On the first day of 2023, it’s time to set some goals.
Last year we hit 4.5 out of 8 goals, along with a goal I didn’t dare voice: that of buying a new homestead!
Now that we are on our new land, let’s set up some targets to hit
PLANT AN APPLE ORCHARD
I have ordered 16 Southern apple varieties from Century Farm Orchards to test in Lower Alabama, and should be planting an orchard some time in January. That’s the goal! I also have another four apple trees in pots, waiting to join them.
The varieties from Century Orchards are:
Shell, Hackworth, Cauley, Yates, Pomme Gris, Carolina Red, Roxbury Russet, Shockley, Little Benny, St. Clair, Jakes Seedling, Keener Seedling, Horse, Orleans, Pound, Rev. Morgan
The ones in pots are HoneyCrisp, Red Delicious, Pink Lady and Cortland. I’d also like to add Shell, Ein Shemer, Anna, Golden Dorsett, Granny Smith, Gala, Fuji and King David, along with some seedlings and perhaps some of Steven Edholm’s varieties.
BUILD A BIG CHICKEN COOP
The chicken coop we currently have isn’t ideal. I’m picturing something larger at the edge of the garden, with a big run and perhaps some tunnels we could run through beds. Getting more birds would be good, as egg and meat prices are soaring, plus there’s nothing better than home-raised.
HIT 500,000 SUBSCRIBERS ON YOUTUBE
We hit 250,000 in 2022. Why not go for double? We should have plenty to film when the weather warms up and the new Grocery Row Gardens and food forest get going.
WRITE A POST FOR EVERY WEEKDAY IN 2023
There are 260 weekdays in 2023, so we must write 260 posts. We were 39 posts shy of hitting a post for every weekday last year. We can beat that, especially if I do more garden photography and build my posts around the pictures.
FINISH WRITING MINIMALIST GARDENING
Minimalist Gardening has 32,934 words completed, which is getting close to Good Guide length. Another 10,000 words should wrap it up.
FINISH WRITING ALABAMA SURVIVAL GARDENING
Noah Sanders and I are working on this book together, and his portion of it is mostly done. Now I need to write my half, on the warm parts of Alabama. This book should be very useful to gardeners here, as Florida Survival Gardening was for Floridians.
LAUNCH THE TACTICAL GARDENING KICKSTARTER
I hope to start Tactical Gardening this year, with the help of illustrator Tom Sensible. It’s going to be my epic work on death hedges, hidden food, weaponizing plants, and more. The idea has been kicking around in my head for almost 8 years, but I want to make sure there’s a demand for it. Hence the Kickstarter. If it raises enough support, I’ll run with it. The book will be BIG, so it needs to be worth creating.
GROW 1,000 POUNDS OF FOOD
Isn’t it about time to hit some good numbers again? We now have decent soil and lots of cow manure. I think it has to happen.
We’d like to continue our landrace experiments and get back to breeding a vigorous and diverse Moschata pumpkin, as well as our own corn variety. 2022 was an absolute fail on those projects as the weather was a wreck, which was compounded by the awful soil at The Sand Pit of Death.
We’re mixing radishes, squash, corn, pumpkins, cucumber and okras together in various seedlines I’m saving right now. By the end of the year, I hope to have some good collections of mixed-up seeds we may be able to offer small amounts of through Daisy’s Good Gardens Seed Store.
I was working with lots of cassava types, too, but I think our last huge freeze may have frozen all my cane cuttings for this year. It might just be too far to push regularly.
GRAFT ALL THE BRADFORD PEARS
There are Bradford pear seedlings all over our land. I’d like to cut down all the popcorn trees around them, then cut the pears back and overgraft all of them with better varieties in the spring.
HARVEST A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF FIREWOOD
Ideally, we’ll be able to cut enough wood this year that we can easily heat the house in the winter. This is a new one for us!
MAKE THE COTTAGE A GUEST HOUSE
We have a servant’s house on our property that needs a lot of care. It’s currently stuffed with junk and has a broken chimney and broken water pipes. With some work, it could be a lovely little cottage for visiting family.
PLANT A DEATH HEDGE
We need to figure out exactly where the front edge of the property lies, then plant it with a dense hedge.
