This morning a crust of frost danced over the uncovered raised beds and painted the grass with mercurial shine. The garden sits placid and independent under the chill of winter and it seems a bit easier to carve out those chucks of time to reflect upon the year almost past, and the year that is rushing towards us.
It sounds cheesy, but I firmly believe in goal setting and list making. As in life, so as in the garden: your odds of stumbling into success are a heck of a lot better if you know roughly where your version of success lives.
|Plenty of fresh veggies for February – April|
So, call them goals, call them resolutions, call them a roadmap to my personal definition of gardening success.
This is what I’m planning on working on in the 2012 homesteading season:
- Continuous maturation of broccoli from June – November.
- Work on staggered plantings, particularly for snap peas, beans, cucumbers and zucchini
- Finally figure out how to grow carrots that aren’t destroyed by carrot maggot (Reemay?)
- Take better care of my various berries – including pruning canes at the right time!
- Set up a light-weight, portable fencing system that allows the chickens more directed free-ranging time.
- Set up a light-weight, portable fencing system that allows the toddler more directed free-ranging time.
- Maximize potato yield in minimum square footage.
- Figure-outen die hugelkultur.
- Be a good wife and mom. (I know this isn’t specifically garden-related, but I have to put it in there so Homebrew Husband and our kids don’t get lost in between the spring cabbages and the grape stomp.)
- Help at least three new gardeners start or expand their plantings (in person). Would this be a good giveaway? Would local people be interested in a free consult with me about veggie gardening?
- Keep good notes about 2012 Feb-April harvests with a plan to really figure out how to bridge that leanest of garden times in 2013.
- Go fishing at least three times. If circumstance allows, attempt hunting once.
- Research how to promote blog, figure out how to be a more dynamic and compelling blogger. Convert more people to veggie gardening!
- Make a compost screen. Finally.
- Figure out how to cross-dress apples in a more time-efficient way.
- Demonstrate and post about Backyard Orchard Culture pruning techniques.
- Freeze more side-dishes. Think “side-dish gardening” and remember how nice it is to pull out an already seasoned, frozen romano bean & tomato side-dish to round out a winter meal. It’s easier than harvesting kale in a windstorm, so remember that in May when you are planting!
- Finally figure out how to make really good compost. Invest in infrastructure if necessary.
- Plant and pickle more green beans. Dilly beans = my favorite pickle!
- Limit amount of external produce I put by to reduce stress levels in August and September.
- Rotate, rotate, rotate! Especially the brassicas! I mean it!
- Make grape-based wine.
- Further explore top bar bee-keeping.
- Do not get sucked into goat keeping. You cannot have goats. Fricking deal with it.
- Brainstorm ways to write a book that people actually want to buy and read, have this figured out by next year so writing can start in 2013.
I'd be interested in #10! I've gardened for a few years, but if you'd be willing to hop a ferry, I'd love some help with my new space. I'd bribe you with offers of raw milk from a local farm.
Green Bean says
Yay for "Convert more people to veggie gardening!"
To keep my grocery bill under $1000 for the year… and do what it takes in the garden to make that happen.
Have new 24 ft by 3 ft deep coldframe in place, decomposing at the moment – take full advantage of it for starting transplants, and for greens earlier on. Start my corn in it also.
Now that driveway is in, plant the herb garden between it and the front door walk way. About 12 ft by 4 foot area.
Continue planting fruit trees – add some hardy bananas to the mix. (NW OR coast)
Try patio container planting on the patio for the sun lovers like tomatoes, which I did not even attempt last year. Move eggplants on the patio also.
Stay ahead of the weeds this year – haha!… But THIS year I am retired, so there are NO excuses!!!
Do more canning and dehydrating, and less freezing.
Enjoy life and living 🙂
Sundari Elizabeth says
Don't fight the lure of the goats, Erica — they'll get you eventually. 😉 Add "The Year of the Goat" by Margaret Hathaway and Karl Schatz to your winter reading list. You won't be sorry!
