Happy New Year! Farm Goals for 2014

Happy New Year!  I’m not the type to make New Year’s resolutions, though I do like to set goals at the beginning of each year (I know, a resolution is just a goal, but the connotation of the word seems so much more strict and less easily-attainable).  This year, I have several goals for the farm, both large and small:

  1. Use more fresh herbs.  I grow a ton of herbs, mostly perennial herbs like rosemary, thyme, etc., and one of the things I learned from keeping a record of my harvest totals is that I hardly harvested any!
  2. Dry more herbs to give as gifts/use in homemade spice mixes.  I do usually dry enough thyme, sage, and oregano to get me through the winter (though, oddly enough, despite the very cold winter we’ve had so far, these guys haven’t yet gone deciduous like they usually do in my yard), but I would like to try my hand at creating custom spice blends with these and other herbs.
  3. Keep track of money spent towards the farm, and measure it against my estimate of the value of farm products.  (I started off doing this last year, tracking garden expenditures using mint.com, but things got complicated and I got lazy.)  I WILL do it this year!
  4. Clean up the greenhouse, repot some of the orchids, and sell some if possible.  The greenhouse has been VERY neglected since we had our son almost two years ago, and I’d like to get things healthier and looking nicer again.  (The poor orchids have been fertilized once, maybe twice at the most, since Leif was born!)
  5. Cut down a large, established camellia (I’ve been meaning to do this since we moved in seven years ago – it looks lovely in February, but pretty awful most of the year, as it’s planted in full sun) and plant a citrus tree in its place.
  6. Plant a serviceberry to replace the one that my dad accidentally mowed over last year.
  7. Propagate gooseberries to replace the ones that my dad mowed over last year (he thought he was doing me a favor by mowing what, to him, looked like an overgrown, weedy plot, but which was really filled with forage for the bees – oregano and borage – overcropped over several newly-planted gooseberries).
  8. Completely remove bermuda grass from front yard (ha!  Like it’s even possible to eradicate bermuda grass), and add a deer fence to allow for planting of edibles in the front yard.  It’s a large, mostly sunny space that currently holds only a few deer-resistant ornamentals on the sunny side and our compost piles on the shady side, and I’d love to be able to use it more productively.

    The front yard in its current state.  Pretty dull, no?

    The front yard in its current state. Pretty dull, no?

  9. Start up a little farm stand to sell excess produce and/or give it away to the local food pantry, or through the new facebook group I’ve started in association with the Buy Nothing Project.
  10. Start an Etsy store to sell excess honey, beeswax, and products made from honey/beeswax.  (This is very unlikely to actually happen this year, but I’m putting it on my list so that I keep thinking about it, and maybe start planning it better for next year.)
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2 Responses to Happy New Year! Farm Goals for 2014

  1. Lynne says:

    Hi,Happy New Year to you too! I have been following your blog since you started and love the updates and tips, recopies etc. I was wondering how you dry your herbs, do you use the oven or another method, I tried the oven and microwave, hated both, the herbs lost there punch and flavor. Would love to hear back or maybe post a blog about drying herbs. Thanks 🙂

    • Emilie says:

      Interesting, I’ve never tried using the microwave! If I just have small quantities of herbs to dry (like a few sprigs left after using the rest for cooking), I just let them sit out on the counter for several days until they are very dry and crispy (you live in Florida though, right? I don’t know if the higher humidity would prevent this from working properly for you). With larger quantities, I either tie them tightly together at the top, and hang the bundles in a spot indoors out of direct sunlight and with good airflow (ditto on the humidity comment), or I dry them in my dehydrator set at 90 degrees F. I’m guessing your oven doesn’t go lower than around 150-200 degrees – the relatively high heat is probably what makes your herbs lose their good flavor.

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