Archive for March, 2012

A Facelift and Life! LIFE!!

Buds On One Grapevine Already!

Buds On One Grapevine Already!

I’m here to tell you that I awoke to buds this morning! I planted a stick a mere four days ago. The other stick (yes, there are two sticks) still appears dormant, but my optimism runs high. I think I’m in shock. Yesterday it was a stick. Today it is a stick with life.

Speaking of yesterday…

Caution: Facelift In Progress

Caution: Facelift In Progress

When I got home from work, I discovered that the apartment community-wide facelift had made it to my unit; and my nicely swept balcony had nails and debris strewn all over it.  I’m assuming that’s why “they” were kind enough to provide a caution tape?  It’s not like all the hammering, banging, shouting, and bulldozering is going to compell me to jump or anything.

Good news. The caution tape wasn’t the only thing to arrive yesterday. I received the rack I purchased to organize my closet and I assembled it despite John’s help.  It fit with room to spare.  Solid. Happy I purchased it.

Dome rack assembled

What Closet Clutter?!

So, after a long day, I felt organized and ready to go. With caution, of course.

I think I’m still in shock that this morning I awakened to life. Life! I feared I’d be blogging about sticks for who knows how long, but to witness the buds this morning was very encouraging.

I eagerly await the arrival of my other plants, especially the mystery plant that is not illegal; and I leave you with a picture of the buds going to bed. Dream of wine little buds.

grapevine budding at night

Goodnight, Sweet Buds

Caution: EarthBox container gardening may be habit forming and/or cause shock and euphoria. Growing your own organic fruits and vegetables is fun, delicious, good for you, and good for the environment; and it doesn’t even require a lot of space. (Plus, it saves you money!) In cases of extreme euphoria, please consult your physician immediately.

To Mother Nature,

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Beautiful Day For Zone 7 Container Garden Planning

Heather's Homegrown Pink Seedless Grapes From Gurney's

Pink Seedless Grapes From Gurney's
(And Two Empty EarthBoxes)

So, after last night’s EarthBoxing antics, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping like mad, and apparently remodeling has begun on the unit across the parking lot from mine. I’m sad to report that I showed my kids, Jake and Chuck,  my EarthBox experiment and they were less than blown away by “two sticks stuck in some dirt”.

Undaunted I got to work, sweeping off and rearranging my balcony, which is probably around 40 square feet. I could tell by the direction of the morning sun, I would have to move the EarthBoxes from the side of the balcony (where I placed them last night) to the front of the balcony. It has Southern exposure, so the grapes will get maximum sun exposure in that location, I hope.

Rearranging meant moving my chair, table, and rug to the side of the balcony where I had originally placed the EarthBoxes. It was a bit of a squeeze due to the fact that I have a satellite dish on a tripod competing for space. Everything fit and looked okay. Next thing I know, my big, fat, orange tabby, Chet, is sitting on the table… Staring… Up.

He’d found where all the chirping was coming from.

Heather's Homegrown's Own, Chet, Discovers Mr. & Mrs. Finch's Nest Of Baby Finches

Heather's Homegrown's Own, Chet, Discovers Mr. & Mrs. Finch's Nest of Baby Finches

I can’t remember exactly when Mr. & Mrs. Finch moved in. I do know the fern was still very much alive when they built their nest smack dab in the middle of it. I didn’t water it after that, obviously, and then it went through the Winter. So now, I have a dead fern teaming with a different kind of life adorning my balcony. And, I suppose I will have a dead fern on my balcony until the Finch family flies the coop, but I do intend to give it a little haircut though.

The next thing I do is check the water reservoirs on the EarthBoxes. Interestingly, you cannot over water in an EarthBox. And, that’s a good problem for me not to have. One must simply remain vigilant in keeping water in the reservoir. I intend to check it a couple of times of day. I know I’ll have to water more frequently as Spring progresses in Alabama. It doesn’t take long for things to heat up around here, and it will be a hundred degrees in the shade before long.

Thankfully, there is a storage closet on my balcony, in which I plan to organize my pots, tools, and planting supplies with the help of this rack from Overstock.com.

Dome Baker's Rack from Overstock.com

Dome Baker's Rack from Overstock.com

The closet currently looks like this:

Closet Clutter

Closet Clutter

I expect the rack to arrive early next week. Hopefully, it won’t be too difficult for me to assemble. I may have to enlist the help of my friend, John, in case I need some elbow grease. Even more importantly, I hope it fits. It measures 29 inches wide by 55 inches tall, but I didn’t measure the closet before I ordered it. Hopefully, I guesstimated correctly.

