2012 Homestead Goals & 2011 Year in Review

Photo: Front yard is coming together as the retaining wall takes shape, and most of the yard is sheet-mulched. The bushes are on their way out and so is the chain-link fence, in order to make way for the garden wall.

The new year is here and we’re approaching one year of living here at the homestead. We got plenty done from our 2011 homestead goals but there were a few things left off that we’d like to tackle this year. Here’s a summary of what we accomplished, and what we’re looking forward to doing in 2012:

2011 Homestead Successes:

  • Getting 500 sq feet of garden beds in place.
  • Getting our home interior in shape – painting, decorating, fixing, crown molding, and more.
  • Planting 4 apple trees, 5 blueberries, plenty of strawberries, and 450 sq ft of garden space.
  • I (Kane) finished my permaculture training with Toby Hemenway in October – that took 6 full weekends between May and Oct 2011 but was well worth my time.
  • Acquired tons of free wood chips (6 yards in my truck and 20 yards delivered by the folks at Burien Tree Service) and sheet mulching most of the front and side yard – over 2000 sq ft of lawn removed when you include the garden beds.

2011 Homestead Things to Improve On:

  • Scale – One permaculture principle involves starting with small-scale systems and building your way up, and frankly it’s one of the hardest principles for me to embrace and obey.  We have so much we want to do on the property that it’s difficult to limit ourselves. As a result, not everything gets done as well as it could.  Our garden, for example, could have been much more productive with some additional attention.  We also lost a few of our fruit plants, such as the tea tree and possibly the raspberry cane. This is part of the growing process of course, both literally and figuratively, but scale is still something we need to keep in mind during our projects.
  • More blog posts! – I’ve got at least 4 or 5 updates from the fall that aren’t finished, so I’m going to try to sum those up soon. 2012 is going to be extremely busy, but I’d like to get at least one or two posts per month posted here.

2012 Goals:

  • Build the Wall: We’ve got the ball rolling on building our wall this summer, and we’re planning to host a wall-building workshop around June. More details on that soon!
  • Chickens: We acquired half of the materials for a chicken coop last year, but never got around to starting that project. We’d like to get that built this spring, perhaps if we finish the prep work for the wall early.
  • Hardscaping: We’re hoping to finish at least the firepit area of the yard after the wall is completed, and hopefully a few other summer landscaping projects. We’re hoping to host some guests in August for our wedding, so we’ve got a deadline to hit!
  • Clean Up: We’ve already removed the dead quince, a ton of Himalayan blackberries that have overstayed their welcome, and taken down a dead tree.  But, there’s still quite a bit of branches to prune, and ivy, holly, and blackberries to remove. The tricky part is removing them well and immediately filling the space, since nature abhors a vacuum and all three of those plants tend to come back as strong as ever.
  • Blog Goal – More Interviews: We’ll be publishing an awesome solar electricity interview on Tuesday, and we’d love to interview some other experts as well as homesteaders. Every person I know in the permaculture & urban homesteading community has some awesome projects going on, and I’d like to get a few of those people interviewed here on the site, and even feature some guest posts. If you know someone like that, let us know using the contact form!

So, what 2012 garden & homestead goals do you have to share?