Tomato Garden

How to Make a Homestead Plan for the Year

It is January here on the homestead. That means cold and grey winters here in Tennessee. While my winter garden is still going (sort of), I realize it is time to start planning the new year and all the projects we want to do this year.

I am a bit late on my planning this year because I often start this process around the middle of December, but as the holidays hit, I seem to have lost a few weeks. But once I caught up, I realized it was already January, and I needed to get started on the planning right away! I make a garden plan, a projects plan, and a work plan each year. I will explain each of these in more detail and give a few examples of what we have on tap for 2022.

When it comes to homesteading, planning is an integral part of the longevity of a successful homestead. I have more failed projects under my belt than I would like to admit because we didn’t plan well enough for the possible problems with those projects. So now, we pick a few projects each year to expand our homestead with and plan to keep our successful endeavors running.

A Garden Plan

Vegetable Garden

It took me many years to become a successful gardener, despite growing up in a family that had beautiful and flourishing gardens. For a few years, I thought I was doomed never to grow a beautiful garden, but with successful planning and lots of research, I had a garden that even wowed my family.

Like I mentioned earlier. Usually, these plans start in December. It’s okay if you are too! So, this week I got out my handy garden notebook and started to list out all I wanted to grow this year and the space requirements each plant would need. I also looked at my yields from last year to know exactly how many plans I would need. 

If this is your first year planning a garden, let me give you some advice. Pick five to seven plants you eat the most of and focus on those. After a successful year, expand by a few more plants and repeat until your desired goal. In my first year, I chose almost forty different plants and built ample space for all of them, but I didn’t consider how much work that would be. So always start small and move up from there.

Once I had my list planned out, I made a visual diagram of all my garden beds to see how many plants I could fit, who needed to be planted, and who couldn’t be planted together in the same beds. From there, I take an inventory of my canned and frozen goods and see how many are leftover, and adjust my plans as needed. For instance, I will only be planting two cucumber plants this year because we still have so many jars of pickles from last year.

Once the plans are made, I inventory my seeds and see what I need to buy. Usually, we would head to our local farm co-op, but this year I am going through a seed company. Here is the company we ordered from this year.

This year one of our projects is to expand our garden by several more beds and space for fruit trees. This means I will have more room to grow twice as many plants, but I also consider the amount of work this will be.

For our garden planning, we also plan to start gathering our mason jars and freezer bags early throughout the year, so we do not have to worry about running out during harvest season.

Project Planning

Each year we start our year planning out our projects. We usually aim for 1 to 2 big projects, so they are more attainable. When we do our project planning, we look at all the projected costs and over budget, yes, over budget. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a project and realizing you need more supplies, or the supplies were more expensive. Plan out as many details of your projects as you can. This helps a lot when it comes time to do the projects.

One of the projects we have planned this year in addition to our garden expansion is setting up mushroom log towers. We love mushrooms, and we thought it would be a fun experience to grow them ourselves. This endeavor has been almost two years in the making. Our first year we decided to learn everything we could about growing mushrooms and now we feel like we are ready to start this project!

A Work Plan

Making Plans for the Year

Homesteads are a lot of work, but I also work from home and homeschool our kids, so our daily lives require a bit more planning. In addition to our weekly and monthly plans, I like to set up a goal or plans list for our work for the year. This can include blog posts, podcast episodes, workshops I will teach, school plans, and what tasks need to be completed around the homestead.

Because my fight with Multiple Sclerosis is ongoing and unpredictable, I try to set up as many plans as possible so things are manageable or so I can be prepared ahead. These plans help me live the life I love, even through the rough patches of this disease.

Each year I watch our plans grow and change, but they seem to come to life in their own way as the year passes. I look forward to each day on this beautiful journey.

Let us know some of your plans for 2022! We would love to hear from you!

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