Perennial Plans

Ray and I sat down and reviewed the plans I’d drawn up for the swale, fedge and vineyard. We made a list of goals to accomplish this year and organized it by want vs. need with a spot for cost and time. Then, we prioritized the list.

Want/Need Cost Time-Days Want Need Priority
Plant – see list x 1A
Enough starts to give/sell x 1B
Skid steer tires 1 x 1C
Get more egg layers 1 x 1D
Paths between rows on ALL gardens 2 x 1E
Mulch, mulch, mulch! 5 x 1F
Cover crop swales, red clay 1 x 2A
Wheelbarrow 1 x 2B
Fill in swale with productive plants 5 x 2C
Fill in swale with support species 5 x 2D
Rain catchment off shed x 2E
Get ducks x 2F
Powered chicken coop x 2G
Check out Midwest Permaculture x 2H
Propagate and move plants in fedge to swale and vineyard 5 x 3A
Plant a lot of comfrey x 3B
Reorg shed x 3C
Edge kitchen garden/back gardens x 3D
Edge strawberry/rose garden x 3E
Plant more hops x 3F
Hops in west side of pasture x 3G
Plant bamboo in pasture (clumping) x 3H
Get meat birds x 3I
Power/water shed x 3J
Well by shed x 3K
Fairy ring with sunflowers/chokes x 3L
Put a pond in x 3M
Water test x 3N
Inspect septic system x 3O

Looks like a lot doesn’t it? When we first made the list I was overwhelmed and felt a little tingle of panic. Panic that there won’t be enough time to do everything. Panic that we were taking on too much.

But, once we’d prioritized everything, I realized that some things would only take a day, some a half day and others a few hours or less. So I felt a lot better.

We, of course, have planting at the top of the list, followed by having a enough starts to sell or give away.

I’d really like to get into the business of selling starts at a farmer’s market. So many people sell produce, but there are usually only a couple of stands selling starts.

Plus, then I’ll be able to put energy into harvesting and sharing with family and friends or setting up an on-your-honor stand at the house.

A big goal I have is to put paths in between the rows of all beds. This is categorized as a need as it will help us avoid compacting the soil too much and will control some of the weeds that try to take over. Plus, it will just look nice.

Another biggie is to propagate from our existing plants (trees, fruit bushes, etc) and plant support species in the swale. We have a ton of productive plants already–apple trees, nut trees, cherry trees, pear trees–around 136 to be exact. But we only have around 15 support species.

The support species will attract more beneficial insects. They will fix helpful nutrients like nitrogen into the soil, food for the product plants. They work as perennial companion plants.

We also need to get more hens. That’s right, it’s a need. I won’t go back to store-bought eggs unless absolutely necessary. There are only so many eggs a chicken has and our girls are just about out. At the end of this season, they will graduate to meat birds that will stock our freezer.

I’m not too attached to them so I won’t be too torn up about this. I actually think they are sort of creepy with their beady little eyes and habit of trying to peck my hands any time I pick them up. So, I don’t think I’ll be very sad at graduation.

In total, we have 25 items on our list–13 of them are wants and 16 are needs. Some of them we won’t get to this year and we will probably add more as we go along.

I no longer feel that flush of panic, just excitement and eagerness to get started.

For the vineyard, swale and fedge
And for all our garden beds
We have listed wants and needs
Now it’s time to plant the seeds

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