FINISH READING THE DECLINE AND FALL
I’m over half-way through The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire but the rest of the series is hiding in a box somewhere. I’d like to finish it in 2023. This ties into our need to…
BUILD A GIANT WALL OF BOOKSHELVES
Randall and I cut wood for this purpose. Now that pine needs to be planed and turned into a big wall of shelves. Then, hopefully, we can empty boxes of books until I find the rest of Gibbon.
…and I think that’s it.
What are your goals?
To harvest something to eat every day from my 10 Earthboxes, 6 large pots, 17 mini pots on the lanai. To keep all those mentioned containers planted and producing. To grow indoors 3 different sprouts each week. Live in Zone 10 SW Florida – between the 32 degree nights last week, Hurricane Ian, a rather dry rainy season and who knows what’s in store this year – it’s been difficult but I will persevere and succeed. And I’m 76 which is why I grow in containers on the lanai.
That’s a great goal.
I’m near you and Flomaton Famous on the state line Escambia County FL (havent met them but came across a youtube trying to source local mulch or compost in bulk) I’m new to gardening in this climate although I have had muscadine vineyard, small orchard, chickens and organic mulched gardens in a slightly warmer climate and sandy ammended soil. We already renovated a 1938 home that belonged to my Grandparents. Seeing what works for you and what doesn’t in this climate is interesting to me. Also been girdling popcorn trees making some more room in the woody part of the lot. We only have an acre but have 9 bare root fruit on order for a backyard grow and plan to keep them pruned and mulched. About have the soil prepped now. So plan to watch you and Randall’s videos of work on the orchard and plant propagation. My main goal is to do more of the same in the garden as 2022 but would like to add some more survival type root crops that grow in this climate but in the edge of the woods I don’t plan to try to push the zone. We are older and did set up 7 raised bed because they are easier on the body as we keep going. I plan to leave a little more space between plants than last year between annuals and have less busyness in small containers that dry out too much. Think I’ll stay in the “grove”(woody area) more. I like permaculture principles, as far as studying the land — been watching the sun overtime, as it moves through the season and am aware of the soil. We have a slight drop off and heavy clay with crayfish. If I move leaves there it may make it more hospitable for growth on the edge. The “grove” area was impenetrable a few years ago but have been weeding out privet, kudzu etc by hand for a few years. 1/2 acre. Lot of large trees — leaving the leaf litter down. Plan to use my digging fork more. My favorite new tool. Push it in, lean back. I enjoy the quietness of no power tools for the most part.
You are doing great. Yes, the hand tools are really nice to work with – I prefer the peace too.
Not sure if it’ll happen in 2023, but we’d like to buy land for a homestead here in Utah. I just finished reading Joel Salatin’s Polyface Micro and my wife has mentioned that we need a milk cow 5 times in 5 days. It’s a big leap for us, but I feel the Holy Spirit leading us in that direction. It’ll be a great adventure!
That would be wonderful.
We have a double 20 x96 gutter connect greenhouse. Intend to get a business going raising bedding plants, herbs and small nursery stock..
I hope to find enough money to buy your and Steve Solomon’s books.
Hopefully school will be more than one full grade for each child.
If you can’t afford them, send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Kickstarter for a book on death Hedges?
So many projects and goals, I don’t want to type that much on my phone… but one thing we’re doing is getting the GRG in.
2022 was a weird gardening year for us, we discovered all of our raised beds had pretty much rotted due to poor drainage in our garden, so we started in ground beds. Keeping the Bermuda grass at bay became a war, and we made some decisions that we learned good lessons from regarding growing in fabric pots. Even though it’s an urban homestead, we’re growing where we’re planted at the moment. I start a new job on the 9th that’s fully remote, so it’s opened up some location options that we didn’t have previously.
For 2023, we want to get the chicken coops moved to a better location and combine the flocks into one coop. The upside to this is the soil where the bigger coop is is fantastic. The downside is it’s just me and the wife and the coop is massive – if we time it right and wait for a dry week, it should be doable.
Once that’s done, fence off the area for the chickens to free range without us having to manage it so much and extend the current backyard garden out to where the coop used to be and take advantage of that great soil.
Larger stretch goal is to fence the useable side yard and front yard to start growing there as well. We spent yesterday cataloging seeds and putting them into a spreadsheet for ease of maintenance and will start the planting plan today.
Last thing for us (homestead wise) would be to construct a mobile coop where we can try our hand at raising broilers.. We agree that the food prices are and probably will continue to go nuts so we might as well raise our own.
Looking forward to going on the ride of 2023 with the Good family!
