About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

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Just give me Thyme

March 9, 2019

Time passes and things we do take time if we want to do it right.  If we have a vision of something we want we can take steps towards achieving that.

It can be anything because we are all different.  I have a vision of a lovely garden that provides us food.  Each year we add new things to get to that place we feel is right and manageable. Gardening in a small space means we need to max out our space but leave enough space for a peaceful flow.

Doing the work ourselves is hard.  I took on a project this year to bust out a cement and brick patio.  It was put in 40 years ago and tree roots made it uneven then cement covered the bricks and it helped for awhile but it is a tripping hazard and as we are getting older that is not a good thing.

I decided to take this one on myself, to tear out the old patio one brick at a time. After the first 4 bricks I told myself this was probably not a good idea but I kept talking to myself and decided this is only pain that would stop when I finished, not pain that would not go away.  So with a large sledge hammer to make the cement crack, several pairs of gloves, a small sledge hammer and a chisel, a crowbar I went to work. One brick at a time. It took quite a bit of time to stand up after a session of sitting on my short stool prying up cement.

This quickly became the most un-fun job I have ever done, well almost the most un-fun job.

I decided to do this at the same time I was organizing the kitchen cabinets, going up and down a ladder. Well they were both different muscle requirements so I can say that a bit of medicinal drink was required a couple of times, of course after getting off the ladder. I didn't mind the organizing job.

I almost finished the cabinets... but the garden called...

Where you see brick is where it is ready now to remove the stones. The cement past this is where the cement has to be busted and chiseled off. I must get this finished before hot weather.

I created a trip hazard so after removing a section of bricks I added mulch to level off the surface until it is all finished. Since we are not paying someone to do this job I felt we could afford the mulch to keep from having to pay thousand dollars for medical care from a fall.

Then the real misery came. The freeze threat.  Three days while Charles was out of town I covered and uncovered everything. He helped when he could. The lemon tree is under that large plastic covered  frame that Charles built. The hard part is each day it had to be uncovered and covered back late afternoon so the bees could come in and pollinate.  This is just a little reminder that when we protect fruits and vegetables we have to remember to leave some kind of way that the bees can get to them for pollination. This may require a lot of work on our part.  I could have just done nothing but I figured if I could I would. 

The lemon tree survived as it was in full bloom, the bees returned, Yay! and all the covers came off.

The azaleas are just beautiful this year.  I was so happy that the blooms did not die when it dropped below freezing.

Now while we are trying to be ready for spring and plant and me break up a patio and Charles and I wanting a whimsical yard, we are binging all over the place.

The last bit of hurricane Michael damage is still not repaired and we keep saying when we finish the other things we will work in this area and we will but not now.

We are too busy pulling weeds and mulching paths...

Cutting grass and doing laundry... Garden pots in waiting...

And deciding where the other cattle panels are going so we can grow vegetables vertically.

Ok Pause,,,,,,, Isn't this calming.... refreshing... These sprigs of dill that I pruned because it is trying to bolt and go to seed.... If you could just smell the dill. I love growing dill and cilantro and thyme, mint.......... I love growing herbs. :)

So I took down one of the rug bars and Charles added a shirt hanger bar on the side of the clothesline for me. This is better.  In the background you may notice that the potting shed and the shed are slowly getting new siding as Charles is doing this in sections a little at a time.

We decided the right places to put up the cattle panel trellis to grow the indeterminate tomatoes. There are determinate and indeterminate tomatoes, I like to grow the indeterminate tomatoes because they harvest for a long period of time. However they require more space for them to trellis or need to be staked, they can get very tall.

And the cantaloupe.. I just found out when studying my garden book where I went wrong last year growing the cantaloupe. I have been studying up on companion planting and found that cucumbers and cantaloupe are not friends.  Last year I planted the cantaloupe and the cucumbers together and it was a terrible growing year for them and I blamed the hot sun.  I will do this different this year and see what happens.  We normally have no issues growing cucumbers so I feel this was the problem. 

