I’m a total geek when it comes to New Years and New Years Resolutions. I love the start of new calendars, the blank pages of new journals, and the time dedicated to New Years Resolutions. Regardless if you’re like me, and love love love resolutions, or you’re part of the growing population who thinks new year resolutions are bullshit, if you’re a gardener or urban homesteader, there are 6 things that you should always abide by, New Years or not.
Don’t Bring Home Plants Unless you have Space Prepped
Really, this should be the code of gardeners. Except we would all just see it as a guideline, and say to hell with the code, and buy the plant anyways. Where it will then sit in it’s pot and get root bound or forgotten to be watered, and they eventually die. Wasting money and the life of the plant. If you are a gardener, you know you’re guilty of this. I for sure am. So in 2017, let’s make it our resolution to NOT BRING HOME PLANTS UNTIL WE ARE READY FOR THEM!!! I’ll do it if you do it!
Make a Plan
Before diving full force into any new project, make a plan. This could be a small plan for growing tomatoes, or a big plan like adding chickens to your garden. Either way, make a plan. Where will you get the materials? What do you need to buy? How much do you need?
Too many projects are brainstormed and started while walking the aisles of the nursery or store. I am guilty a thousand times over of not making a plan. Getting 3 new pullets might be a brillant idea while you’re at the feedstore, but when you get home you realize your coop is much to small. Buying raspberry cans might seem like a good plan when you’re at the nursery and they are on sale, but at home, you realize you have no place to plant them. A well thought-out project is crucial to avoid wasting money, time, and the frustration when something inevitably goes wrong.
Step back, go home, and make a detailed plan for how to achieve the new project. Do any tasks needed PRIOR to bringing home the plants/chickens/paint/etc.
If you are a new gardener, a new homesteader, or even an experienced one expanding your projects, remember to start small. It’s SUPER easy to get overwhelmed. I know this will be my biggest issue at my new garden. I literally must think I have super strength, a plush bank account, and a hundred daylight hours a day (which, obviously, I have none of). I want to do ALL OF THE THINGS ALL RIGHT NOW. Instead, I need to choose ONE task, and work on it until complete. First, I’ll build the chicken pen. Then, I’ll build raised beds. Then, I’ll buy plants. I won’t build bring chickens home, then buy plants, then put up chicken wire, then build a bed, etc. I won’t. I promise. It’s my New Years Resolution.
Don’t Do Everything Yourself
As homesteaders, we often get in the mentality that we have to do everything ourselves. Homesteading might mean striving for self-sufficiency, but it doesn’t mean not asking for help. There is extreme value in doing something yourself, but that doesn’t have to mean BY yourself. Ask a friend. Ask a neighbor. If you get stuck, hire a professional. In all the projects we undertook at our Santa Rosa home, I didn’t ask for help for a single one. Not building the fence, not moving mulch, not painting, not laying the hardwood floor, etc. Life would have been easier if I would have asked for help.
Homesteading also doesn’t mean you have to do ALL OF THE THINGS. Just because you can jam, doesn’t mean you also need to make your own butter. Especially if you are new to self-resiliency, choose one project and get good at it, before adding new tasks to your day. If your goal is to cook at home, because you currently just eat out, start with pasta in a box and sauce from a jar. Don’t jump right in and think you need to grow the wheat, make the pasta, make the sauce, etc., You’ll get overwhelmed, say f’this, and then just go right back to the restaurant.
If it’s not fun, don’t do it
This might not be relevant to basic chores like doing the dishes (because who the hell actually enjoys doing dishes???), but when it comes to homesteading and gardening, you should be doing these tasks because you enjoy them. As mentioned in the new years resolution before, we sometimes get in the mindset that we have to do all of the things. But that’s the benefit of modern dayurban homesteading, you don’t have to- you still have stores and the market and other resources. If you hate starting seeds from scratch, then don’t do it. Buy starts at the nursery instead. Hate making bread at home? Then don’t do it, buy it at the farmers makert. Have no interest in making your own clothes? Then don’t do it, and go shopping instead.
Learn something new
As gardeners, we are constantly learning. And part of homesteading is learning a new skill to impress our friends and help us survive the zombie apocalypse. My 2017 new years resolutions include learning how to make soap, how to identify birds based off of song, and how to dye fabric with plant materials.
Any other new year resolutions you’d add to this list? Leave me a comment and let me know!