My handicapped daughter and I have started the carnivore diet (strict, because we are doing this for health reasons, as we both have autoimmune issues), and it’s forced a complete paradigm shift. I’ve already, in the short time we’ve been on the diet, seen drastic improvement in both of our health, both physical and mental; it’s especially noticeable in my daughter, who had been spending nearly all of her time, 24/7, laying on the bathroom floor. Now she’s up, chatting, playing with toys, looking at picture books and magazines (she’s severely mentally handicapped and can’t read, even though she’s 42), and obviously feeling hugely better. Challenging that with just a bit of green vegetable set her back to laying on the bathroom floor again, so I’m gritting my teeth and we are going to stick out the carnivore diet for as long as necessary. (I like vegetables and love fruit; giving them up is hard!)
So this has made me re-think my plans for our property. The fenced garden is going to get turned into a chicken run. The tiny pasture (I can get it up to almost two acres by fencing in most of the yard around the house) will have the fences repaired, and we’ll make a decision on what meat animal is best to put out there (sheep? Goats? A steer? I’d prefer sheep or goats, because they’d be easier to butcher at home, and I already have some goats). The double dog kennel is going to get turned into a Raken house for chickens and rabbits. I’m going to fence off a pen to raise a couple of pigs. And there won’t be any planting of gardens, herb beds, fruit or nut trees this year. Instead, I’m focusing on “How much meat can we grow on less than two acres?”
The stored food in the pantry needs to get revamped, too — way too much beans and rice and dried or canned vegetables. Some meat, but not enough.
My other primary goal is to read the Bible every single day, without missing at all. I’ve been reading through the whole Bible every year for about the last twenty-five years, but always have missed days and have to play catch-up.
And, finish one of the partial stories sitting in files on my computer and publish it.
I should sit down and write down some specific goals. I did pretty well this fall setting a goal to transplant all my lilacs, redbuds, and osage orange trees that got way too big in the nursery area and got it done just in time for the freeze and wet weather. Not a death hedge but a wind and summer noise barrier by the road. I’ll put some Red Osier Dogwood and Pussy Willow cuttings in there too in the spring. There are still seedling apple trees, grafted medlars, and honey locusts (for triads a la Stefan Sobkowiak) in the nursery area. And it’s year of the garlic (lots of rows of 5 heirloom variaties)…so got to keep those weeded well. I have 25 chicks and 6 goslings on order for late spring.
I wonder if Red Delicious taste better from the tree? Because once they reach the supermarket; they are not good.
Man, I hope so. It was my Dad’s favorite variety and my least favorite. I’m mostly planting it for his memory, but I do think they’ll taste better.
Oooh! Alabama Survival Gardener! I loved Florida one and will definitely be buying that one.
This year, I want to have “one crazy garden row” . Take a pinch of this, a dash of that, a smidge of this…and do a scatter and SEE what happens. I just need to decide what the dashes and smidges will be..
I hope to grow enough seedlings to sell and be able to help us afford to purchase a pressure canner and I would love to have at least a small wood stove. I want to make more raised beds in my back yard and figure out a way to stop the erosion of my front yard. I would greatly appreciate your prayers for God’s will on this. Thank you for all the wonderful information your books bring to those of us who want to grow our own food .
Hey David! I want to finally get my small greenhouse built, build a very small catch pond out back to slow the water, plant more fruit trees(undecided which ones yet), and stay more commited to my garden.
I am attempting to landrace tomatoes here and I already have a name picked.
And ,yes, 100% in on the dense hedge book. Also, excited about the Alabama one. It will be more applicable to my area (still south of us, but much closer).
Hope and pray your family has a wonderful year.
Hi, David, I am planning to graft my Bradford pears as well. Originally, I was thinking about doing bark grafts but the YouTube algorithms showed me a video of drill grafting, so I am trying that as well (and as I was watching the video, one of my thoughts was: “this is probably right up David The Good’s alley”). Cheers!
Ooh. I am very interested in the Tactical Gardening book. Do let me know when the Kickstarter is up so I can contribute. It won’t be much as my family is going through a rainy season financially but I have always wanted to “fence” my yard with a hedge. A death hedge is maybe a little aggressive for my needs but I want to keep kids and pets inside and strangers out.
Goals this year are getting back to the dirt and growing again, learning to pressure can, and learning to cook Ethiopian food. (I’m not Ethiopian, just love the food. Injera is so delicious!)