Want to kick some growing goals in the new year? Use your summer break to observe and interact with some new ideas to improve your yields in 2018 with our Garden Planning New Years Resolutions!
1 – Plan ahead
Back in issue 6 we featured an article by Michael Hewins – master market gardener with Milkwood Permaculture. In the article Michael shared his fantastically simple, yet effective method for planning your garden from seed sowing to harvest. The Pip Kitchen Garden Calendar features a beautifully laid out version of Michael’s planner – you can get your hands on a copy from the Pip Shop or get a FREE copy when you subscribe in January 2018!
2 – Plant something new every week
If you don’t have time to plan (and more importantly, stick to it), Michael thinks this old gardener’s rule of thumb is pretty worthwhile. It also means your garden ends up being a gorgeous patchwork of productiveness even if you only have a few hours a week to devote to it. You can also still use the calendar planner to ensure successions keep coming every week, as well as to reflect on how accurate your predictions were!
3 – Track your progress
Another favourite trick for keeping our veg patch productive is tracking our progress over the year via a harvest calendar. In David Holmgren’s Retrosuburbia there are great garden productivity metrics listed for many case studies via weight. Weighing your produce each time you harvest it may seem like an extra chore, but in our experience we have found that it gets us regularly thinking about how much we need to grow, as well as giving us a rewarding feeling for our gardening efforts (writing 5 kilos of potatoes down as a single day’s harvest is pretty darn satisfying!)
4 – Think short & longterm goals (annuals + perennials)
Permaculture invites us to think long term about the way we tread this earth, and there is much great work out there on how we can integrate perennials (plants that do not need to be resown each year) into our gardens and diet. But, perennials take time, so while it is incredibly rewarding to focus on long term investment crops (asparagus, artichokes, berries and fruit and nut trees) it’s great to also give yourself some short term wins with annuals too.
5 – Time audit
For most of us gardening is relaxing, but I’m sure we’ve all been at a point at one time or another where we have bitten off more than we can chew in the vegie garden stakes (and I don’t just mean a glut of zucchinis!) Be realistic about how much time you can give your garden with a time audit and remember that slow, staggered progress is better than taking on more than you can manage. If schedules work for you, make sure you book in regular times during the week you can devote to your garden. Different plants can fill different niches too – some require more care than others. Permaculture books and courses can help you to identify and plan a garden implementation that will be successful rather than overwhelming.
6 – Taste audit
What do you really really love to eat?! Incentivise yourself with a few favourites and focus on growing these really well! If you want to kick gardening goals this year, make sure you’re growing stuff you actually want to eat and spending time on them will seem like fun rather than work!