31 January, 2011

To do list for 2011

Where did January go, I can't believe it's almost the end of the month. I've got to make time to finish some half-written posts and read what my fellow veg growers have been up to. I thought I'd start the year by making a short list of things I'm hoping to do this year. Better late than never!

1. Go foraging. I got a lovely foraging guide called Food for Free for Christmas. I want to put it to good use and try to find some wild food on our plates while we're out and about. So far I've only succeeded to find wild garlic, but I'm hoping the illustrations will make me more confident in identifying edible plants.  

2. Go berry picking. My berries never make it to the kitchen, so I'd like to go to a Pick Your Own farm and fill my freezer with gorgeous berries for some winter smoothies. I mean to do this every year, but hopefully I'll get round to it this year.

3. Succeed in successional sowing. I always rush to sow lots of salad leaves and then forget to sow some more later. This summer, I'll try to remember to sow little and often to keep a steady supply.

4. Grow more herbs. We still have lots of room in the raised bed (which was hastily moved before the arrival of the chickens) so I'm hoping to add to our small herb garden and get some more unusual herbs to add new flavours to my cooking.

5. Grow something new. I try to grow something new each year and this year it's going to be artichokes. I've already got some Jerusalem artichoke tubers (no worries people, winter savory is on its way!) ready to go in and I've ordered a globe artichoke to be planted in the spring. I want to grow them not only for the plate, but for their beautiful flower heads as well.

6. Master the art of composting. This year I'm on a mission to make some amazing compost with the help of some chicken poo.

7. Cooking in our summer kitchen. We often cook and eat in the garden when the weather is nice, but so far it's been pretty much the same thing all over again. I'd like to try new things next summer, recipes to follow!

8. Grow winter greens. I haven't managed to grow anything edible (minus some hardy herbs) that will last well into the winter, mainly because we always go nuts in the autumn and start rearranging everything in the garden. Now that we're finally happy with where everything is, I'm hoping to leave some hardy salad leaves in the ground and keep picking them well into the winter.

9. Make more preserves. Another Christmas present, River Cottage Preserves, will come handy when it's time to make jams and pickles. Last year I tried a few things and they were such a success (they disappeared quite sharpish from the larder), so I can't wait to try preserving more fruit and veg this year. Chilli jam proved especially popular with both me and Hubby, so I'll be making a bigger batch (or three) this time.

10. Don't forget to blog! I hope I will manage to keep this up as it's becoming a good collection of my favourite recipes and both veg growing and chicken keeping related tips and reminders for those days I really appreciate that my head is firmly screwed on.