Happy New Year! While there are still a few more days left in 2022, I’m always glad to welcome a new year. I am excited to see what 2023 has in store. Do you have any farming resolutions? Think how much can be accomplished in 365 days!
I’m already making plans for farming projects I intend to tackle in 2023. I suppose you could call them New Year’s resolutions, but I think of them more as inspiration, both for myself and (hopefully) for readers.
I’ve shared my farming resolutions every year since 2016. The goal of this annual exercise isn’t to compile a list of resolutions that must be followed at all costs. Rather, I hope to encourage proactive thinking about fun projects to accomplish during the coming year.
With this goal in mind, here are five of my 2023 New Year’s farming resolutions.
1. Run Garden Hoses to My Orchard
The young orchard I started planting in 2018 is thriving. Every year I expand it a little bit, focusing the last couple of years on adding a garden section with raised beds for growing corn and pumpkins. But my orchard is about 600 feet away from the nearest water source. And the 35-gallon leg tank I’ve traditionally used to supplement rainfall is no longer a time-efficient way to keep everything watered.
I’ve thought about getting a second (or larger) tank. But after reevaluating my options I’ve decided to run a long line of garden hoses to my orchard instead.
I experimented with hoses a couple months ago and found water pressure was still suitable even across the 600-foot distance. So in 2023 I intend to run hoses directly to my garden beds and simplify the process of watering everything thoroughly.
2. Continue Post-Storm Tree Cleanup
The impact of the powerful December 2021 thunderstorm that blew down a couple dozen trees across my farm can still be felt. While I made great progress addressing the biggest messes in 2022 (calling in professionals was a big help), there’s still more to be done in 2023.
As soon as the ground dries out sufficiently in spring to allow a tractor and cart to drive around without risk of getting stuck, I’ll resume cleanup with an eye on completely conquering the storm debris
3. Prune My Fruit Trees
Many of the young fruit trees in my orchard grew with incredible vigor in 2022. It was by far their best year so far from a growing standpoint, suggesting the trees are settling in nicely and hopefully preparing to produce impressive fruit crops in the coming years.
But left unsupervised, fruit trees don’t necessarily grow in the best manner for fruit production. Some of the branches on my trees are lower than I would prefer for mowing. Others are a bit too upright, or too long and gangly.
My fruit trees need corrective pruning to shape them favorably for healthy and productive lives. You can bet I’ll be busy with my pruning tools in late winter.
4. Invest in Anvil Pruning Loppers
This is actually unrelated to Resolution 3, because anvil pruning loppers aren’t really suitable for cleanly cutting delicate live growth. But the crushing strength of anvil pruning loppers (as opposed to the slicing action of bypass pruning loppers) makes them perfect for removing limbs from dead trees and cutting up fallen branches.
A pair of anvil pruning loppers will serve me well as I execute Resolution 2.
5. Build a Bridge in My Orchard
For a couple of years now I’ve wanted to build a wooden bridge over a low spot in my orchard where water gathers in the spring and after heavy rainfalls. I’ve already removed sod from along the path of this natural “stream” and backfilled it with rounded stones, giving the impression of a streambed. I’ve also planted water-loving irises along the banks.
Building the bridge is high on my list of “just for fun” projects in 2023. It will serve as the focal point of a highly picturesque orchard area.
What are your New Year’s farming resolutions for 2023?