Gardening and Foraging Goals for 2018

Foraging Goals

1. Learn More

I don't think this goal will ever leave my list.  There is so much to explore in this world that even if I got to live several lifetimes I wouldn't even scratch the surface.  This year I am making it an extra priority to find workshops, books, and other resources.  If anyone reading this has something they find valuable, please let me know in the comments!  I would love to know what has been useful to you.

2. Mushrooms

My plan for this year is to get a good field guide, and head out to find what I know is supposed to be growing in my area.  I have a few ideas of where to start looking, but I am not amazingly confident in my ability to ID.  Thankfully I have a few resources for this, and after getting a field guide I think that will help a lot.  

3. Medicinal Herbs

I know a few already, and have used them to great effect in the few salves I made last year. This year I'd like to know even more, and to make greater use of them.

4. Evergreens

I really loved the taste of the evergreen tips I gathered last year, so I'd like to use them more.  I want to be more confident on my tree identification as well.  I am reasonably sure of a few of them, but I hope to make this more of an area of expertise over the coming year.  You might have noticed so far that a lot of these goals have to do with the first one I said.  "Learning more" might be the theme for the year.  I'd also really like to learn more uses for evergreens than just using their new growth in the spring.  According to Euell Gibbons, the whole of the pine tree is edible, so I'm interested in exploring that more.

5. Fishing

If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you will know that I have terrible luck with fishing.  We have quite a few factors against us, but I'd like to get a few of those out of the way this year.  Maybe we will get some sort of boat.  Or even just getting someone to watch Little Forager more often so we can get out will help.  Also not having a wildfire season like last year would be a big bonus in terms of getting outside.

6. Wild Remedies

I've had great success with the salves, and bath soaks I have made so far with wild remedies such as dandelion, and yarrow.  I want to get to know a few more beneficial "weeds" and really make use of them this year.  

7. Orach

This one should be super easy, since there is SO MUCH of it growing even in just our back yard.  Last year it got away from me, though and I barely used any of it.  It seemed like such a waste at the time, so I want to make a greater effort with using it this year.  My landlord might also be happy about that since it grows so thick in the yard it blocks their access to the kids' play area if they don't stay on top of it!

8. Wild Culinary Herbs

I've been inspired by others who have really got to know the flavours of their terroir, so to speak.  I feel that I don't know what that might be for me, but I am interested to find out.

9. Wild Lettuce

This is another one that is absolutely rampant in my yard and garden.  I didn't realize last year until it was all overgrown and not nice to eat anymore.  This year I want to keep a better eye out and use it when it is young.

10. Wild Staples

This year I am also hoping to get to know some wild foods that could be more of a dietary staple.  It's unlikely that I'll be replacing my wheat flour with acorn meal, but I want to get a better handle on what those foods are, and how to use them to some extent.

Gardening Goals

1. Get a Head Start

This spring my goal is to get working on what I planned, but was financially unable to complete last year.  We have half the structure built for mini poly tunnels over a few of the raised beds, but that's as far as we got.  I am planning to get a jump on the season this year, since where my garden is located is not the most ideal.  It takes a long time for the soil to warm up, so things germinate late, and then when the weather gets really going they often get sunburnt and bolt.  

2. Try Some New Varieties

I don't have a specific plan at the moment, but I am always looking for some new, and interesting plants to try out!  I have my eye on some perennial vegetables to include this year.  Ever heard of perennial cabbage?  I hadn't until last week!  There are so many options and it's really exciting to consider them all!

3. Use the Herb Garden More

I hope that everything survives this winter, and that the plants really take off for me in the spring.  Last year I had to replant almost everything, so that was a disappointment.  I mulched well this year, so hopefully it's all doing well under the snow right now.  I have plans for so much pesto, herbs in my salads and smoothies, and bunches of dried herbs in the fall!

4. Overwinter

I tried to keep a few plants alive by bringing them inside over the winter.  Some have done well, and others didn't make it at all.  My citrus tree is still alive, as are several paprika pepper plants.  I also brought in one Malabar spinach to see if it would survive, and so far so good!  My plan to root tomato cuttings kind of failed, but I think one of the cuttings brought some blight in with it and didn't make it.  I really like these kinds of experiments.  

5. Cabbage and Other Brassicas

I've had very minimal success with these types of plants, so this year I plan to really focus on them.  Maybe this is the year I will be able to grow my own cauliflower!

6. Onions

This is another one that I have had limited success with in the past.  I did put in a patch of bunching onions (perennial) last year and that helped a lot. I really like eating onions, so to have ones I've grown myself would be just so amazing!

7. Jerusalem Artichoke

I really, REALLY love eating these.  Some may jokingly call them "Fartichokes" (and this is a reputation they have well earned), but they are so incredibly delicious.  The reason they give you gas when you aren't used to eating them is because they are actually full of good probiotics, so they are good for your gut health.  They are also a native plant to North America, and I love the idea of cultivating more of these plants in my garden.

8. Squash and Melons

Every year with these I think "this is the year"!  And hopefully this one actually is.  Farmers in the area grow these beautiful squash, melons, and cucumbers, but I have had really bad luck (except with volunteers the past couple years).  I have a few ideas on how to extend my season and get the soil warmer for them.  Hopefully the plants I start this year will thrive!

9. Perennial Vegetables

I love the idea of perennial vegetables.  I have some berry bushes and a rhubarb plant, and it's so much fun to see the harvests get bigger and bigger from them as they get established.  I have been looking into a few options that are not usually just for dessert, though.  I got the idea to look into this when I realized that there were perennial onions (and I got some from a neighbour) so now I am curious to know what other low maintenance, perennial vegetables I can add to my garden.

10. Grow Enough to Give

This was one of my goals from last year that I was successful with.  I think it's another one that I want to keep around since I have enjoyed it so much.  If you missed reading last year's goals, basically many people in my Church bring their excess garden produce to they Church and leave it in the foyer for whoever needs or wants some to take home with them. I have been the beneficiary of this free mini market many times, so last year I wanted to try to contribute something myself.  I was able to bring several bunches of herbs, snd I loved it so much I want to try to be able to bring something every year!