5 Steps to New Year Homestead Planning
The winter months are the perfect time for homestead goal-setting and new year homestead planning! There is always plenty of work to do year-round, however, the wintertime seems to be just a bit less chore-filled than the spring and summer.
Since we are in the middle of the cold season now and nearing the end of the year, I want to walk you through these 5 steps for your new year homestead planning!
Sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get planning!
New Year Homestead Planning
I find joy in sitting down with my planner and collection of spreadsheets to plan and prepare for each new season. If you aren’t a planner by nature, you can still plan efficiently. Follow these steps to get it done.
1. Evaluate the Past Year
When setting new homestead goals and resolutions, it is important to consider the successes and failures of the past year. Determine last year’s pain points and what can be done to alleviate them.
What worked well last year? How can you continue that success in the new year?
Write all of this down and use it as you work through the next four steps.
If this is your first year on the homestead, you can make a quick list of things that you would like to accomplish and work forward from there.
2. Make Decisions for the Upcoming Year
After you have made your list of successes and failures from the past year, start making decisions for the new year.
- What livestock will you raise?
- What fruits and vegetables will you grow?
- Will your garden beds be located in the same area?
- Will you add or change infrastructure?
- Should nut or fruit trees be added?
- Can you streamline homestead processes?
You don’t have to get super detailed here (we will do that in the next step). Just jot down a list of ideas for your next year on the homestead.
3. Set Actionable Homestead Goals
Now you will want to go into more detail in the new year homestead planning process.
Write down your specific goals for your next homestead year. Get specific. Add dates, numbers, and the action steps required to reach each goal.
You can work through my Homestead Goal Setting Mini-Course to set actionable and attainable goals for your homesteading year.
This little course will provide you with the worksheets that you need to keep your goals organized in 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year plans. It will also walk you through the process of setting goals that you can start taking action on ASAP.
4. Get More Specific and Track Progress
Now that you have your goals set, you need to track your progress throughout the year.
You can use the Goal + Project Planner to break your yearly goals down into specific seasons and months. You can also use it to track your important projects and to-do lists. This planning pack includes the sheets that are found within the Homestead Goal Setting Mini-Course plus a bunch more!
5. Set Financial Goals
Don’t forget to set financial goals for your homestead! Being financially secure is a big part of the homestead lifestyle. Whether you intend to make a profit or not, it is important to be intentional about the money that goes into and out of your hands.
To track your income and expenses, you can use a dedicated notebook, a digital finance tracker, or a printable Homestead Finance Tracker. You can stick this tracker in a binder and use it to keep detailed financial records that will help you to see where all of your money is going. This will also be a great help to your accountant at tax time.
You may also want to consider filing for a homestead exemption which will remove the taxes from many farm-related purchases.
My Homestead Plans & Goals for the New Year
Now that I have moved from 100 acres of land down to a ½ acre backyard within the city limits of a small town, I have to completely rethink my homestead strategies. I had a clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish and then life happened so I am creating a whole new vision.
Living “off the farm” doesn’t mean that we can’t grow and raise our own food. Here is a sneak peek into a few of my new year homestead plans for the garden, livestock, and for my household.
New Year Homestead Garden Planning
I will need to tarp my garden area at the beginning of January. This would have already been done, but we were still getting settled into the new house so it hasn’t happened yet.
After the weeds die back (probably in February), I will remove the tarp and lay down newspapers in their place. The newspapers will then be covered by 6 inches of compost and then topped with wood chips in preparation for my 2022 Back to Eden garden.
There will be two areas used for garden space. One vegetable garden in the backyard and an herb garden to the side of the house. I plan to grow mostly salad veggies, herbs, and flowers (for medicinal, culinary, and ornamental uses).
My compost pile will need to be turned and added to throughout the year. Worms should be added to speed up the decomposition process.
All of these plans will go into my printed Homestead Garden Planner so I can keep track and hold myself accountable.
In 2023, my gardens will be filled with only a few types of vegetables and flowers. I always go overboard, but I am trying very hard this year to stick to practical and intentional varieties for my family. Corn, Beans, potatoes, salad veggies, and herbs will be the bulk of it.
I also realized that the wood chips I used last year were way too fine (almost sawdust) and that prevented water from reaching the roots like it needed to. This year, I will use larger chips.
New Year Homestead Livestock Planning
Living on a small lot in town isn’t going to stop me from raising my own meat and eggs. I just had a new chicken coop built for me (I was too pregnant to try building my own again this year) and I am so excited to use it starting in the early spring.
I can’t purchase chicks this year because my outdoor shop doesn’t have electricity for a heating plate so I will be buying 6-10 juvenile laying hens. (**update, my awesome dad wired my shop so I did raise chicks) The coop is set up for easy egg collection and easy moving so my kiddos can collect the eggs and we can move the hens to a new area of grass every other day.
There is a run that I made last year that will be used for broilers. I plan to run 1-2 batches of 15 cornish cross birds through this property in 2022. That will provide my family and me with a good amount of meat to get us through the year. The less we have to rely on the grocery store, the better.
All of my livestock records will be kept within The Livestock Management Binder for easy referencing and to make next year’s planning easier.
I added meat rabbits in addition to the chickens in 2022, but I realized that I took on more than I could handle at this point in my life. For 2023 I am re-evaluating my limitations and scaling back to a more intentional and manageable setup.
The rabbits have been sold and in 2023 I will focus only on chickens for meat & eggs and honeybees. My money, time, and energy do not need to be stretched further than that right now. I don’t consider it a failure to take a step back, in fact, I consider that growth.
New Year Homemaking Skills
My sewing machine has been kept at my parent’s house because I haven’t had a good place to set it up. I want to bring it to the new house so that I can improve my sewing skills.
This will be useful for mending garments and for making new homestead supplies like this pillowcase gathering apron.
I also want to get back to cooking from scratch the way that I used to. The past year was so full of life changes that I significantly cut back on the amount of homemade food that I made for my family.
I am ready to jump back into the kitchen and share some of my favorite recipes with my kiddos and with you all!
Canning is something that I have always been hesitant about. I simply haven’t taken the time to really research and learn the ins and outs. Hot water bath canning is something that I have dabbled with, but in the upcoming year (2023) I want to dive into pressure canning as well. I will be taking canning courses and workshops to make sure that I am comfortable with my abilities.