As promised, here’s my list of goals for 2013 on the homestead.
Plant more fruit – Last year, I started planting the fruit trees for the orchard. I also planted some raspberries. This year I will expand my fruit production. I currently have 2 types of apples, 2 types of sweet cherries, 2 types of tart cherries and 2 types of almonds. My next trees will likely be Asian and European pears. After that, I want some peaches, plums and more apples. I’ve also been looking into pomegranate trees, I found that some grow into zone 5. I may order a couple of those to add to the orchard. In addition to trees, I plan on planting more cane fruit. I will likely plant more raspberries, but will add blackberries to the yard. I have a whole list of various fruits that I want to eventually grow, many are unique and not regularly grown in gardens. I just want to try out as many as I can find.
Expand the garden - As I explained in my accomplishments, I have the same number of beds as last January. This year, my goal is to increase the depth of the rest of the garden beds. If time and money permits, I will also create a couple more garden beds.
Get my shed – This should be a fairly easy one. Instead of building, I am buying the shed. I have the box for the gravel pad finished. I need to get gravel delivered and the shed delivered. To do this, I’m waiting for the ground to freeze so the trucks don’t damage the yard. I also have to take down a section of the fence, including a fence post. I’ll ask my neighbor to use his skid steer to pull out that post. Hopefully by February I’ll have a shed to move all my crap into.
Increase amount of produce preserved - I think I did a pretty good job of preserving my produce. But there is always room for improvement. For 2013, I want to increase the number of types of produce I preserve. Instead of 23 pints of salsa, I’ll use some of that produce in other ways. Maybe make my own onion powder. Make up some hot sauce with the hot peppers. I will likely make more types of jam and jelly. In 2011, I discovered that I really like peach-hot pepper jam, I’ll probably make more of that. If the raspberries produce well, I’ll make some raspberry preserves.
Garden better – Yes, I’m making this vague goal again. I hope to keep up with the garden chores a little better than last year. Tidiness in the garden makes it easier to harvest.
Build a rain water catchment system - I’m giving this one another shot this year. This is kind of on the back burner. It just doesn’t have the urgency that some of the other goals have.
Get livestock – One of my 13 skills for 2013 is to build a top bar beehive. That ties directly into this goal. I hope to have bees over-wintering next year at this time. For each hive, I’ll need to clear out an area of grass around the hives. I certainly don’t want to have to mow under a hive of bees. I think that I’ll cut it low and put down a layer of weed block. I may put stone over that or better yet, put a layer of compost over that and plant a low flowering plant into it. I’m thinking that Lingonberry may be a good shrub for this. They stay low and spread. They also choke out any competing weeds. But I will keep researching to see if there’s something better for this. I will likely start vermi-composting with red wigglers, so I think that falls into the livestock goal. I’m still working on the wife for the chickens, but that will take some doing to get the ok on that.
That’s all I have at the moment. I know there are a couple more that I was looking to add, but for the life of me I can’t remember them.