Tanya @ Lovely Greens says
No goats? I bet you can manage it somehow Erica 🙂
A Finn says
I have loads of goals and plans on my blog but they are in Finnish… however – I think your list is awesome and I might copy the points I don't already have on my own list 🙂
Goals for 2012
My overall goal is to be as self sufficient and organic as possible, and to have a garden and a veggie patch that will make you think wtf is going on here. Some of the more specific goals are
* make a hot frame to get (Brassica) seedlings outdoors as soon as possible (horse manure!)
* have tender veggies planted by June: that means raised beds with burning horse manure, floating row covers, plastic tents etc.
* collect material (rotting wood, leaves, greens) to make more hugels on my allotment and in my garden (I made my first this autumn and it looks awesome altho I have no idea if it will work as promised)
* collect loads of green stuff for mulching and fertilisation (no-tilling, no-weeding, no-watering as a goal)
* practice growing japanese/asian veggies and herbs as late summer greens
* find more shade tolerant edible greens for my garden to optimise land use
* grow enough veggies to make 100 % organic home grown fermented veggies (at least 40 litres worth likeq this year, maybe to double it)
* make loads of fruit nectar, canned plums, dried apples and not let them fall on the ground and rot…
* dry and freeze herbs and learn to use them 🙂
* collect wild herbs and make "green powder" (nettles, birch, wild mint, raspberry leaves etc)
* collect amaranth, radish, onion etc seeds for sprouting
* space out crops so that I will have fresh green veggies at least from June to October (kale and brussels sprouts, asian veggies, onion greens, fast crops etc)
* grow loads of broad beans and wax beans and rose beans and sugar peas and freeze some to have some veggie protein in the winter
I am very happy if I reach even one third of the goals, end extremely excited if I reach two thirds 🙂
What need is driving your desire to stagger zuke plantings? Mildew? Continuous harvest?
My favorite approach to summer squash is not to plant any. Instead, I over-plant winter squash and eat some of them at the "baby" stage. If any get past that stage, I let them grow up and become hard winter squash.
Only that's no help if you're dealing with mildew and you need to whack the plants halfway through the summer.
Firefly Mom says
#10 – Yes, please! 🙂
That's a wonderful list!
I have similar goals of working out what to grow over winter, perfecting carrots and corn, pickling cucumbers, making tallow, setting up aquaponics and dreaming of piggies one day….
By the way, I would read your book, I really enjoy they way you write 🙂
Start writing in 2012!!!
We have hugelkultur garden beds. Working well so far, it's been over 12 months and still going OK… but will be spreading them out & putting in more fruit trees in that area in our next Winter, hopefully it's all broken down by then!
I'm working on numbers 2, 14, and 24 myself!
Just discovered your blog and love it. I live in Northern California, not Seattle, but have a small yard and am trying to grow and put up as much of our own food as I can as well.
Crunchy Chicken says
I'd read your book 🙂
Would you be up for posting your fav dilly bean canning recipe, please? Love your blog – inspires my gardening and often cracks me up, too -you get extra bonus points in life for inspiring laughs!
If you have time for it and think others would be interested, I would love a follow-up post on these resolutions. They sound great and I’m curious how they played out this past year. 🙂
This list was sensible until I read number 24 and then I had to laugh.. please go and read the blog written by a dear friend of mine called Debbie.
She started off with 2 female goats.. she now has about 450!
She produces the best, the most glorious, the yummiest award winning cheeses that are to be found and bought and wonderful raw.. non-pasteurised milk with which I make Ricotta.. I live in London and she sells her wonderful produce at The Farmers Markets all over London
http://www.elliesdairy.com is the website
I had a British Saanen Goat when I was very young.. she thought she was a dog. And she was the cutest nicest animal, she would have no ‘truck’ with the Billy so remained ‘a dry goat’ .. go on.. have a Goat..