A mysterious dinosaur

This year is my first legitimate gardening season! I started with a simple hydroponics system in January, and now I’m weeding my mom’s raised beds in preparation for some lettuce transplants.

Some notes over the past few months:

  • This hobby is more time-sensitive than other hobbies I’ve tried out over the past few years. You’re really under the mercy of the weather- there’s not much you can do when the weather is still liable to go below freezing, for example. Fortunately here in the PNW where I am currently, it looks like spring weather is coming early. Hence why I managed to de-weed the raised garden beds (normally it’s too cold and rainy in the winter) and start seedlings (again, too cold previously).

  • I still want to go on month-long staycations on different parts of the country. So I’m investing in automated irrigation this early into my gardening journey. That’s the main reason why I started with a Click and Grow 3 system (and hydroponics in general). If it works out, all I need to do is refill some bottles and/or monitor the ground everyday for over-or-under watering. I’m starting with a simple Blumat 5 gallon kit for now. If this works out, then I’ll move to a raised garden bed system. That raised garden bed will be watered manually in the meantime.

  • Why switch to traditional soil-based gardening? Hydroponics looks fun and has major advantages, the biggest being the ability to grow in the winter. I may still switch back to hydroponics eventually for growing leafy greens year-round. But I’ve always been attracted to the sustainability aspect of hobbies. Traditional gardening works out well here. You can create a (somewhat ) closed loop with a compost bin, veggies and your food scraps. I would love to make a system like that work.

  • I have no illusions right now though of growing all my food in my garden. Nor do I want to enter commercial food production, i.e. backyard farming. Both require full time work and planning, and are too much in the mercy of the climate and other variables. If you get a bad harvest, say goodbye to your food or your income for the next few months. That’s too much to think about for what is basically a relaxing hobby.

Now for some pics!

Seed starting:

The garden bed that took 2 hours to pull the weeds out:

Writing to Learn

I’m someone who likes to learn a lot of things, passively. One of my favorite habits is to watch Youtube videos or read up on the skill-du-jour I’m learning. That’s currently gardening and cooking.

However, reading or watching something doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve fully integrated something meaningful. It’s easy to read an article and then forget about it. How do I know that it sticks? Will it be part of my long term memory, or just a digital snack to pass the time?

There’s many ways to integrate something I learned deeper into my brain:

Digest and turn over what I just learned. This involves highlighting passages in a book, or writing notes on a video, and then revisiting those highlights every so often. Synthesis and spaced repetition are keys to making ideas stick. This habit is something I do already and I’ve used it to great success.

One new thing I want to try: externalize my notes into publishable text. This is a refinement of the synthesis that happens when we summarize and expand on ideas during the note taking process. This makes sure that the insights aren’t just nebulous sentences in my note taking app, but a clear idea that is readable by many people. This is good even if no one else actually reads the text. Sometimes hastily scribbled notes are hard to understand, months down the line!

Hence this blog. There are other advantages to writing — clarifying my opinions, getting my ideas scrutinized, and taking a snapshot of my views at a point in time. So this blog won’t just be for tutorials, but also for ideas and opinions I may form occasionally.