42555 (+1371)
Apartment Exterior:  22666 (+76)

I biked to work 9.5 days out of 19, or 50% of the time (I had to get a ride home one day due to a flat tire, which I still haven’t fixed).  I biked 23% of the distance I travelled (only counting my bike and car distances).  My 2.0 lb gain this month is likely not above the noise level (for example, water weighs about a pound per pint, so if I recently had drank a lot of liquids, I could easily weigh a few more pounds).

In the way of electricity use, I used substantially less than my neighbors, despite living in identical units.  I only used 39% of the averaged electricity use of my neighbors this month. It helps that I live above the people that used 2404 kWh last month, and that I have a nice southern face.   I keep the apartment at a nice 63-64 degrees Fahrenheit.

Meatlog: First Entry

01-01-09: Homemade sushi cointaining sustainable salmon, sustainable fake crab, and canned eel for dinner

01-02-09: Leftover sushi for lunch

What is this sustainable salmon?  I chose smoked “Alaska sockeye salmon wild caught from a sustainable fishery.”  I don’t know more details about the fake crab, but the package indicated it was sustainable.

There’s more sushi in the fridge, so there’ll be some more in the future.  Sushi is actually very easy to make.  Many thanks to my sister-in-law for the sushi-making kit as a belated birthday present.

2009 Project: Meatlog and Soda-log

I’m not the kind of person to make New Year’s resolutions, but the opportunity for self-renewal is tempting.  As such, I have decided that:

  1. I will try as hard as I can within reason to not drink soda.  What does this mean?  If I go out to eat, I won’t order a soda.  I won’t drink soda at home.  I won’t take a free soda if they’re offered at work.  The only times I will drink soda is if there’s no other option available (unlikely, but possible at a few restaurants).  I will post catalog every soda I drink so that it may be a mark of shame.  As such, I will make a post on this very blag so readers will know how well I’m doing.  I will call this effort Soda-log (as Sodalog doesn’t quite look right).
  2. I will record every time I eat meat.  This will actually be less strict than the whole Soda-log, as I know I will be eating some meat at holidays.  We also have an entire turkey in the freezer that my wife’s work handed out at Thanksgiving.  We also have plenty of leftovers from the other turkey we already cooked the day after Thanksgiving (she took one from a friend who wasn’t going to use it).  I will try to oder vegetarian dishes at restaurants when possible.  I will call this effort Meatlog (appetizing, don’t you think?).  Fish counts as meat, in this context.  Eggs and dairy do not.

My main motivations for these projects are sustainability and health.  Meat production uses a disproportionate amount of resources compared to the production of fruits and vegetables.  Soda is made from high fructose corn syrup, which is of course made from corn.  The production of corn is the cornerstone of the modern agriculture industry, and there are many bad environmental effects of producing so much corn for such useless purposes as feeing livestock and making sugar when all that land could be used to more efficiently grow food directly for humans, or  to be returned to the wild.  The health effects of soda and meat consumption are well-known so I won’t go into them.

2009 by the Numbers

In order to be as scienfic, quantitative, and anal as possible, I wrote down a few important numbers on January 1st, 2009.  My hopes are to do the same thing in a year so that I can have accurate figures on my energy consumption, automobile use, etc.

Car Odometer Readings (miles):

My Car:  106724
My Wife’s Car:  120646

Bike Odometer Readings (miles):

My Bike:  2025.5
My Wife’s Bike:  722.9

Body Weight (pounds):

My Weight:  156.0
My Wife’s Weight:  ###.#
My Dog’s Weight:  51.0

Electric Meters (kWh):

My Apartment:  19944
Neighbor 1:  23680
Neighbor 2:  59444
Neighbor 3:  39721
Neighbor 4:  66515
Neighbor 5:  33139
Neighbor 6:  51796
Neighbor 7:  41184
Apartment Exterior:  22590

Some notes: The bike odometers travel with the rider.  Suppose I ride my wife’s bike one day, since mine might have a flat tire (as it often does).  I would take my odometer and put it on her bike to keep track of my distance, not the bike’s.  And, no, I’m not posting my wife’s weight online.  I’m not that stupid.

