One of the lessons I’m learning the more I garden is that a little organization goes a long way. I don’t really want to embrace this concept. There is a part of me that wants to think of gardening as organic, natural and very much at one with the Earth (and the earth). Then there’s the other part of me that reluctantly realizes that at least some parts of gardening are much easier when you have a plan.
Last year I tried to use a journal for the first time. It went well until June when I never wrote in it again and a few readers urged me to keep up with it. And sure enough I found myself reaching for it this weekend to check when I’d planted some seeds last year.
I’m also fully in the throes of trying to figure out what seeds I need to buy this year. In the past, this was simply a matter of making a list of what I wanted to grow and ordering it. Sure, I had a gallon-sized zip-top bag stuffed with seed packets, but I rarely ventured near it, just ordering new seeds. It wasn’t that I didn’t like what was in that bag; it’s that I didn’t know what was in there.
So I’ve stepped up my organization game a bit. There’s that journal I mentioned. Last year I also bought a Seedkeeper, so I could actually find the seeds I owned. And this year I added one more item to my organization arsenal: I made a spreadsheet of what I ordered. The fact that I’m writing about this as though this is a novel concept is more a reflection of my utter lack of awareness of how disorganized I was in the past rather than any belief on my part that I’m the first to do this.
The fact is, I order seeds from a lot of different sources over the course of several months and there is no way I can keep track of what is coming from where, much less remember everything I ordered. Hence the spreadsheet. That, along with the planting sheet that I will update to include anything I will plant from seed with information on when and how to plant, is my guide to this seed season. (Here’s a downloadable version of my planting sheet from last year. Keep in mind that the dates are specific to my last frost dates and will likely be different for you. Here’s how I collect all the information on that sheet.)
It’s not rocket science. Heck, it’s not even close. It’s a damn spreadsheet. Why didn’t I think of that before?
How do you stay organized when planning your garden?