This is the arbor that the cucumbers will grow over. If you notice that we are using a lot more metal now since after years of growing food in our small yard and having rotting wood since we did not use treated lumber we are switching to what will last for us.  I have tried growing cucumbers with other vegetables but do not advise it because the cucumbers will grab hold and can choke out other vegetables as they wrap around them. So this year this trellis is for cucumbers only.  The hanging pots are just temporary because we are waiting to put in a new post to hang them.

We are getting our cattle panels from tractor supply and our metal poles from Lowes.

One of our whimsy corners...

This is how the beans, melons etc will grow the trellis.

I found my copper thyme hanger that I made so I will be planting another type of thyme in this pot to add to our variety of thyme.

I grow peppermint, chocolate mint, spearmint in containers and have managed to keep them from going dormant this winter by taking them into our greenhouse.  We went to the nursery today to pick up some chicken manure and found a strawberry mint!  I am so excited! 

The carrots are doing well this year...

The garlic has been yellowing a bit so I pulled one to see what stage it is...

It is too early and not bulbing so I added a side dressing.

I took some compost that we made using kitchen scraps and leaves...

mixed in a little organic store bought soil because we did not make enough compost to fill everything so we are mixing it.

Some organic food to that...

And added it to the soil under the garlic leaves. I then watered it in. We will see how this does later.

I had to take a break from posting because there has been so much to do. This is what we have been up to the last couple of weeks...

Oh, we moved our grow frames with wire off the patio onto another area.  There are certain vegetables we have to grow in cages or the squirrels, chipmunks and other critters will eat them.

Little by little it is getting there, I feel this is important to be able to grow our food. Each spring for the last several years we add a fruit tree to our yard. We are about full now since today we purchased two apple trees.

We now have two plums, two peach, two pear, one fig, one lemon, two satsuma, three mulberry and now two apple trees. We also have two pecan trees.  So this is a lot of permaculture for the yard. To make it all work, we must keep our trees pruned and fed.  The fruits come ready for harvest at different times of the year.  Many of the fruit trees need a pollinator tree so if you purchase a fruit tree you need to look to see if it needs a mate for pollination and normally it is best (my understanding) to have a different type. Today we purchased a Anna apple and a Ein, Shermer apple. The tag recommended what type of pollinator was compatible and should grow well in our growing zone. 

I almost forgot to post this picture, I was asked about it. This is how I am storing our cast iron cookware. This rack that slides out we purchased at Lowes.

So this is what I have been up to, I hope that something we are doing in our yard and garden you find helpful.  At this time in March, our fall plants we planted in October and November are getting close to harvest. Our lettuce did well until the cold and heat were way off with very low temperatures then very hot and the lettuce started bolting so we harvested quickly and had to compost some of it.  We now have a more manageable amount. We are harvesting carrots little by little and I have some more carrots planted that are emerging.

We are making a sign for this post and it is going to say, my bucket list. Which has actually been on my bucket list because I wanted a post with buckets to catch rain water. :)

I am finally getting a handle on the onions as my goal is to try and grow onions all year around.  So I fall planted onions which can be harvested as spring onions most any time, I am  planting the onions at different times, (succession planting). This requires extra space so I am using different types of containers. I like being able to go out and pull onions at most any time.  I can either let it bulb or pull it as a spring onion (without a bulb).  They are good either way.  

Just a reminder.... We keep water outside at times such as this is our birdbath water pitcher. It stays on the front porch so when Charles leaves out in the morning he pours the water in the birdbath and I will refill it later. It is water waiting for use and I always keep a stick in here in case some small creature falls in. I do the same thing for the garden cattle tanks we are using for grow tanks because the sides are slippery. I keep a stick so the small creatures can escape if needed or 5 gallon empty buckets. 

The red cabbages are just starting to get little twisted heads starting in the center. I have planted scallions and they are starting to emerge. I early planted some bell peppers and lost three of them in this last freeze but have more.  I have different stages of tomatoes waiting to go out to the garden when I feel it is safe. I did put two out and they got a little bit of cold damage. I planted some early cucumber and radishes and squash and covered them with hay through the cold and they made it so far but am very cautious.

The thyme and the parsley has grown all winter despite the cold weather.  We have harvested all the turnip roots but I will plant more.  So this is about it for now. I know many of you are still having snow and some of you are having very hot weather, we all live in different places but I am finding there is most always something that will grow.   Grandma Donna.

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