Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Things I'd like to Try in 2011

Two-thousand Eleven is starting off with colder-than-typical weather, strong Northerly winds and the unfortunate doldrums that all gardeners experience. The white, snowy backdrop across the fields is pleasant in some ways: it allows me to look on the beds as clean slates, rather than several series of to-do lists and fix-it projects. However, as anyone who has painted or drawn can tell you, a large blank canvas is often daunting on other levels. I have so many ideas, and it is nearly impossible to tell which of these ideas are plausible, good, or even possible.

Instead of new year's resolutions, I have spent the first half of January making lists of things I would like to try. It's quite a list, but I thought I might share some of them here...

Before Spring I'd like to:
  • Tap maples here at our place, and up at Roheryn Farms, to make maple syrup.
  • Build a new hay trough for the sheep, to reduce waste hay.
  • Purchase a soil blocker for starting seeds this year, to eliminate waste from pots.
  • Fix up the seed starting shelves, and add at least one shelf.
  • Muck the sheep stall, composting the bedding.
  • Visit a friend's parents' alpaca farm to tote several buckets of alpaca poo home for veggie beds.

In the food gardens, I'd like to:
  • Grow only open-pollinated heirloom veggies.
  • Try growing potatoes (in straw), garlic, asparagus and shallots for the first time.
  • Grow every veggie bed using companion planting.
  • Expand the raspberry beds by 100%.
  • Begin phasing out most of the june-bearing strawberries to be replaced with Mara des Bois.
  • Grow "ground cherry" or "cape gooseberry" plants for the first time.
  • Try dwarf fruit trees in pots, including fig and olive (with plans to bring them onto the porch during the winter).
  • Grow enough produce to have left overs for bartering and possibly for marketing.

In the flower gardens, I'd like to:
  • Grow lavender! My goal is to replace anything struggling with heirloom lavenders, or other useful perennial herbs.
  • Eradicate the fleabane from the native prairie bed.

With the critters I'd like to:
  • Develop a sufficient field rotation for the sheep and their lambs, starting by grazing them on the site for the new veggie bed to fertilize.
  • Discuss the possibility of chickens with the land lady, both for meat and eggs. Heirloom breeds of course.
  • Build a poultry run off the side of the barn, if not for chickens, then for the ducks.

Around the property I'd like to:
  • Build a wood shed on the north side of the barn.
  • Clear up much of the dead fall from the apple orchards.
  • Create an outdoor living space out in the orchards, complete with mosquito netting :)
  • Find a way to weave or crochet vegetable storage bags.
  • Make use my antique ice chest for storage of fresh veggies.
Do you have goals for the new year? Do you plan to try anything new?


  1. What a great list! While we approached it from a "resolutions" standpoint, many of our goals for 2011 echo your own -- learning, doing, and experimenting.

    Thanks for sharing!


  2. Wow! Quite a list! It would be great if you could market some of your produce this year - you could sell flower bunches as well. Hoping to learn some tricks with my class - will share!