Please stay tuned. Subscribe to my posts and follow me. Because, even though things don’t look too exciting around here presently…

Balcony View From Inside Apartment

Balcony View From Inside Apartment

I have high hopes that thanks to the sun, water, fertilizer, and EarthBox container gardening system, soon my dormant sticks and dirt will be teaming with as much life as my dead fern with a family of finches living in it.

To Mother Earth,

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Ahhh, The Fecundity

EarthBox Container Garden

Assembled EarthBoxes Sans Mulch Covers

At 9pm on a Friday night when many single ladies are out partying, I’m home planting. Why? Not because I’m unpopular (at least I don’t think I am), but because I’ve decided to undertake an endeavor in container gardening – specifically an experiment in “EarthBoxing”.

Why? Because I like to cook and eat healthy food, and buying organic is expensive. Plus, I like to watch things grow, become established, and produce. For me, it’s meditative, rewarding, and a constant reminder of the delicate state that exists between life and death. And too, ever since I was a little girl, I’ve enjoyed digging in the dirt.

The fact is I come from a long line of green-thumbed people. My mother (henceforth referred to as Mum) is from England, where she grew up on a bucolic sheep farm estate . (The sheep were raised for their wool, not flesh.) Mum’s old photographs contain scenes of lavish gardens and peaceful conservatories overflowing with flowers. Although she lives with my Dad in TN now, she still maintains a prolific English garden almost year round.

My father always planted a large garden at the home where I grew up in CT, as well as, many varieties of fruit trees. In fact, one of my fondest memories of childhood was mowing the lawn with my Dad’s Cub Cadet riding mower. (Okay, so maybe I was a little unpopular as a child.) Every time I drove past the peach trees, heavy laden with fruit, I grabbed a peach and gobbled it up before the next lap was over. Thankfully, garden fresh fruits and vegetables were the mainstay of our diets up North in the Summer months.

So, what do I hope to accomplish with this experiment? This endeavor in “EarthBoxing”? I hope to grow things, of course. And, according to the folks at EarthBox, I’ll be able to “G-R-O-W…Grow, Grow, Grow!” They go on to say, “That’s exactly what your plants will do in an EarthBox®! Poor soil conditions and small backyards are no match for the EarthBox®. Now it’s easy to garden anywhere–even on balconies, porches, and rooftops! Anyone can enjoy delicious homegrown veggies, fruits, and herbs grown in an EarthBox®. A sustainable product that uses less water and fertilizer, the EarthBox® will grow bigger and tastier plants faster than a conventional garden–with virtually no effort and zero guesswork! Great results, no matter what color your thumb is.”

Since I live in an apartment, the EarthBox container gardening method seemed the most viable. So, I bought four of them. I did some research as to what grows where I live at this time of year (Birmingham, AL or zone 7) and decided to order two pink seedless grapevines, a dwarf tophat blueberry bush, a few jalapeno plants, a couple of roma tomato plants, and one last type of plant, the identity of which I will disclose in a future post.

I read about the various types of recommended growing media and decided to go with the most readily available. After all, a working single Mom of two active boys doesn’t have time to be running all over town looking for growing media. I ended up purchasing Miracle Gro Organic at my local Target store.

Gurney’s only ships the plants that are ready to be shipped, and I’ve only received the pink seedless grapevines to date. Because they are considered a “tree” (more like a stick) I had to soak the roots for a couple of hours before planting. I filled two EarthBoxes with growing media, as well as, the 7-7-7 fertilizer that came with the EarthBox watering system.

This is where I need your help.

Does anyone even know if I can grow a grapevine in an EarthBox?

A good friend of mine, Dewey, who’s an avid gardener, says no. Gurney’s description doesn’t say either way.  As is my normal way of approaching life, I decided to go for it. One reason is I like to live on the edge. Another is I want to make my own wine. Ultimately, failure is not an option.

If you know the answer to this question, please do leave a comment. And, I thank you in advance.

I hope you’ll come back to read more as I pursue this endeavor in “EarthBoxing”. You’ll at least have to stay tuned to find out what the mystery plant is. I think you’ll be very surprised.

And, no… It’s nothing illegal.

To Mother Earth,

 

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