Top 5 – Things I will do better this year.

Now I am not one for New Years Resolutions per se (this is largely the result of a complete inability to ever stick to any), so these are certainly not resolutions.  Instead I’m calling them statements of intent.  The things I will work towards in 2013 in my kitchen and garden during the coming year.

Look after my garden beds better.  I know I should look after my soil better.  I know the plants will grow better if I do.  I know that lots of manure and organic matter will mean far better crops.  I know all this and yet all too often I pull one crop then simply sprinkle some Dynamic Lifter (or other brand pelletised chook manure) around and plant something else.  This year though I will try harder.  I will source more manure, having chooks will help in this respect and why I’ve never collected sheep manure from mum & dads paddocks I don’t know.  I will spread compost around liberally and I will mulch thickly and dig that in as well.  I will also grow more broad beans and possibly even a green manure crop or two.

Preserve more.  I bought a Fowlers preserving kit recently on eBay so I have great preservation plans for the coming year.  I already preserve some of these things but this year my aim is not to have to buy or run out of any of the following:

    • Tomatoes
    • Passata
    • Peaches
    • Apricots
    • Jam
    • Chutney
    • Sambal
    • Bread and Butter Pickles
    • Beetroot

For the record this year I managed not to buy or run out of both sambal and chutney but they were the only ones.  I had to resort to buying either a tin or jar of each of the others at least once (particularly unforgivable in the case of jam and beetroot I think).

Cook new things more often.  I admit to borrowing this from the New Goodlife’s goals for 2012.  I have a huge collection of cookbooks.  I spend a lot of time reading about food on the net.  Yet I have to admit to rarely cooking anything new.  This is partially because the kids might reject it, but mostly it is pure laziness on my part.  With this is in mind I’m thinking a new recipe a week shouldn’t be too taxing – especially as I plan to try a new Thai dish tomorrow so that’s this week sorted…

Grow peas successfully.  For the last two years I’ve germinated peas and then stood idly by while almost every single one is eaten by either slugs or snails.  This year will be different.  I will protect my pea seedlings.  I will ring them with coffee grounds.  Grow them next to beer traps.  Place plastic bottles over them.  Whatever it takes to actually grow some peas to maturity.  Oooo I can taste them already…YUM.

Keep better records.  I love Harvest Monday posts as they serve as a good record of what came out of the garden for that week.  Unfortunately Monday Harvest posts are about as far as much of my record keeping goes.  I did keep harvest weight records for much of the year but I wasn’t really as diligent about weighing things as I should have been and….well I could make excuses but suffice to say I could improve in this area.  But even more importantly than harvest weights I need to get much better at recording dates for sowing.  I do write it on the seed label but these are often moved, lost or generally forgotten so much of the information is missed.  With this is mind this year I have bought a diary to record both weights of harvests but also sowing, potting up and planting out dates so that I will improve my knowledge about what works best for my micro climate.

And those are the Top 5 things I plan to improve this year, the things I think will make the biggest impact to how I garden and cook.  I’m quite excited about all of them.  The next thing now is of course to remember that I intend to do them which could be something of a challenge in itself…

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29 Responses to Top 5 – Things I will do better this year.

  1. Mark Willis says:

    If these things come to pass you will have a lovely productive garden and a healthy well-fed family. Good Luck! and Happy New Year, by the way.
    P.S. With “Statements of Intent” you sound uncomfortably like a politician. Such things are promises on which you can renege if you feel like it! :)

  2. Frogdancer says:

    Oh great.I just told someone on Facebook how organised and on top of things you were.
    Turns out you’re almost as bad as me!!!

  3. bumblelush says:

    Your non-resolutions sounds great! Similar to you, I don’t make resolutions but try to set goals. I need to cook more, keep better records, as well. Best wishes to you in 2013!

  4. Norma Chang says:

    My statement of intent for 2013 is to keep better records. Always start out great but fizzle somewhere down the garden path.

  5. One thing that Martyn is great at doing is keeping records as you will see if you visit the bottom set of links at the top of my blog. He uses an excel spreadsheet and woe betide me if I give away or use anything before he has weighed it!

    • Liz says:

      I do like a good spreadsheet and I have some set up – maintaining them is my problem I’m not always as diligent as I should be.

  6. Leanne says:

    Liz I laughed at many of your intents… they are on my mental list too.
    I’ll try and keep you accountable SMILE.
    Love Leanne

  7. Sarah says:

    These sound way more exciting than the usual resolutions of going to the gym, etc. And now that you’ve written about them on the blog, we’ll all be following with interest to see how they go!

  8. Nina says:

    That’s a good list and I share a couple of your ‘intents’.

    Preserving – I’m very excited that I have on order a ‘Presto’ canner! It should be here any day, now. I have nothing to bottle just yet but it can sit in the middle of the table for all to admire.

    Recording keeping – oops, I always forget – I’m not so much concerned about how much I produce but when I planted and if it was successful.

    I also want to be more disciplined about spending time on the details – staking, potting on and tidying up scruffy looking veg.

    • Liz says:

      Ah yes staking – i could do with some attention in that area too – my tomatoes are looking distinctly floppy and overrun in places.

  9. Bee Girl says:

    Love this list! One of my unwritten goals for the year is to focus in on our soil as well. So important and so easily taken for granted!

    Happy 2013!!!

  10. Daphne says:

    It seems like a wonderful list.

  11. Good luck with your goals Liz and Happy New Year.

  12. Patsy says:

    That’s a great list and I’m sure you will get some of your goals met! I’m a record-keeping nut (must be my German background) but sloppy about the actual gardening part. We all have different things we’d like to improve and it’s fun to have those goals. Hope you have a wonderful and successful 2013!

  13. Happy NY! Taking care of the soil… yes, that reminds me that I should be doing more of that too…

  14. Well I have decided to give up watching cricket this year, which shouldn’t be too hard as I think watching the grass grow has to be easier…..

    Peas I love them and more broad beans fantastic.

    Enjoy the fowler.

    • Liz says:

      I have to admit I do quite enjoy my cricket so I wont join you in that one, although there were some moments from today’s play I could have done without.

  15. Balvinder says:

    Your statements of intent sounds great. I have not made any resolution for myself in fact I never made any but I have decided in my heart to spend some real time towards gardening this year.

    • Liz says:

      I hope you do garden more and enjoy it. I don’t really make resolutions either – at least not the obvious sort anyway.

  16. Balvinder says:

    By the way A very Happy New Year .
    Can I expect to see some more food posts from you in 2013.

    • Liz says:

      i was thinking the other day that its ages since I posted on food. i would like to but i’m in a bit of a food rut at the moment but it is one of my intentions for this year, so hopefully yes.

  17. Jodie says:

    Good luck Liz- I think most of those things… (1,2,3 & 5) are on my list too….. I would add getting more organised to sow seeds in advance to that list….. hopefully by reading blogs such as yours it might encourage me to get a move along!

    • Liz says:

      I’m going to sow my winter brassicas next week – I’m feeling super organised – something I’m sure wont last.

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