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By Monica Mansfield

January 5, 2017

 

The New Year is here and there is a blanket of snow on the ground here at our homestead.  Although it is fun to get outside and play in the snow with the dogs, it is even nicer to go back inside to a warm, cozy home and enjoy crockpot meals, movies, good books...and planning next year's garden.

 

This is our first year on our new homestead, and it will be the largest garden I've planned yet.  The seed catalogs are tempting me to plant more varieties than I have room for, and I have lofty goals of filling my pantry for next winter.  It is easy to get overwhelmed with so many options.  Other homesteaders have advised me to take it slow and I'm trying to listen and benefit from the wisdom of their experience.

 

In the spirit of big yet manageable goals, and avoiding overwhelm, I have created a Homestead Garden Planner for myself.  I always find that my mind works better when I am organized.

 

In my planner, I have created worksheets to help me set goals for my pantry and then work backwards to decide which crops I should plant.  For example, I know I want to can plenty of salsa, pickles and dilly beans this year (my mouth is already watering), so I know I need to plant plenty of tomatoes, onions, peppers, cucumbers, beans, dill and garlic.

 

I have also included design pages so I can decide where I want to plant each crop.  This helps me not to plant too much or too little of any one thing, and also allows me to plan out my companion planting.  For example, I know I'll plant beans and corn together because this combo yields better results.

 

I've created many tracking sheets to chart my progress and give me a reference guide for next year's garden.  One of my favorites gives me a space to track which varieties of each vegetable I plant, how much I liked their flavor, how pest- and disease-resistant they were, and what kind of yield I got.  Once I find my favorite strains, I will plant them over and over again.  When you save your own seeds year after year, your plants become acclimated to your garden and do better with each harvest.

 

I've also created a Barter and Trade Network spreadsheet.  It is hard to be completely self-sufficient on your own, but if you have a network of family and friends that you trade with, it becomes much easier.  This spreadsheet makes it simple to see who I trade pickles with for handmade soap, or smoked salmon for deer.

 

Goals are much easier when you break them down into manageable tasks, so for this reason, I've included yearly, monthly and weekly calenders.  The year-at-a-glance calender shows me the main chores I must do each month, and then I can break them down into weekly and daily chores on the other calenders.  The monthly calender gives me a space to track the weather, so I have a rough idea of what to expect next year.

 

Armed with my Homestead Garden Planner, I feel much more confident that this year's garden will be a success.  As they say, proper planning prevents poor performance.

 

I would like to share my planner with you.  I support anyone who is living, or trying to live, a more self-sufficient, self-sustainable lifestyle, and this kind of lifestyle begins in the garden.

 

Whether you are a seasoned pro or you are planting your first garden ever, I believe my planner will help you grow a successful harvest and fill your pantry with delicious, healthy, homegrown foods for you and your family.

 

My Homestead Garden Planner is my gift to you, absolutely free, no strings attached.  I just want to see you succeed.

 

Enter your email below and I will send you a link to download the planner today.

 

All the best to you and your family in 2017.  May your harvest be great, your home be warm, and your loved ones be close.

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