I'm down the rabbit hole trying to understand crop planning with a spreadsheet that seems to get wider and wider with every bit of data I'd like to collect. Have tried general planning tools, but often plants I wish to sow are not on those lists, so having to collect my own data.
Of course this will all become easier with experience, but for now, I need an easier way to keep on track!
I currently have a notebook where I list sowing dates, when I pot up the plants and how many I get, then hopefully when and where I put them in the garden.
Would love to see what sort of tools/spreadsheets/etc. y'all use to document your garden
Mr. Lofthouse is right, but I enjoy planning and sketching my garden. For me it's part of the fun, especially before I can actually plant. I have 6 raised beds different sizes, and some whiskey barrels and some large plastic pots. I have used graph paper to map out the basic size and shape. I copy it so I don't have to figure it out every year. I make a list of everything I want to plant. I check a few charts I have printed, and made for myself for companion plants. I decide what should go where. When I plant I write what I actually planted, the date and details. This is helpful if you are still getting a feel for what you like. I planted 4 types of peas this year. Two I didn't like, and if I didn't write it down, next year I may plant the peas I didn't like again. But now I can avoid them and try something else. I enjoy doing it this way. There is a good planner at
The Old Farmer's Almanac Garden Planner <email@example.com> It does the work for you. I think gardening is very individual. Grow what you like and spend as much time as you need. My mom and dad always had a bountiful garden, and they rota-tilled every spring and planted everything is a group in rows, and that worked well for them. I have raised beds, and while I always add compost and other organic stuff before I plant, I never till. Nothing is in a row, and there is always a variety of veggies and eatable flowers in my garden. I hate to say this out loud, I often have a successful garden that rarely has pests, or disease. I guess what I'm trying to say is do what makes you happy. Enjoy your successes and learn from your mishaps.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” — Abraham Lincoln
Years ago we bought a kit that had a base that you could design the garden using the dry erase pens. Then there were sheets that told all about each plant and another that explained about companion plants.
I still have it as I do refer to the plant info.
Most of the garden planners I found online are something that the service wants you to buy, like an app. Here is one from Mother Earth News:
I too have a spreadsheet that borders on the overwhelming, so much so I no longer touch it. As an alternative, during the long gray winter days this year, I spent some time researching my favorite vegetables to grow. I broke them down into what I deemed the most important categories - frost hardy, not frost hardy, cold season and warm season, short season harvest and regular/long harvest (based on the number of days from planting to harvest). I hesitate to say those categories are the 'most' important, but in my experience, a killing frost on early tomatoes has been more crucial than the pH of my soil. I find that only 3 or 4 categories of information keeps it less overwhelming.
I do some season extension with an unheated plastic hoop house, so it was important for me to know which hardy greens I could grow for year long salad (we are zone 5, so it is possible to keep semi-frost hardy plants going under plastic). I've attached a PDF copy of my most helpful sheet thus far. Feel free to use and abuse as fits your needs.
I keep an excel spreadsheet with a cell for each bed in my garden. Each year I copy the cells over to the right and change the year at the top. I the move them up 4 spots to do my "crop rotation". I also decide during the winter if I grew too much or too little of anything and fiddle with the plan a bit. This could easily be done on paper instead.
When I first set it up I spent a lot of time making sure the nitrogen fixers were spaced out and that the hungrier crops followed them in the rotation. I also wanted to make sure a particular crop didn't land in the same spot two years in a row.
To determine when to start seeds, I just have a running list of all the plants I start and what date to do it on. If I'm planting the starts out into the garden and realize they're too big or little, I adjust the date for the next year.
"Hundreds of years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in or the type of car I drove... But the world may be different because I did something so bafflingly crazy that it becomes a tourist destination"
Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish. -Euripides A foolish tiny ad: