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Denise Massey

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since Mar 09, 2018
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food preservation fiber arts homestead
For my urban homestead I grow veggies, herbs and pears. Make teas, tinctures and preserves. And practice other traditional skills. When I have the time, I enjoy working in my small home studio creating pastels and watercolor paintings. Much of my artwork centers around homestead happenings. You can follow my "art almanac" at
USDA Zone 8a, Middle Georgia
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Recent posts by Denise Massey

I'm a novice at canning.  Actually I just finished my second canning project.  Followed the advice on this youtube channel and my chicken turned out well.
1 year ago

S Bengi wrote:I dont think you have to be too worried about the contaminants in concrete blocks. Also you are in Georgia that gets alot of water so you don't really need the wicking bed setup.

Thanks for the input!  Just a couple of notes.
1. I want to use the Hugel base as a filler so I will not have to purchase so much compost.  The Hugel will be more beneficial to the plants than rocks.  
2. Georgia has been having the worst drought and heat-wave conditions for the past few summers.  Mmmm...can we say "Climate Change"?  

Just to add - Husband is worried that the soil will leak out without a liner.  Now the blocks solid side faces the soil.  Maybe this will help and I can go without the liner??
1 year ago
Hi! I'm a urban gardener.  I am building a raised bed out of old concrete blocks on my back patio.  The bed will be 22" high.  The actual growing space is long and narrow (7'x 15").  First, I will be using heavy plastic sheeting as a liner to prevent possible chemicals inside the blocks from leaking into the soil.  Then I want to use hugel-type filler before adding the soil for planting.  Since both the hugel and plastic are known for retaining water, AND this is all built inside basically a large concrete planter ...

MY QUESTION: Will this type of raised bed cause root problems in my plants?  Will it be too much water retention going on?  Would it help to leave out to plastic sheeting?

BTW: I've read the great posts by Daron Williams on building different types of hugels and the thread Hugel Bed on Concrete.  But I could not find what I needed.  Thanks in advance for the helpful advice!
1 year ago
William Schelegal the only constant problems I have with my tomatoes are intense summer heat and the dreaded tomato horn worm.  
1 year ago
Has anyone successfully grown tomatoes from seed saved from purchased ORGANIC tomatoes?  I'm emphasizing ORGANIC because I have read lots about the downside of using treated grocery store produce for saving seed.  But I have not yet read anything about successful yields using ORGANIC produce.  
Thanks in advance for any helpful tips!
1 year ago

Judith Browning wrote:

Do you have fans? I think by afternoon our house is into the eighties and we joke about those days that are three and four shower days...just cold water and no soap is so refreshing.  Soon I would like to have an outdoor shower like we've had other places we've lived...being able to cool down makes a huge difference in what one can accomplish over the summer in the south...

Yes fans certainly help!  Especially since the house's air-conditioning unit went out this past May.  So now we have two small window units.  But our house still registers middle 80s before noon.  I cool down using refreshing rainwater kept in a large pot under the bathroom sink - My secret stash!  
1 year ago

One of your tasks is watering your patio plants.  I do this too.  I fill a watering can from the rain barrels and go to each container individually.  They all have a bit of mulch (some more than others) but most of them still need watering every single day.  Even if I was dragging the hose around, I'd still have to do them one at a time.  There must be a more efficient/time saving way to do this!  I'm going to research and think about it (I'll take suggestions but can't implement anything that isn't free).

Hi Galadriel!  
I agree the watering those containers is definitely time consuming.  At times I'll use the garden hose.  But the plants seem to do better with rain water - so its me and the watering can!  Maybe you can start a thread on this topic.  I would love to know a better way too!  

1 year ago
Salut Judith!  J'apprends le francais aussi!
I guess you can say I'm learning French and Permaculture!  But back to the topic -  I like the way you intertwine your permie's morning routine with other aspects of your life.   I guess that is part of being a permie - its a mindset for daily living.
1 year ago
["A few weeds don't get pulled, projects don't advance as quickly as I might like - but I don't get heatstroke or make myself miserable, either, and that probably helps me to stick to it in the long run"]

Thanks Artie!  I do want to stick to homesteading.  I really enjoy this more thoughtful way of living.
The message I'm getting from y'all is PRIORITIZE and stay flexible in your routine.  
So... I don't have to try to do it all?  Everyday?  Perfectly?  YAY!

Thanks for the encouragement everyone!

P.S. Glad y'all like my art!  Its a homesteading perk!
1 year ago
Hey y'all!  I live on a small urban homestead in Georgia.   Today's  forecast high temperature is 100.  Ah-July in Georgia!   With this in mind, I was more thorough in this morning"s homesteading chores.

Filtered and boiled previously harvested rainwater for personal care.  (No rain in today's forecast!)
Watered ground garden
Watered and added mulch to my patio garden
Filled bird baths and feeders
Checked my 5-gallon bucket worm bin's temperature, added ice.  The bin was already at 78 degrees at 7am - inside the house!  Ah- July in Georgia!
Jotted down brief record keeping notes.

For a healthier, thriving homestead, I should be this thorough daily.  Especially the record-keeping bit!  However, these simple tasks took me more than 1 hour.  So I'm frustrated.   I'm still tired from the more intense yard-work and gardening chores of yesterday.  Or maybe I'm just just hot and hungry.  
Nevertheless the time spent got me thinking about other urban homesteaders.  How thorough are you in your daily upkeep of the homestead?  How long does it take?   I understand your answers depend on the size and scope of your urban homestead.  
Encouragement needed.  So thanks in advance for your thoughtful  replies.

1 year ago