Monday, January 17, 2011

2011 Goals, #1

In 2010 I made a long term goal that in 5 years I didn't want to have to set foot in a grocery store.  That spring I joined a meat CSA and planted my first solo-outside garden.  I include "solo" and "outside" because my first garden experiences were with my mother when I was 4 years old, helping her plant and weed while she was pregnant with my little sister - and because I attempted some container gardening in my apartment during my college years; those attempts failed.  You can see my first "big-girl" garden in earlier posts on the blog.

Going grocery-store free in 5  years is, in my naive opinion, very doable - but it won't happen over night and it won't happen on its own.  While I think I made decent progress in 2010, also familiarizing myself with 3 of the nearby farmer's markets, I also could've done a lot more.  It is that thought that spurs this post - and a list of 2011 goals to keep my on the path of thrivalism.

In 2011 I would like to...

1) Expand our garden.
My first garden was 100 square feet and consisted of 5 "plots" each divided by a foot wide path of red brick for easy access.  In it, we successfully grew several varieties of tomatoes and peppers, cucumbers, summer squash, herbs, carrots and a cantaloupe or two.  We unsuccessfully grew broccoli, cauliflower and green beans.  And straight up failed at watermelons, zucchini, and brussel's sprouts.  (The failed watermelons and sprouts are a no-brainer, but the zucchini is still a mystery).  I can honestly say that I have never been as happy or proud as when I was in that garden.  (I was terrified for most of my wedding day, so the garden still wins out, despite my undying love for my partner).

In the last few months of fall, I watched our back yard, filled with beautiful but aggravatingly shady-providing trees, to try and map out another prime location for planting.  It seems that the only ideal location is a bed that existed when we moved in - and in the summer it blooms with purple irises and pink & white peonies.  I don't particularly want to tear into it, though I'm going to see if I can't rearrange it a little next year.  After all, my first garden shared a bed with a beautiful rose bush - so who's to say we can't have aesthetics and function? I'm convinced, again naively, that the perimeter of our garage would be promising for some partial-sun loving plants.

The next few months I will be reading up on gardening and plotting out my beds.  While I have a lot to learn, I sometimes think my lack of education allowed for some great innovation on our first garden.  Had I listened to my seed packets and much of the reading I had done, I wouldn've have been nearly as successful (or just damn lucky.  I'm convinced our success this year came from two factors: 1) Neglect.  I lived an hour away from my garden last spring and it had to learn to live on it's own.  It wasn't over-watered and it developed strong roots of its own.  2) Wasps.  We had a family of wasps living in our fence near the garden.  The more I read about organic gardening, the more I learn that wasps are wonderful for keeping pests at bay.)

In this year's garden I want to...

a) Double our tomato production, especially the sungolds we planted (little orange bursts of awesome).
b) Double our carrot & cucumber production
c) Succeed at the plants that were sub-par last year (Zucchini, Watermelon, Green Beans, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Lettuce)
d) Plant pumpkins in the back (for our 2nd annual pumpkin carving party)
e) Attempt to plant garlic and potatoes
f) Double the herb garden (and preserve by either drying or freezing)
g) Attempt collard greens

Long term (read: When Sammit and I move to our own house) I would like to add corn, asparagus and other greens to our veggies as well as strawberries, raspberry & blueberry bushes, and apple & cherry trees. I'd also like to attempt lemon or limes trees (to be kept in the house during winters).  I dream of pears, grapes, & pinto beans.

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