Thursday, February 19, 2015

I mentioned a few posts ago that I had worked up a spread sheet that incorporated sowing, planting and harvests dates so here I'm going to share a sample of the 2014 document.
As I mentioned in that previous post I have been keeping very detailed records of my harvests for the past 5 years and I'm working on doing the same for seeding and transplanting dates. I was pretty good at keeping track in 2014 so it's the first year that I've been able to work up a pretty complete schedule. It took a long time to pull all that information together so I'm selfishly keeping the rest of the schedule to myself.

There's two lines for every single vegetable that I grew and/or harvested last year. The first line for each veggie shows the date that I sowed the seeds or set out the transplants. The second line shows each harvest date in brown. There's a separate column for each month of the year. There's also a column to show dates for vegetables sown the previous year and additional columns for veggies harvested in the next year. There's still one more month of data to input when February of this year is over and perhaps I'll add one more column to show harvests after February. It makes it easy to see at a glance how long it took from sowing or planting to the first harvest. I've included each harvest to indicate frequency of harvests. I toyed with the idea of adding one more column to show total harvest weights, but decided not to because that seems like TMI, I want to use this schedule for planning when to sow and how to plan successions, harvests weights don't really come into play for that.

My 2015 schedule is already set up and should be easy to keep up with on a weekly basis or so. One thing that I want to work on this year is adding a few more notes, such as disease or pest problems, things to look out for in the future, or unusual weather such as extreme heat or freezes. I think I should also add some tentative dates for when I should be sowing some crops, add another color to the line of sowing/planting out dates.

Here's another sample of my record keeping, I use iCloud Notes to record my garden activities, below is a cut a paste of January's notes. I have an iPad that sits on my kitchen counter most of the time and whenever I plan on sowing seeds I sit at the counter, make out my labels, and record it in my notes. When I come in from the garden I try to make a note of what I've done. I start a new note each month. This is the method that I use for keeping track of my harvests as well. Since the notes are kept in the cloud I can easily access them when I work on my desktop computer and input the data into my spreadsheets. At the end of the month I email a copy of the note to myself to keep a backup copy. Easy, really, it is.

January Sowing and Planting

Jan. 3
- Candy, Red Candy Apple, and Superstar onion seedlings set out
-- 1 row each of 22 plants, 4" spacing
-- 1 row, ~15 plants each, 2" spacing

Jan. 4
Spigariello Foglia Liscia - 4"
Broccolo Spigariello - 4" (none germinated, old seeds)
Purple Peacock broccoli - 4"
Atlantis Brokali - 4"
Pixie cabbage - 4"
Zebrune shallots - 4"

Jan. 13
Set out bareroot strawberries - 9 Albion & 9 Seascape
Pulled all carrots

Jan. 15
Set out Rossa Lunga di Firenza onions, 2 inch spacing

Jan. 16
Set out Tonda Musona Bianca onions, 2-inch spacing

Set out Zebrune shallots, 4-inch spacing

Jan. 18
Red Iceberg - 4"
Reine des Glaces - 4"
Rhapsody butterhead - 4"
Ruby Gem romaine - 4"
Sweetie Baby romaine - 4"

Jan. 24
Set out second round of Zebrune shallots, 4-inch spacing
Sowed cilantro by Favas
Scattered Golden Corn Salad between strawberry plants and around favas
Potted up Atlantis Brokali

Jan. 25
Removed Di Ciccio broccoli

Jan. 26
Removed Golden Sweet snow and Super Sugar Snap peas

Jan. 28
Potted up Purple Peacock broccoli

Jan. 30
Cleared out China Rose radishes
Cut back Speedy arugula nearly to the ground since it was bolting

I'm finding that the better I am at keeping records that the better my garden becomes. My memory is terrible, I can't possibly remember everything I've done in the garden or everthing that needs to be done and when, especially when. There's so many things I've not grown because I've missed the correct time to get them started. Going back through my blog is always interesting and informative, but it takes too much time, I hope that my new schedule will provide at-a-glance information to help me hone my gardening skills.


  1. Records help me a lot too. Though I don't keep records on my planner about when I harvest. My planting schedule is a lot easier than yours since I have a start and an end to the growing year. Since I can't grow year round things aren't as fluid. I typically have two kinds of crops, warm season and cool season. The cool season crops can be planted in spring or summer and I can get two crops out of one bed in a year. The warm season crops pretty much get the bed for the whole year. I can plant really short season crops like spinach, radishes, and baby Asian greens before they get planted, and the melons come out early enough to get the overwintered spinach in, but that is about it. So rotations are very limited. Your planning must be much harder than mine is.

  2. Ditto on keeping records - I'm with you on the whole bad memory bit.

    I tend to use Excel for most things & am still trying to fine tune my charts/schedules/etc. The hardest part is definitely at the beginning, when you are trying to get everything set up. But what a time saver once it is (mostly) this stage I still do a lot of tinkering. And like you said, the better my notes & schedule modifications, the better my garden seems to do.

  3. I'm nowhere near as organised as that! but then, I have a smaller garden to organize! A rough sketch on a piece of A4 paper suffices for me. These days I have a pretty good feel for what needs to be done when. It's just the unusual ones that I have to be careful with.

  4. I'm another big fan of record keeping. You do a great job of not only capturing the data but also organizing it! My planting and seeding spreadsheet isn't as visual as yours, but it has all the info I need. I keep a separate one for harvests. There's no way I could remember it all, and I try and capture as much as I can as it's happening.

  5. Thanks for sharing you detail record keeping method, I planting spreadsheet is similar to yours but not as detail, my garden is small it's easy to spot which veg needs to go in and out, my favorite planting time is fall and it's always a struggle to find space for all the brassicas I want to grow.

  6. That is excellent, thanks for sharing. Love your detailed analysis. Seems like the simple spreadsheet is the way to go since you can see everything at a glance.

  7. An interesting take on planning for your long season. I have just one shot at it, so seed starting and transplant dates, plus a layout plan for the garden, are my two essential tools. I plan a few succession crops, but depending on conditions they don't always make it into the garden.


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