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My Garden Goals for 2017

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January is the month where I spend the most time in my garden, pruning, tidying, and planting. I'm outside working for several hours almost every day.

I have some goals I'd like to achieve in the garden this year, and a lot of those will come from good planning and preparation done this month. This year, I want the garden to be both more productive and more beautiful. Here's how I plan to make that happen:

Pea Seedlings The Prudent Homemaker

Snow Pea Seedlings; these are the 30 day "Little Snowpea White" that I also grew last year; I love the short time to harvest!

 

More Productive:

 

1. Bring in new dirt to the garden. This will refresh the area and also fill in where the garden soil has settled over the years. 

2. Fertilize more often. Fruit trees should be fertilized here 3 times a year (February, May, and September), and roses every few weeks. I generally only fertilize my fruit trees once a year (I never get around to the other two times) and roses once in a while.

3. Plant more often. I want to make sure to do lots of succession planting (where I plant again every few weeks), especially with lettuce.

4. Plant earlier. I want to plant more before the heat sets in. Our last frost date is February 15th, which means warm-season crops can go in the ground then.

5. Add new plants. Last year I added 2 more pomegranate trees (in pots), a mandarin tree (in a pot), male and female pistachio trees, and 2 new blackberry bushes. This year I want to add at least 5 more blackberry bushes (and if I can figure out a way to add more trees, I'll do that too!). 

6. Make the shady areas more productive by planting more of what works well in the shade in these areas. This includes Swiss chard, New Zealand spinach, parsley, and Vesca (Alpine) strawberries.

7. Plant more squash.

8. Spray more often. I lost part of my grape crop last year to powdery mildew (and almost lost all of it). I will spray neem oil a couple of times before the leaves come out in March/April, and again in April or May if needed.

9. Bag grapes in paper lunch bags (stapled on) to keep the birds from eating the grapes.

10. Plant more snow peas, Armenian cucumbers, and red noodle beans. To do this, I am unrolling some homemade tomato cages (made from 6-inch concrete mesh) and using stakes that I already have to use the flat mesh as a trellis (pictured above).

11. Plant more chives and green onions from seed. 

12. Plant more artichokes.

January Sundial The Prudent Homemaker Four of the new rose bushes surrounded by flowering cabbage

 

More beautiful:

Last year I added 14 new rose bushes to the garden in back. Five of these did not make it; the company will be sending me replacements in February. The plants are small to start, but the ones that I planted last year should start flowering this year.

I planted a few hundred flower bulbs over the last few weeks, and I've still got more to plant. I'll be planting those this year.

 

1. Plant 250 daffodil bulbs in the garden (hopefully all this week if I can).

2. Plant small hedges along the walkway in the white garden. 

3. Dig 6 large bushes from the white garden (from the planting areas along the walkway, seen in the photo below) and transplant them into pots on the back patio. I have been growing these for 3 years and pruning them to become spheres. By the end of this year, there is a good chance they will have reached the size and shape I've been planning.

4. Plant another hedge in the garden in back. I'm going slow on this and using cuttings from existing bushes to grow the hedge. It will take many more years to grow it this way, but it doesn't cost me any money to do it like this.

5. Plant nasturtium seeds in all of the potted fruit trees on the patio. The seeds are ones we collected from the garden last year.

6. Plant rows of flower seeds in between the vegetables.

7. Resod and reseed grass in areas where we lost grass last year (we had some larger areas die due to broken sprinkler issues, as well as some of the normal loss due to grubs, for which we always reseed in spring).

8. Purchase a new edger and learn how to use it. I'd like to have sharp edges on the grass around the beds this year.

9. Prune hedges 4 times a year to keep them looking good.

January Walkway Planter The Prudent Homemaker

The start of changes to the front walkway: I just planted daffodils in this bed last week as well as these pansies. The large bushes will be transplanted into pots in the backyard and will hopefully finish growing into the sphere shapes I have always planned for them to be (but now they'll do so in the backyard). I'll surround each of these 4 planters by the walkway with smaller box leaf euonymus hedges; I've put in 2 small ones already at the top of this planter (near the other large bush in the planter) and I am waiting for the nursery to have more for sale over the next few months. The bed is soaked from a wonderful rain we had a few days ago; this bed is in full shade all day and will be for the next couple of months.

 

The local nursery will be having many sales over the next four months, and they'll have coupons too, so I will look for sales on the blackberries and box leaf euonymus as well as coupons to make those sales even better deals.

We're enjoying temperatures in the 50's and 60's this week; a frost is possible this month and we'll likely get at least one night of it sometime later this month, but for the most part, it's spring-like weather with lots to do!

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Goals for the First Month of the Year

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Queen of Sweden The Prudent Homemaker

Queen of Sweden rose

January is one of the busiest months in my garden. Our winter is short and very spring-like (our first frost came December 18th and the last official frost date is February 15th) and there is much to do in January. I'll spend a great number of afternoons and every Saturday physically working outside in the winter sunshine: pruning trees, roses, and grape vines, and shoveling dirt. 