Blog Restart‽

With the new year upon us,  I contemplate posting more often.   Of what I would publish, I do not know.  Perhaps the tedium of life is enough for some, but I hope for something a bit more substantial.   If there are any readers out there with any ideas, be sure to let me know.

Earth Hour

My wife and I celebrated Earth Hour last Saturday.  We turned off our lights, TV, computers, cable modem, router, aquarium pump, heater, and light, apartment heater, water heater, clocks, and power strips.  The only things left on were the refrigerator and the microwave (it’s hard to reach the outlet as it’s behind the fridge).  We lit some candles and played a game at the kitchen table for an hour.  Not much energy was saved, but I think that the symbolism of the event was important.


We are billed for the water used in our apartment.  Ever since we moved in, I had no idea how they did this.  We are charged for a specific amount of water, which is different every month, yet there are meters on the exterior of the building.

All this remained a mystery until five minutes ago.  The water heater was making a strange hissing sound after I turned it on (it’s electrical and we only turn it on every other night before we shower, when we need hot water).  I got out my flashlight and started poking around.  I saw what I thought was some sort of valve, but was actually a meter, connected to a mysterious box with a wire.  The box actually isn’t that mysterious now, it clearly says something about sub-metering.  The value on the analog meter was consistent with previous billing readings.

Something didn’t make sense though, the meter is on the water heater.  This meant that only hot water (or water coming into the heater) was being metered.  I verified this by running some hot, then cold water and seeing the little wheel spin. This means using the toilet is free (not that I’m going to stop conserving water just because I’m not being charged for it, I’ll keep my old milk jug in there to reduce the use per flush).

Seed Arrival!

Our seed order came in the mail today!  Everything was there, except the Marketmore 86 Slicing Cucumber was out of stock and was substituted with the organic version of the same variety (I’m not into organic foods, I’m sure they’re probably healthier, but I’m unwilling to double my grocery bill to buy them).

We had Easter Dinner at a couple from church’s house.  The patriarch was able to recommends a few garden centers in the area, which we’ll need to visit to pick up transplants, soil, fertilizer, and pots at some point.  Last year, we went to Home Depot, and had to deal with their poor selection since it was the only place we knew.  We’ll probably get pots and soil (actually potting soil, which isn’t soil at all) sometime this week.  That way, I can start spinach and lettuce, and perhaps peas and beans (I need to check my planting charts).

How Much Energy Do I Use in Comparison to My Neighbors?

I was a little sneaky and wrote down the electrical meter readings of all the units in my apartment building about a month ago.  Now, 30 days later, I checked them again.  Results:

My Apartment: 608 kWh (Two adults, home normally)

Apartment A: 716 kWh (One adult, one child, home sporadically)

Apartment B: 1302 kWh (Two adults, one child, home normally)

Apartment C: 1348 kWh (Two adults, home normally)

Apartment D: -128 kWh (Three adults, home normally)

Apartment E: 1727 kWh (One adult, two children home constantly, one adult home sporadically)

Apartment F: 822 kWh (Two adults, home rarely)

Apartment G: 123 kWh (Two adults, one child, home normally)

Apartment Exterior: 44 kWh (Exterior lights on at night)

I think apartments D and G had incorrect readings on my part a month ago. It’s been warmer, so there’s a good distribution of days where a heater is needed.

It looks like my apartment uses the least energy (assuming D and G are wrong, of course), even less than those who are home less than I am.  My guess is that this is due to using CFLs and keeping my heater turned down, along with using insulating plastic on the windows.  Considering that electricity is about $0.15/kWh around here, it looks like some of my neighbors could pay as much as $250 for this month!  I’m looking at about $90, with $10 extra for my “green” energy charge.