I purposefully held off on making any New Years Resolutions. They seem doomed to fail from the start. So, instead, I made a list of my top 10 gardening goals for 2017. This feels like a big year in the garden for us. I’m not pregnant. I don’t have an infant. I should be able to accomplish something out there this year towards feeding the family!
I’m really excited about our garden because we are also starting from a kind of clean slate. Over the 3 years we have been on our property, the boys did start building me a garden. However, as our love of chickens grew, so did our need for space. I sacrificed my 12ft x 4ft garden plot in a fully fenced garden area for my feathered friends.
This year I’m moving the main garden to the other side of our shed. Instead of going with a raised bed square foot garden as I’ve always done in the past (and works wonders on city lots), I’m trying something new. We’re going to have an old fashioned, war-time, country garden. The new section to be fenced off is 17 ft . 35ft = 595 square feet! I think I won the trade off!!!
So, given that this undertaking has to happen over the next 6-8 weeks in order for us to be ready to plant. I’ve also been reading the The Quarter-Acre Farm: How I Kept the Patio, Lost the Lawn, and Fed My Family for a Year by Spring Warren. This sweet story, mixed with gardening wisdom and recipes has given me great focus for this year. Her story starts where every good garden starts – with soil So, this brings me to our first goal…
We have several means for creating excellent soil, and lucky for me, most of them are already in place and just need a bit of tweaking.
Homemade compost is the best fertilizer around – and as you already know – we have chickens! Chicken manure is hot so it needs to be composted before being applied to the ground around plants. My goal is to create a 3 bin compost system for dealing with the chicken manure and creating useable gold for my garden beds.
If you follow my journey on Instagram then you also know that we have a rabbit (or sometimes two…). We are going to take our old hutch and run system and reuse what we can to build a rabbit tractor. This benefits our rabbits by allowing us to expose them to new grass every day. This benefits the yard from all their wonderful droppings, and I can rake up what is in excess to apply directly to my garden beds.By the way, did you know that 2 rabbits can produce the same amount of manure as a cow?!?! Click To Tweet
We also have worms!!! I know that sounds bad and gross, but red wigglers are amazing creatures! Okay, so we don’t technically have worms…we had worms, but i still have the bins. We need to make a wooden stand to hold the bins off the ground and add a spigot to aid in collecting the urine for fertilizer. This can be used on all of our garden beds in the yard and gets diluted down 1:20 so a little bit goes a far way!
Every place has its challenges. In our last yard it was ivy – it was everywhere! And in the 5 years that we were in that house I’m still not sure we eradicated it!
Now, we have inherited blackberry brambles. They are 12 feet wide and run down one entire side of our property. I like blackberries as much as the next person, but that is a lot of valuable growing space. They are also an invasive species and they spread like crazy. Finally, they also grow wild all over our island so foraging provides when I want them.
They are a priority because they currently take up a 12 ft x 17 ft section of my new garden area! Therefore, in order to get the soil ready (and to move on with my gardening goals) they have got to go! If you have any great tips for demolishing these wild beasts without chemicals, I’d love to hear them! Leave me a comment below…
To get the garden ready for planting we have several steps left to take. Over the last year I have been creating a lasagna garden in the back area. We were getting humungous boxes monthly from both my Usborne shipments and from Amazon subscribe and save. So, we lay the cardboard down to kill the grass.
On top of that we have been putting chicken manure. We were also blessed with a nice big trailer load of well composted goat manure and straw which has been spread over 1/2 the garden. The raked up rabbit pellets have also layered several areas.
So, once the brambles are gone we will be getting loads of garden soil to create our planting medium on top of the composted manure and cardboard. This could take several weeks as we are going to need about 4-5 trailer loads to get a good enough depth for planting.
Once the soil is in, we need to fence in the area to keep out the
wild animals children. We also have to place a short layer of fencing around the inside of the fence to keep out the wild rabbits that grace our garden and nibble anything trying to grow.
I could go to town with all my ideas for the backyard and all the things I would like to grow. But, as I read over and over, a garden takes time. So, I’m trying to stick with realistic steps. Once the garden is done we plan to plant things that we love, eat regularly and have grown in the past.
Keeping this things alive and well so that they can feed us, requires water. I want to get some rain barrels this year so that when the water restrictions kick in (as they do every year – sometimes as early as April) I have my own supply to be watering with. It also saves me having to drag the hose from the house all the way to the back of the garden as well.
Our gardening tools are what one would call well loved (or possibly neglected). So my other job is to gives the tools an overhaul. I want to sand down all the handles and protect them with linseed oil. The metal heads will need a good clean, soak in vinegar to remove rust, and then a rub down with oil to protect them.
To make sure that they stay well maintained, I’m going to convert the false back of our shed into a storage area for my garden tools and supplies. It’s right inside the garden area and not really used for anything, making it the perfect space. It’s just big enough to store everything. I can’t wait to tackle this space.
Every girl needs something beautiful! My love is Dahlias. They are my favourite kind of flower and over the last few years I’ve been trying my hand at them. They seem to grow well in our well draining soil and hot back yard. Therefore, one of my gardening goals is to plant them in several areas and see where else they grow. I’d like to grow enough of them to keep my house filled with flowers and sell some at a little road side stand.
It’s so nice to see what people’s beautifully maintained, already well designed and functioning garden looks like so that we can dream big! However, it’s also nice to see a project from start to finish. I hope you’ll follow along as we pluck through our goals. I’m excited to share our gardening journey with you as we start our garden from scratch! You can subscribe to my blog to get all the updates on our garden in your inbox. Just use the box below to enter your email. You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter for the latest news on what we’re doing.
What plans do you have for your garden this year? I’d love to hear what your gardening goals are for 2017!