Posts Tagged plants

OMG (Oh, My Grape)! Me Thinks There Is Life In There

Well, my bébés survived the cold. Thank you, Mother Earth.

I don’t think it ever got below 43 degrees, and it was back in the 70s the next day and sunny. I received  confirmation that Gurney’s shipped the replacement for “The Stick,” and  Murphy’s Law: The day after that, what to my wondering eyes should appear? Buds. At least, I think they’re buds. It may just be wishful thinking on my part.

The stevia plant is definitely a goner.

early plantings

Can It Be? Is "The Stick" (gulp) Budding?!

I guess only time will tell.  In the meantime, you tell me. Feel free to leave me a comment. Does this look life-bearing to you? Here’s a close-up:

grape buds

LIFE?!

Perhaps planting it almost directly in the fertilizer didn’t burn it’s roots? Perhaps it is viable after all?! Gurney’s, I apologize; I’m pretty sure I owe you one.

In the meantime, I’m going to go check out the definition of self-pollination.  I know what pollination is, of course, and cross-pollination, but not self-pollination. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. Sounds kinda kinky!  😉

To Mother Earth,

Heather's Homegrown Signature

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The Librarian Who Couldn’t Read

There once was a librarian who couldn’t read. And, because she couldn’t read she made an egregious  error – not once, or twice, but three times. Me thinks she couldn’t see the forest for the trees, poor thing. What I do know is this. She owes Gurney’s a HUGE thank you for being so great about replacing the grape and stevia that bit the dirt. And, she should thank her lucky stars that there are any signs of life on her balcony at all.

I’m not beating myself up [as I’ve already forgiven myself] for my major faux pas, but I really am lucky. I planted the plants directly in the fertilizer! I know better than that! What’s worse is I experienced that same brain fart not once, but thrice. I know! It was the euphoria of EarthBox container gardening that got to me. I really do think so.

The last steps when setting up your container garden are to 1) plant the plants and 2) add the last batch of moist growing media, creating a 2-inch mound on the top of the box. Before you plant the plants, you have to decide where to put the fertilizer. I followed the directions and placed it as pictured on the EarthBox diagram – in a trough straight down the center.  It wasn’t until I planted the tomato and pepper plants that I realized my mistake. Since they are smaller and there are more of them, it’s okay to put the fertilizer down the middle because the plants go around the edges of the box. For the first three boxes, I planted the plants straight on top of the fertilizer trough, which had been filled in with a dirt. But still — OUCH. And, I can’t blame the instructions. They were fine.

No wonder “The Stick” of grape springest forth no life,  and the puny, half dead stevia plant bit the dirt altogether. Turns out, most likely, the dirt bit the plant. So, Gurney’s, thank you for your patience and understanding as I get the hang of this EarthBoxing thang.

After planting the tomatoes and jalapenos, I had to race off to my eldest son’s baseball game. No time for pics even. While at the ballpark, I felt a marked dip in the temperature. I didn’t have a jacket and it got downright chilly. Driving home, I heard on the radio it’s supposed to get down into the 30s tonight.

Oh, now, that’s just lovely.

frost covers for plants

Brrrr! Warm dreams, Bébés.

To Mother Earth,

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Wanted: Alive or Alive

Does this look right to you?!

dead stevia

(From Right To Left) Sweet Live Stevia, "The Stick", and Bitter Dead Stevia

Okay, so I’m pretty sure even Step #6 in the Gurney’s Grow It Guide (a.k.a. “Keep watering!”) won’t help this one:

Dead stevia plant

Bring Out Yer Dead!

Sadly, this little guy came out of the box like that. I don’t even know why I bothered to plant it. I guess that’s  my optimistic nature. Fortunately, I sent Gurney’s a picture  and the next thing I know, I receive an email confirming shipment of a new stevia plant. I didn’t even have to ask them to. Good ol’ Gurney’s! You guys got my vote! So, there’s a new grape and a new stevia en route as I write this post.

It’s probably advantageous that I rethink the plant placement this time around as I purchased a few staking systems when I bought the EarthBoxes and it will most likely be better if I have the grapes planted together in the same box. But, of course, who am I to know? This is experimental gardening. Educated guess gardening.

So, that’s where I stand at the moment. Stay tuned because the Roma tomato and Popper Whopper jalapeno plants will be arriving any second now. 🙂

To Mother Earth,

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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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