Gardening Goals for 2017
As part of my garden planning this year I wrote out a few goals for the coming season. I've done this before, but I always kept them to myself. When no one knows your goals it is easy to ignore them and not work as hard as you would if there was someone keeping you accountable. This year I decided to share my gardening and foraging goals here as a way of doing that. Some things were very successful for me last year. For example: I managed to grow and forage a minimum of 5 kilos of food for my family each month last year. I also gave myself a lot of grace as it was my first season gardening with a baby. This year I plan to work harder and continue my quest to provide as much food as I can by myself, and hopefully rely less and less on the grocery store.
Are you making goals for yourself this season? Please share them in the comments! I would love to be inspired by some of the things you want to tackle and to be able to encourage each other during all the hard work that is ahead!
I think this is on my list every season, but I do feel that each time I make an effort I learn more and get a better result. So far my best tomato harvest has been 3.5 kilos of green ones at the end of last season! This year I am really focused on getting the tomatoes started on time, and really hoping that the weather cooperates (it didn't last summer) for the perfect tomato season!
2. PEPPERS FOR DRYING
This goal has been on my radar before, but again it is something that I haven't really had any success with. I love using paprika in cooking, so I would dearly love to grow my own peppers to dry and make my own! I am excited to give this another shot this year.
3. DRY BEANS
I usually grow a few types of beans in my garden, and have at least a decent success, but I really want to grow enough dry beans this year that I don't have to buy any. This may not be possible with the space that I have available, but I am going to do my best!
4. HOOP HOUSES/COLD FRAMES/POLYTUNNELS
A big part of my plan this year includes using as many season extending tricks as I can. The light I get is basically the bare minimum required for growing fruits and vegetables, so anything I can do to get things in the ground early is a huge help.
We planted a few of the raise beds with winter wheat this past fall, and I had a decent success letting buckwheat go to seed last year and grinding it for flour, so I would like to continue experimenting with small scale grain planting. With the space we have I am not ever going to get an amazing harvest, but anything that reduces my dependency on the supermarket is a good thing.
6. GROW (AND EAT) MORE LEAFY GREENS
I usually plant some salad greens because I feel like I am supposed to, but I never really make much of an effort. Usually it bolts before I pick any since we don't tend to eat a lot of salads. Beet greens have been the best for us since even if we don't use the greens we will for sure use the roots. Along with everyone else I feel like I should be eating more kale (especially since I actually like it!) and chard, and other dark leafy things that are full of vitamins and fibre. Now that I have a Vitamix, I can make green smoothies that are actually smooth, and not sludge filled with stringy bits.
7. SAVE MORE SEEDS
This has been a priority for me for the past few years, and I have had some - albeit limited - success. Some things (I'm looking at you, promiscuous melons, corn, and squash) will probably never work out for me in this little garden of mine, but there are other things that do work. I think beans, peas, and tomatoes should be possible. I also did well with my buckwheat last season. I don't think I'll ever be able to completely accomplish the dream of never having to buy seed, but at least I can take some steps in that direction. I also make it a priority to support those suppliers that do make an effort to grow heritage and open pollinated varieties.
8. BEEF UP THE HERB GARDEN
We put in a few beds dedicated to various herbs last year, and now that it is established I want to make it really healthy and strong this year. I think this might be one of the areas where I could possibly accomplish my #10 goal. I will probably also be adding a few more herbs this year.
9. TRY SOMETHING NEW
I have my eye on a few new things this year. I'm thinking sorghum (to render into syrup), and maybe strawberry spinach.
10. GROW ENOUGH TO GIVE
Every summer it seems like everyone around me is blessed with abundance. We are too, but in the garden I am still learning and so I haven't reaped any bumper crops as of yet. In the late summer it seems like almost every Sunday in the foyer at church there is a big box of tomatoes, zucchini, plums, or apples with a sign saying 'please take some'! I would like to be one of the contributors next year, since I have been blessed many times by others' generosity.