Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Trip Back Home

RNH and I took an unexpected trip back to his hometown, Aberdeen, NC. While there we spent the majority of our time with his grandparents in Whispering Pines, NC. It was a wonderful time. We sat with them for hours listening to tales of the old and compared chicken stories. I love these people and could hang out with them for days. Its so funny how much a late 20-something girl, and early 30-something guy can have with a couple in their late 80's!!!
While there, we checked out RNH's grandma's biddies. I'm not sure what kind they are, but of course they're adorable! She has about 15 of them, to add to her 15 or so other grown chickens. Grandma's youngest son lives next door and just ordered 30 biddies! Their chickens are getting older and it is time for them to get young ones again! They have a rooster that is the oldest thing I've ever seen. Its hilarious. He gets around just fine but he is old!!!

We also hung out in the fields Grandpa had plowed. We admired all of the work he's done at such an old age! He doesn't do near as much as he used to, but it is still impressive!

RNH and I hung out with him around the grape vines he has growing. He has had Concord and Scuppernong grapes for decades now. He is rooting one of the vines for us to be able to plant at our home. I can't wait for that! I love having something that is meaningful and historic to the family.

Speaking of that, RNH's grandma will be giving us a sprig of a rosebush that has been in the family for over 90 years! Her father gave it to her mother when they moved into their first home. They took the rose bush with them when they moved, and it has been with them ever since. I can't wait to plant it at our house!

Our trip was short, but it was very nice. RNH's grandpa means a lot to him and he seems to be deteriorating very quickly. I think he made some nice memories with this grandpa that he'll have with him the rest of his life. (It also helps when you have a crazy-picture-taker for a wife! I got a ton of good pictures of the two men-being-men. They'll look great as black & whites.) These will be memories to tresure!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cukes and Cuke Trellis

We planted Marketmore 76 Cucumbers for making dill pickles, and Burpee's Hybrid II for eating, all over Easter weekend. This year we did not try planting them in hills because last year it didn't seem to make a difference at all. We just used flat ground and put about 4 seeds every 36 inches. Now that they are growing tall, I know I need to thin them out, but I have no clue how far apart each plant should be. I wrote down in my gardening journal that they need at least 10" between each plant. I'm not sure where I got that information, but I guess I'll follow it! It seems like everything I read talks about the hills, and how many plants per hill. But this is all too much to try and convert it to flat ground. I guess I'll try the 10 inches this year and see if it works!
I'll probably thin out the plants after the next rain. I'm not sure if this is bad to do or not, since you're not supposed to work a garden when its wet. I guess as long as I just thin out the cucumbers and nothing else, it will be okay and disease will (hopefully!) not be spread! We'll see!

Since I knew I'd be busy with other things, I decided to go ahead and build a cucumber trellis. My rows are 10 feet long, but I could not find a piece of wood that would be long enough to cover a row. I brought home a few 8x2x1 pieces (I think these measurements are right... sorry if they're not!) Anyways- I figured the plants at the end of the trellis will be able to grow on the ground since the other plants will hopefully be climbing the trellis!
I created an 8 foot long rectangle and put a few center pieces in for support. I then staple-gunned garden netting to the huge rectangle. I thought about using wire or something a bit more heavy-duty than garden netting, but I kept imagining the cucumbers having a "grilled" look on them, as if the wire will cut into the fruit or something. I'm hoping the garden netting will be sturdy enough.
The trellis will be placed outside the garden. One row of cucumbers is on the outer-most row in the garden. These fruits will be able to climb up and out of the garden on the trellis. The next row in, is another set of cucumbers. These cucumbers don't get a trellis, but I'm hoping they'll have double the room to grow since the outer-most row will be growing outside the garden. We'll see if it works!

The Little Vineyard

I went to Lowes to return something and as I walked in the door, I noticed several bins outside the front door. They were small burlap sacks of grapes, usually $10, marked down to $1. For a dollar, you got two grape plants. Y'all know I can't pass up that kind of deal! I purchased 6 Niagra grape plants and brought them home. They weren't our beloved muscadine variteties, but I figured this would do just fine to start us off.

With that, RNH and I built a little "vineyard." I'm using the term "vineyard" very, very loosely. But its fun and I'm excited!

The dog ended up chewing up one of the plants, so we really only planted 5 grapes. They're not looking all that well, but they had to have been marked down for a reason! Whatever plants don't grow, we'll just replace with a muscadine vine. No biggie!
We planted them 8 feet apart with 6.5x3.5 round posts in between the plants. We ran a sturdy wire between each post along the bottom and top of the posts for support as they grow. We also decided put the posts along the natural curve of our yard for maximum use of the space, and to ensure the grapes get as much sunlight as possible. I like the way it looks, instead of being a straight row. We're already talking about putting in another row, and extending the row we just created! I can't wait til they start producing!!! While we were putting up the posts, our neighbor came over on his tractor and we got to talking. Which eventually led to me filling up a cooler full of beer, ordering pizza, and starting a bonfire. My neighbor was joking about how redneck we were- but there is nothing like hanging out around a bonfire on an almost-summer night!!!

(My neighbor leaving on his tractor.)