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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.

Enjoy!

To Mother Earth,

Heather's Homegrown Signature

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Drinking & Staking: Just Say NO

Apparently, the elation of Oakstone’s victory at the cook-off, coupled with the excitement of my successful and tasty first batch of home-brew, prompted me to have one too many West Coast Pale Ales?!

Case in point, staking system number two — the one on the left. 😦

EarthBox Staking Systems

The Left Is Wrong, The Right Is Right

I take this personally and hold only myself accountable. Jake bailed on helping me for the evening before I added the netting to the second one. I have only myself to blame. For the life of me, I couldn’t get the netting to fit. It’s like it didn’t stretch all the way across! The netting is rectangular in shape so there’s only one way it can go.

So, I asked Jake, “What did we do on the first one that I didn’t do on the second one?!”

He said, rather glibly, “You didn’t start it right.”

“Jake, there was nothing I could do. It didn’t fit.”

He scoffed, “Yeah! Because you didn’t start it right!”

Uh huhhh…. Whatever. I surely did enjoy those West Coast Pale Ales. Oh, and that reminds me… HeatherJ, I’m going to post about the process for your brother-in-law. I thank you for your interest!!

It’s a beautiful day so we decide to walk over to the office to see if the replacement for the “dead” grape has arrived yet, and then hit some tennis balls.  That will cheer me up. I cannot be deterred by a little faulty netting — although self-doubt is trying to creep its way into the corners of my psyche. I know I gave it my all last night. That netting didn’t fit!

We stop to appreciate the sunlight cast across the lily pads in the fish pond next to the office and all of its surrounding beauty.

lily pads on the fish pond

Lily Pads On An Ornamental Fish Pond
Birmingham, AL

Anyway, I know it’s Sunday, but I’m hoping there may be someone different in the office who can locate the replacement grape from Gurney’s. There is. According to the pink slip in my mailbox, it was delivered via USPS on Friday and was left with the office manager. However, when this new person looks, she can’t find it either. She said that she accepted the packages Friday, but doesn’t remember one for me. She advised checking back tomorrow. Another strike. Okie dokie then.

Hitting tennis balls with Jake was great, and always as I hoped it would progress. We can actually have a rally now! Before I know it, he’ll be acing me on his serve, little bugger. It’s amazing how quickly little boys become big boys, and how much we love ’em along the way.

So, at the end of the day, I feel better about the staking system. In the grand scheme of things, it’s really not that important.

To Mother Earth,

Heather's Homegrown Signature

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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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