 

Garden Goals:

1. Prune all dormant fruit trees

2. Prune grape vines

3. Prune roses. Strip any remaining rose leaves to force rose bushes into a short dormant period.

4. Spray dormant oil (I use Neem oil, an organic spray) on trees, grape vines, roses, and hedges to kill overwintering insects and powdery mildew

5. Plant spinach seeds in the garden

6. Plant radish seeds in the garden

7. Plant lettuce seeds in the garden

8. Fertilize asparagus (with blood meal)

9. Spread new soil in the garden in areas that need it

10. Cloche seedlings in the garden with canning jars to help them to grow faster

11. Plant daffodil bulbs

 

Organization and Cleaning Goals:

1. Donate unused items to the thrift store

2. Make a weekly housekeeping plan (i.e. pick which room to do each day type of plan)

3. Clean refrigerator

4. Clean vacuum

 

Sewing Goals:

1. Mend 10 items

2. Sew sheer curtains for a bedroom

3. Finish sewing new hot pads

4. Embroider cotton webbing with children's names and sew to new bath towels

 

Personal Goals:

1. Lose 2 pounds

2. Take more photos

3. Watch some videos online on things I want and need to learn

 

What are your goals for this month?

 

 

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Goals for July

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Cafe au Lait Dahlia 2 The Prudent Homemaker

With so many fruits ripe in the garden all at once (which are normally spread out from June through August) my first priority is to take care of the fruit in the garden. I need to cover grapes from the birds, pick apricots, peaches, and grapes. I'll also be canning.

Because so much has been ripening at once, and because life has a way of changing what has to be done, I still haven't been able to sew dresses for myself. Last month I sewed a blouse for Elsa (a super-quick project) and sewed a couple dozen merit badges on the boys' sashes. This month, I really hope to get the dresses done--but the fruit will come first, as ripe fruit does not wait.

I'm also struggling to get out in the garden to fix some drip lines that need to be redone. It's so hot that I find it best to go out between 5 and 6:30 am (the coolest time of day; I got out once at that time last week, when it was 92º out) or go out between 7:30 and 8:00 pm, as the sun is setting and right after. Going out during these times has been tricky with a baby; it always is! So these items are still on my to-do list.

 

 

Canning/Cooking:

1. Can grape juice

2. Can peaches

3. Can grapes, if I have enough ripe that we can't eat them in time

4. Can cranberry juice, with the cranberries I froze back in November for this purpose

5. Make peach pie

6. Make popsicles and smoothies

7. Cook a turkey from the freezer

 

Sewing:

1. Sew dresses for myself. I want one of these to be a dressy one to wear to Octavius' blessing 

2. Sew blessing outfit for Octavius. The one I made previously that my other two boys wore for their blessing has long sleeves and is lined. I'd like to make a short-sleeved linen/cotton blend outfit for him using the same pattern.

 

Gardening:

1. Cover grapes with paper bags to keep them from the birds while they're ripening

2. Pick apricots

3. Pick peaches

4. Cut grapes

5. Weed the garden

6. Mend and replace several old drip lines; add new lines where needed

7. Plant seeds where they haven't come up

8. Tidy the garden

 

What are your goals for July?

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Goals for June

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This month I'm working on several projects that have been on my to-do lists for months.

I have a lot of work to do in the garden, as the weeds have grown quite a bit in the last month while I've been recovering from having a baby. I am also behind in planting several things in the garden (or else they haven't come up/were munched by bugs).  

 

Sewing:

1. Sew burp cloths for the baby

2. Sew three dresses for myself

4. Sew pillow cover for living room pillow

5. Mend at least 5 items in the mending pile

 

Apricots The Prudent Homemaker

Cooking and Canning:

1. Can apricot vanilla jam with our apricots

2. Can plum sauce with our plums

3. Make rosemary fig gelato with our figs

4. Make mint chocolate frog ice cream with mint from the garden

5. Make lemonade with our lemons

6. Make hibiscus tea with hibiscus flowers from the garden. I'm trying several different recipes to find a combination I love.

7. Make popsicles several times, including apricot honey popsicles with apricots from the garden

8. Make blackberry pavlovas

9. Make yogurt and granola

10. Make white bean dip and pita bread

 

 

June Harvest 3 The Prudent Homemaker

Garden:

1. Pull weeds

2. Trim hedges in back

3. Run drip lines to some pots and a few other places in the garden

4.  Cut and dry herbs from the garden

5. Sow seeds for parsley, basil, hollyhocks, zinnias, Armenian cucumbers, dahlias, alpine strawberries, sunflowers, vincas, red noodle beans, winter squash, and chives

6. Collect nasturtium, leek, and lettuce seeds from the garden

7. Pick blackberries, strawberries, figs, plums, apples and apricots as they ripen

 Green Gage Plums The Prudent Homemaker

 

 

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Goals for May

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Baby Rattle The Prudent Homemaker

Here are the goals I would like to have for the month:

 

1. Have a baby

2. Keep up with the laundry

3. Continue to homeschool

4. Make meals

 

The reality, of course, is that there is much more to be done than those 4 things.

