Just Another Canadian “May Day” – Works at Many Levels

The “mayday” stress procedure word was originated in 1923, by Frederick Stanley Mockford, a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London.  Mockford was asked to think of a word that would indicate distress, and would easily be understood by all pilots and ground staff in an emergency.  Much of the traffic at the time was between Croydon and Le Bourget Airport in Paris, so he proposed the expression “mayday” from the French m’aidez, which means “help me.”

Yesterday, Victoria Day Monday, was another one of those “unusual” May days of the Canadian spring weather.  It started cool but sunny, so I had a chance to transplant some of my seedlings to the garden beds, or to bigger pots outside.  I was comparing the ones I grew in the basement under grow lights, and some I had upstairs by a South facing window.  In general, the grow light seeds sprouted sooner, but the window seedlings grew faster and leggier, for example these tomato seedlings (window boxes, top; grow light cup, bottom):

tomato seedling comparison

However, the grow light seedlings had much more developed roots, which might give them a better chance of survival once in the ground:

root comparison of tomato seedlings

I planted seedlings from the same variety, coming from window and grow lights, next to each other, so I will be able to monitor their growth and performance throughout the season.  Tomato seedlings are transplanted with most of the stems under soil level, so that they will develop more roots:

tomatoes transplanted to the ground

So far, so good.  As the afternoon progressed, I made my way around the garden; I cut a few asparagus, and since some spears were already opening and looked thin, I decided that would be the last harvest for this season, then … “mayday, mayday, mayday.” I noticed several asparagus beetles going around the tips, ugh! I quickly went inside and got a cup with soapy water, and encouraged the little red bugs to take the plunge; I will have to continue this practice for a while.  Once cleaned, the branching spears looked healthy:

asparagus opening tips

The robin nest has at least one chick now.  On May 15, I noticed the mom leaving the nest for a longer time, and later, she was dropping some chewed worm inside it.  I got a pic of both parents, probably discussing the College fund for their brood (LOL):

robin parents

Then I went to check my lettuce bed; soon after the rabbit attack, I placed a plastic mesh around the bed, and protected some of the seedlings with homemade cloches (clear bell-shaped plant protectors), so they should be doing fine … “mayday, mayday, mayday.” I knew the rabbits had been back, because my lettuce seedlings had continued to disappear outside the cloches, and I saw the unmistakable signature of ripped plastic mesh, chewed apart by the rabbits:

mesh chewed by rabbits.jpg

I had to get more aggressive, so I removed the plastic mesh and placed chicken wire all around the bed. I kept the cloches on, just in case (I am determined to eat at least one bite of lettuce from my garden!) I also covered the back with black plastic, to kill weeds and warm up the soil, since I will be planting hot-weather vegetables soon:

lettuce beds, chicken wire fence and cloches.jpg

“Mayday, mayday, mayday.” The last distress call came to mind in the evening, when it started to rain quite hard.  I was afraid my newly transplanted seedlings would not withstand the heavy rain and wind, and was a little worried about the robin nest; there was nothing I could do at that point.  This morning, I was happy to find my seedlings still alive, my lettuce and rabbit barrier still in place, and even got a shot of a baby robin begging for food.  Aaww!

baby robin opening beak

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3 thoughts on “Just Another Canadian “May Day” – Works at Many Levels

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