Posts Tagged Holidays

There Once Was A Cucumber That Fell In Love With A Grape

cucumber and grapevine

There Once Was A Cucumber
That Fell In Love With A Grape

None of the other EarthBox plants could blame it. The grape was a pink seedless RELIABLE grape from Gurney’s. And, man, was it reliable! So reliable, in fact, it nearly quadrupled in size in just a few weeks. Yes, that fast!

How do I know it’s LOVE?

Well, cucumber has wrapped its dainty (but powerful) spiraling tendrils around grape’s straight, purposeful shoots; and grape has leaned its lovely, delicate vine toward cucumber, exposing its new growth in adulation.

cucumber tendrils and grapevine

Cucumber And Grape In The Garden Of Love

I’m praying this is the compatible, nurturing kind of love; not the sick, choking, sleeping-with-the-enemy kind. But, if you know me by now, you know I usually err on the sunny side; and like every other potential obstacle in this experiment in EarthBox container gardening that I believed would result in something positive, I believe this union will result in the healthy and mutually beneficial relationship between two different types of plants known as companion gardening —  I believe they will help each other grow. And, that’s a very cool and beautiful thing.

The grape planted with the stevia (formerly known as “The Stick”) is not doing nearly as well, but it’s thriving nonetheless and I have no concern for it doing otherwise. In fact, all of the plants are thriving, almost as if they’re happy for cucumber and grape (there is no room for jealousy in this garden); and they’re turning their eager faces to the sun and reaching a bit higher for the sky every day.

new additions to the earthbox container garden

EarthBox Container Garden Plants
“Grow, Grow, Growing!”

You may be asking yourself how cucumber and grape came to arrive at “first base” in the first place as I had not planted cucumbers initially. And, you also may notice some additional plants in the picture above as well. That’s because there are.

On Mother’s Day weekend, Christine, the boys, and I left our apartment (still undergoing a facelift), and hit the road up to the home of my parental units in Tennessee. Their home is just over the Tennessee/Alabama State line, not far from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. (If you’ve never been there, it’s definitely worth the trip!)

brown trim paint

“The Crib” A La New Color Scheme

It was an easy and uneventful ride up and a lovely visit overall. We went to church on Mother’s Day and afterward Mum took me to Plant City in Fayetteville, Tennessee (pronounced Plant See-dee in Fayetteville, Tennessee) to get me something for Mother’s Day. An avid gardener herself, she supports Heather’s Homegrown despite her skepticism over the grapes.

I told her I wanted a strawberry pot for Mother’s Day because I read that consuming strawberries is beneficial for reducing stress and therefore stress-induced inflammation, which I have a tendency to suffer from particularly during stressful times when they happen on this third rock from the sun. Plus, my youngest can eat his weight in strawberries.

Additionally, I got a basil plant and a rhubarb plant — and from the 50% off “dead pile” no less.

I’ve been entertaining the notion of making a strawberry-rhubarb pie for my Dad because he is forever pleading fervently, “Please! I just want one fruit pie like Mum [his Mum] used to make. Can’t I just have one fruit pie?”

rhubarb growing in an earthbox container garden

Rhubarb (Planted With Tomatoes):
Just For You, Dad

I got the basil because I like to eat it in salads and make pesto with it. Plus, basil possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antibacterial properties so it offers many health benefits.

basil growing in an earthbox container garden

Basil Springing Back To Life In An EarthBox

That’s when I saw the cucumber plants for a whopping $1.50 each.

I explained to Mum that I had been reading that cucumbers, which we used to grow on the ground in Connecticut, actually prefer growing up trellises. If you think about it, with all over sunlight exposure the hanging cucumber doesn’t end up with one side of it underdeveloped and yellow (or even rotten) from laying directly on the ground.

I explained companion gardening and told her I had read that cucumbers like growing up cornstalks. Not having planted corn, I told her “just for kicks,” I was going to plant them with the grapes and simply… see what happens.

Being a ‘Go for it!’ kind of gal, Mum advised accordingly. Either that, or she truly has no hope for the grapes!

So, that’s how we got where we are today — with love blooming on the balcony. I pray cucumber and grape remain a happy, healthy couple of companions, and not so much like this couple on the Mother’s Day edition of Saturday Night Live featuring Will Ferrell.

Hopefully, this couple will be in a healthier place soon.


To Mother Earth,

Heather's Homegrown Signature

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Stake and Ale

So me and Jake drove home from the Girls, Inc. 2nd Annual Cajun Cook-off, weary…

cajun cook-off 2nd place judges choice with Crawfish & Shrimp Po'Boy

Oakstone Publishing MudBuggers, 2nd Place, Judges Choice – Crawfish & Shrimp Po’ Boys

..but WINNING.

It just goes to show what good, hard work, perseverance, and a positive attitude will get you. Now, it’s on to the next event. Thankfully, we can stay home for this one because we’re tired, thirsty, and in need of refreshment.

Much to my delight and wonderment, at the end of my last post, I left you with this:


Life 🙂

I had convinced myself it was dead.

So, with Gurney’s replacement (thanks again Gurney’s), I’ll now have three grapevines growing. Surely, that’ll be enough to make wine? Oh, which reminds me… I have a naysayer. Hard to believe, I know.

Of all people, Mum read my blog and chuckled incredulously at the prospect of me growing grapes in a box on my balcony.

She laughed, “Grapes take three years to get established. And even then, you have to grow them in the ground!”

She elaborated, “Don’t you remember when Martin chopped down one of the grapevines when we lived in Connecticut? And, how upset we were?!”

Seven years my senior, Martin is my brother and only sibling. I remembered.

The pitch rising in her voice, she explained, “We couldn’t figure out how he did it?! He was using the push mower for goodness sake!”

Apparently, my parents deduced that he blatantly and egregiously committed herbicide so he could get out of mowing the lawn henceforth.

Yeah. That sounds about right.

Undaunted (and a firm believer in miracles), I sensed it was time to assemble and install the EarthBox staking systems in the boxes containing the grapes. In fact, I sensed “The Stick” would be teaming with life before long and growing, growing, growing. Might as well get her started right, growing up the staking system.

But, first? Thirst.

I am thrilled to announce that I twisted the cap off my first ever batch of home-brewed beer that fine day! It took a month from start to finish, and I had been dying to see if it was carbonated, and how it tasted.

pouring beer

Pouring: West Coast Pale Ale

Nice pour. Good head. Lovin’ the bubbles.

west coast pale ale

Admiring: West Coast Pale Ale
My first bottle of homebrew ever!!

OMG, it was Heaven in a glass. And not just because I was “starving of thirst,” as my youngest, Chuck, would say. And not just because I’d made it myself, although that did give me a huge feeling of accomplishment. It really tasted great! Please leave a comment if you are interested in knowing how to do this yourself, and I’ll blog about it. After this batch, I’m going to make a batch of Bewitched Red Ale. Just so you know, one batch produces 8 – 1.5 liter bottles.

So, I sipped my beer, read the instructions, assembled away like an eager beaver, and completed the first staking system — one down, one to go. I think I may have made a mistake in the top part of the assembly, but it worked nevertheless, so I rolled with it (plus, I couldn’t get the pieces apart again — Doh!)

assembled EarthBox staking system

EarthBox Staking System Assembled
(Somewhat Properly)

Good job, Heather’s Homegrown! Grow little grapes! Grow like there’s no tomorrow! And, now it’s on to staking system number two.

But, first? I think I deserve another beer for a job well done. Maybe two…  😛

To Mother Earth,

Heather's Homegrown Signature

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