Week of 5/5 Update

This week marks the beginning of a very busy season for us. The first experimental treatments have commenced, and there is still much to prepare for.

This week I nearly finished my battle with the great weed trident of LTRAS. With the trenches dug out (above), I just had to extend all the ¼” tubes, replace the emitters, and dig out any caved in sections of the trench before placing the line in it. The manager at LTRAS had a special tractor that he’d rented to fill in the trenches. After the trenches were filled he then tilled between the plants. I am now left only with patches of weeds around each plot to deal with, instead of solid rows. The trusty hula-ho and I still have our work cut out for us there, but with things picking up it’s hard to find time. I’ll need to finish off the weeds before they release seeds; hopefully I can finish that next week.

Louie and I introduced a total of 64 monarch eggs to select field plants at the LTRAS and Putah Creek sites, officially kicking off some the experiments for the season. A control population of monarch was started in the lab on the same day as the field introductions. The lab monarchs are being raised in containers stocked with artificial diet (picture at top of page). As you can see, they start are remarkably small, which makes the next part of the experiment tricky (Hint: check the bottom of the container).

Now that the monarch eggs have been introduced they need to be monitored regularly. The monarch caterpillars can be tricky to spot on the plants at first, but get much easier to spot over time as they grow larger and eat more of their host plant.

I modified the manifold out at North Davis Creek this week (above). It wasn’t a particularly difficult task, but I’m always disproportionately proud of things that have tangible results.

Before I could finish watering at North Davis Creek, I had to repair an irrigation line that was accidentally caught in a lawnmower by one of my Yolo RCD friends.

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