Spring Garden 2012: First Fruits

It’s only been two weeks since the last update and most of the plants have doubled in size the zucchini might have tripled (they aren’t done either, zucchini gets big!) The zucchini and the tomato plants have started bearing fruit as well! It’s not edible yet, but it by this time next week I imagine we’ll be eating homegrown zucchini and our salads will have cherry our very own cherry tomatoes in them!

Zucchini blossoming
Our first two cherry tomatoes, still green

The beans, cucumbers, eggplant, and basil aren’t as energetic in their growth as the tomatoes and zucchinis have been but they’re coming along as well. the bush beans have flowered and the cucumbers have found the netting we put up that they’ll eventually climb up and over. I’m hoping by this time next month they’ll both be as productive as the rest of the garden. I don’t know about the eggplant though, it is only my second year growing it but it just doesn’t seem to like the Davis summers.

Bush beans and cucumbers

Spring Garden 2012: Growing Up!

Our seedlings are growing up!

It’s been a month since we planted everything in the garden box, quite a pleasant month actually; the plants seem to be appreciating the warm days and cool nights. Most of the plants, anyway… Our lone eggplant while not dying doesn’t seem to be ding much living either, and the basil has been struggling as well, probably because it is still too cold at night for them. We’re on a nightly watering schedule right now. I don’t know if it matters when you water your plants, I should look into that. During the hottest time of the year we end up watering twice a day, and that doesn’t seem to have an adverse effect.

Happy tomato plant

The plants are all still small, but our tomatoes have already started flowering. I’m tempted to pull the flowers and buds off though as I want the plant to concentrate on getting bigger right now not on producing fruit. A reminder for myself and other gardeners out there when you are watering your plants avoid getting the flowers wet, if you use a drip system this isn’t an issue, as the water will ruin the flowers and they’ll not fertilize or become fruit. I’m thinking in a few weeks our cucumbers and bush beans will start putting out creepers and D and I will have to install the netting for them to crawl up, by that time I’m hoping the zucchini plants have doubled as well. By the end of June and early July I expect we’ll be harvesting fruits and veggies and I’ll have a lot more to talk about when it comes to the garden.  Continue reading “Spring Garden 2012: Growing Up!”

Spring Garden 2012: Planted!


The weather is still all wonky but D and I decided that we didn’t want to wait any longer to put the garden or else it would be too late. I’m a little worried that the non-existent then late winter is going to lead into a too warm summer but that is a completely different topic. We went to the Ace today and picked up some compost, manure, and some tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, zucchini, and eggplant. We had some seedlings of those but they are still very young, as you can see above, and we wanted to have some back up. Back at the house I turned the garden bed over, put in all the compost we had produced ourselves (from the composter and the worm bin) and then turned it all over.

All the plants
All the poops!

Once it was turned over we laid out where we were going to be putting everything, put in some beer plants and then planted the store bought seedlings. We left a lot of room in the bed for the seedlings still in their planters (bush beans, Japanese cucumbers, edamame, and some heirloom tomatoes). Once the plants were in we watered it all down, soaking the garden. Then we filled up the beer traps with the King of Beers, and spread out the Sluggo (damn slugs are still the biggest problem we have with the garden.)

All done! Sorta...
Lemon Cucumbers!
Our tiny, precious seedlings! Protected from birds and slugs (it's on the roof of a shed.)

This is going to be our last garden here in Davis and we’re both crossing our fingers hoping it will be our best yet!


Designer Diary: De-making King’s Quest: Where to Start?

Not De-made

I’ve wanted to make a video game for, well, I don’t know how long it has been. Pretty long I’m sure. I can remember (just like everyone else can) drawing out dozens and dozens of level designs for my game. What type of game was it? It was a racing/platformer hybrid where racers in these pods would race through tubes that had a number of hazards. It was either going to be really stupid or stupidly hard. I never got anywhere on working on that game. I’ve never got very far on any of the games I’ve ever worked on. The problem always being have to learn a programming or scripting language. I’m not very good at it…

I still want to make a game though. So, what am I to do? Use Inform 7! Inform 7 is a  programming language for making Interactive Fiction (IF) that uses natural language. What does that mean? It means that if I type in as a line of code:

The Castle is a room. “You stand before a majestic castle it’s walls are imposing.” To the east is the Moat. To the west is an Empty Field.

The compiler takes these sentences and from it knows that the Castle is a room and when you are there will display the quoted text. The compiler also knows that to the east is another room,  Moat and to the west is a room called Empty Field. While you can do much more than create rooms with Inform 7 all of the coding is done in complete understandable English sentences like the ones above.

I figured the best way to learn Inform 7 was to start creating a game right away. But, I didn’t have any ideas for a IF game and I didn’t want to hate own of my own good ideas after implementing it so poorly on my first attempt at using the language. This is where Roberta William’s King’s Quest I comes in. King’s Quest wasn’t the first adventure game to have graphics (that was Roberta’s Mystery House) but the graphics were line drawings and static. KQ1 was the first to have a moveable avatar and detailed (for the time) visuals of your character’s surroundings. The player still has to type in commands at a prompt in order to interact with the game and there is still a lot of text to go through. Why not take that text and that premise for my own first attempt at game making? So, that is what I decided to do. I’ll just jettison the graphics and re-make the game in Inform 7. It shouldn’t be that hard should it?

Next time: Drawing Maps, designing a world


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