This month I have apricots, blackberries and peaches ripe in the garden. I'll need to take care of these, along with other garden work and other household work.

I'm starting the month at 40 weeks pregnant, but since my babies have all been born between 42 and 44 weeks, I most likely have a bit of time to do several more things before the baby comes. Of course, every birth is different; this one could decide to come earlier!

On the to-do list won't be all the things I didn't manage to do last month, such as the sewing I had hoped to accomplish. Winter has been using the sewing machine 6 days a week to work on a huge historical costuming project that she has decided to undertake, and I've found it difficult to even iron the fabric for my projects (I did manage to wash a couple of fabrics that I want to use for dresses for myself, but I didn't end up making a dress for myself, pajamas for the children, or sewing curtains), nor did I finish all of my garden chores. I'm definitely feeling a difference in age and physical abilities in this pregnancy! (Eleven years ago I was 2 weeks overdue and planting 500 flower bulbs in the garden, not stopping until 2 days before the baby was born at 43 weeks. That has been the norm for me in the past!) My desire in April has been to rest as much as possible.

Blackberries in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

 

Here are my goals for the month of May:

 

The Garden:

 

1. Pick apricots

2. Pick blackberries

3. Pick peaches

4. Harvest artichokes

5. Weed garden

6. Pick other ripe produce 

7. Cut flowers for arrangements

8. Fertilize fruit trees (Fruit trees should be fertilized here in February, May, and September)

 

Organization:

 

1. Set up newborn size clothing for baby in drawers

2. Finish organizing a place for baby, with lots of help from the rest of the family

 

Cooking/Preserving:

 

1. Make peach pie, peach crumble, peach pie popsicles, and cut peaches to enjoy in oatmeal. Freeze any extra peaches.

2. Freeze blackberries

 

Plus, of course, those 4 goals that I listed at the beginning of the post! 

 

What's ripe in your garden this month? Do you have any fun projects planned?

 

 

 

 

 

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Goals For April

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Roses in jars The Prudent Homemaker

I'm turning 40 this month. I have some fun projects for myself on my list for this month.

 

Sewing:

1. Sew curtains for my bedroom

2. Sew dress for myself, using 2 existing dress that I have to make a pattern (I want to try this method for making a pattern from an existing dress)

3. Sew birthday gifts for Ivory

4. Sew summer pajamas for the children

5. Sew curtains for one of the girls' rooms

 

We plan on buying electrical conduit for the curtain rod in our room, and I've already bought some, plus a can of Rustoleum's Oil Rubbed Bronze paint, for the curtain rod in the girls' room.

 

Gardening:

We had some high winds for a good part of last month, which made it very difficult to accomplish everything I had planned in the garden, so some tasks this month are ones I didn't get to last month.

 

1. Dig and divide daffodils, and replant them in the garden

2. Dig dandelions from the lawn

3. Plant agapanthus (I'm trying to special order white agapanthus for the white garden and am still waiting to hear if they can get it for me or not)

4. Plant rose bushes (I've special ordered "Wollerton Old Hall", a white David Austin rose, from the nursery and am waiting for plants to come in)

5. Add urn to garden, run water to it, attach it to pedestal, decide what to plant in it, and plant those plants in it

6. Cage tomatoes

7. Cut loads of flowers for fresh arrangements in the house

8. Plant basil, red noodle bean, Armenian cucumber, and squash seeds in the garden

9. Stake Katy apricot tree and one flowering plum tree in the white garden

10. Set up stakes and trellis for beans and cucumbers

11. Thin fruit trees. I've already started on this, and the high winds we had last month did a lot of thinning for me, but there is still more to do.

12. Prune hedges in front and back. I've ordered an electric hedge trimmer to make the job faster. I borrowed one from my neighbor last month after she offered it, and I loved how much more quickly I was able to complete the task.

 

Jewelry Projects:

1. Finish bird nest necklace

2. Make gray bracelet

3. Make over bead necklace that belonged to my grandmother. It is currently strung on a single strand of thread.

 

Cleaning/Organizing:

1. Clean refrigerator

2. Clean grout on my bathroom floor

3. Photograph and list items for sale on my local Facebook garage sale page. I'm still considering having my own garage sale, but I'd really like to get some things sold this week, and the community garage sale I attend twice a year is this Saturday! If I can sell some things ahead of time, I'll have more to add to my garage sale fund to buy things from my list.

 

Canning:

1. Can strawberry jam

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