Plans for 2013

GreenhouseA new year and a new set of projects. But first I’d like to see where we were last year at this time and see if we got anything done that we wanted to.

  • More productive in the garden? This year wasn’t nearly as productive in produce. We produced about 300lbs less produce than 2011, which was 600lbs less food than 2010. This was most likely our fault because we didn’t amend the soil as much as we should have.
  • Black plastic? We did use it and found that it worked well for some crops but was a failure for the rest. Next year we will only use it for melons and watermelons.
  • Separating livestock feed? We did that for awhile until the turkeys started living with the chickens. The chickens were slackers this year, laying less than 1/2 of what they laid in 2011, and we lost money on them. The turkeys did better than I expected and the goats pretty much broke even. Surprisingly, even though we lost our queen late in the year so we couldn’t replace her, we still ended up with nearly 50lbs of honey. We didn’t breed the rabbits very much this year and we brought in new breeders so we lost money on them as well.
  • Greenhouse built? Not completed 100% but it is usable now.
  • Extended goat barn? Didn’t get to that.
  • Rabbit hutch rebuild? Didn’t get to that either.
  • Water tower turned into a pantry? Kind of. We are storing some food in there.
  • Hunting and foraging? Yes! Well, most of 2012 was a bust for mushrooms (though we did get some this past fall) and Tom got several turkeys and a wild hog.

So what is on the horizon for this year? Much of the same probably. We still need to get the greenhouse finished and rebuild the rabbit hutch. We are now planning on not just expanding the goat barn but also moving it to a new location. We want to increase production, this year we’ll be more than generous adding soil amendments. And, of course, add more foraged and hunted foods into our diet.

We MUST reduce our outside obligations. Another year of having every single weekend planned out to the last hour leads to no time to work in the yard. This might have a lot to do with our lack of produce.

We’ve added more younger chickens to our flock. In the spring we’ll reevaluate who is laying and who is not, and cull those that aren’t producing or otherwise offering us a service, such as raising broods for us. Last year we only had 3 new flock members while the rest started to age out of laying. This year we’ll have at least 11 new pullets, possibly more depending on how many of Speckles’ brood are cockerels and how many are pullets (my guess is 3 and 3 but I could be wrong).

Keep the birds out of the garden in the summer! They all but destroyed our brassica seedlings so now we won’t get much of a crop this year.

Guerilla garden a 1/2 acre easement with orchard grass and alfalfa. We’ll see how well that goes.

Remove Turkey Town. Turkey Town has served it’s purpose well, but the turkeys no longer sleep in it as they prefer the chicken coop, so down it will come. We will use some of it to upgrade the chicken coop, in particular the roof, which will be put over the part of Chicken City where the turkeys like to sleep.

Produce more food at home for our dogs and cats. Yep, that means increasing production of meat.

Cart train Whiskey. We’ll be keeping our wether, Whiskey, and I’d like to get him in a harness and teach him how to pull a small cart.

What plans do you have for 2013?

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Discussion

  1. My husband and I accomplished lots last year building-wise: a new 12×8 garden shed with a 10×8 porch extension, a 6×6 chicken coop (wish we had made it larger), and deer fencing for the new garden–16 one hundred sq ft raised beds. I started a permaculture food forest along our interior fence line. It’s about 60×12. The hubby and I are both tired of projects…This year we will concentrate on amending the soil in the 2 veggie gardens, growing and planting more bee flowers for the bees we hope to get this spring, building an extension on the coop for the trio of midget whites we hope to acquire, and fork from the shredded mulch area of our dump as much mulch as I can. I will extend and make new flower/herb beds–but that will be fun work as I really enjoy that type of creative work. I have collected some urban rubble (broken concrete) to use around the new flower/herb beds. I need to find more. This year I hope to actually dry herbs, make more tinctures, and learn more about making lotions. I also plan to make better use of our garden veggies. Happy 2013! I sure enjoy reading about what you are doing.

  2. Plans for 2013:

    ~ Actually invite farming friends over to our house to see the garden. Meant to do it last year, but like your goat barn, it didn’t happen!

    ~ Grow more grains. I’ve got oats in now and plans for barley and wheat.

    ~ Grow fewer tomatoes. Since I can barely eat them anymore (high histamine), it really makes no sense to grow 18 plants. *delicate cough* Although they make great trade goods.

    ~ Harvest olives. (Might sneak that in this weekend.)

    ~ Harvest fallen leaves. Need more compost at the Sharecropper Garden!

    ~ Find space for a tom turkey – I love those birds!

    Happy New Year to you all!

  3. I need to focus on soil building this year, too, so I’m really curious to hear more details about how you’re going to amend yours next year. I cover cropped some of my beds for the winter months, which was new for me, so we’ll see how that works out. No really big projects around our place for 2013, except for replacing a small section of fence in the chicken yard.

  4. Max Morgan says:

    Rachel – Next year I’d like to add rabbit breeding to my urban farm. Some “how to” posts from you would be helpful : ) ! It seems a little daunting to jump right in without someone to hold my hand.

  5. I am loving your posts – started with the one posted at ‘Reslilience.org’. We are giving up our home after a 4 year battle to keep it (long story). Anyway, our next plan is to invest in land (after renting a while, lol), and building a self-contained biotech ‘earthship’ home. Check it out – it frees you from dependence on the grid, or having to rely on piped-in water, or the grocery store because it incorporates not only a greenhouse built-in, but aquaculture too (um, fish in ponds that are fed by the recirculating water that goes thru the plants). to whatever extent you are willing to work at it of course.
    We have had 2 dozen chickens (as the flock grows) for 2 years and my next step is to start vermiculture IN the coop as a supplemental feed that produces excellent soil for gardening (we have a huge greenhouse to put up at the next place), and I am considering rabbits in there as well, to feed the worms as well as for fiber and possible food. I honestly don’t know if I can dispatch a rabbit, since I’ve raised too many as house pets!
    Would love to have goats too – seems like a LOT more work though (and vet bills).
    Is there a way to determine the costs ahead of time?
    I think at some points that each egg I get costs $12. LOL
    Thanks so much for sharing your journey. Having footsteps to follow on this path makes it so much easier to attempt.

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