In January I wrote a post with nine self sufficiency goals for 2015, they were pretty ambitious.
So how did I do?
Increase my growing area - Well I certainly did this. I created a whole new veg garden and although I didn't keep on top of it as much as I would have liked, it produced loads of produce with some food still being in the ground in there now (as well as 150 young apple trees growing on).
I also made some new raised beds in my main veg garden to grow more unusual veg.
We also rented an extra ten acres of land next door to our homestead so this has given us more opportunities to expand in other directions!
Produce more protein on the homestead - With the purchase of 32 sheep and lambs I think we've certainly hit this target, even if we've not tasted any of it yet! We also ate a few cockerels and I grew chickpeas (that the mice ate!).
great compost bins back in March but I haven't used them to their full potential yet and I need to rotate them more often.
Look at experimenting with growing staples - I did a lot of research into this area and read books about growing grain on a small scale but I'm not sure I did that well. I did grow a lot more potatoes this year and New Zealand yams, which are both a great source of carbohydrates. I also grew some chickpeas and sweetcorn but neither crop were successful.
Increase my number of herbs and spices - I did manage to buy a few more herbs that we now use and grow. The best was the Vietnamese coriander which I'd like to grow each year now as a great addition to curries and salads. I also grew papalo but was somewhat disappointed with it, it was hard to germinate and then the taste wasn't what I was expecting as a replacement for coriander.
Improve my food storage - This I have done in spades! I've done loads more preserving and also started to learn how to can fruit, My dehydrator has been on more this year than for any I can remember and although the dried apples don't last long the girls enjoy them! I have jars of raspberries to use in cakes and cookies as well. Maybe this year I'll buy a bigger one.
I have also sorted out a dedicated area to keep the produce that we grow but more on that another time.
Seed Saving - I said I wanted to save much more seed and start keeping plants apart to do this. I have saved quite a bit of seed from plants that we already grow but done little other than research for selecting plants and using biennials, I have brought two books on the subject and learnt a lot but I'm yet to put it into practice. I might keep my best parsnips from this winter and try to get them to go to seed this year to have my own seed that I've selected.
Firewood - I increased the willow coppice this year and planted lots more varieties. they've all grown and done quite well but are a while off being firewood yet! My brother and I did pollard some trees and produced a lot of firewood from them as well as cutting up storm damage. I should have done much more with seasoning it though! We've certainly got enough for this winters firewood and some of next years as well, my job helps with firewood as well.
Baking - Well I've baked more last year than ever before. The girls and me have baked dozens of cakes and hundreds of cookies and I managed to start and use a sour dough culture for the first few months of the year. Since my wife brought me a bread maker we've been using it most days and buy very little bread now, I love having fresh bread each day and can't imagine going back to buying it like we used to.
So I don't think I did too bad with my goals although there's always more I could do and areas to concentrate on. I think this year I'll do goals to do with our home life as well, improving the house, the extension being a big one!
What areas do you think I should concentrate on going into 2016?