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Old 02-04-2017, 08:21 AM
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I like to write down everything about what I do and what I plant in my garden. I do this every year. What kind of compost did I put on the garden, what seeds I plant, the dates I planted and the dates I harvested, where did I purchase my seeds, how much rain did we get each month, how well did the plant produce, etc. etc.
I do this just on plain paper that I keep on my computer. It lets me look at what I have done each year and I add notes to ways which I can improve for the next year.
I was wondering what means do you all record your gardening? I googled this and found a ton of apps and templates on the internet. Maybe one works better than the way I've been doing so I'm always looking for ways to improve.
Thanks for any feedback.
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Old 02-05-2017, 02:41 PM
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Let me say up front that I'm a data junkie and addicted to using Excel spreadsheets for lots of stuff. Almost downright anal about them. LOL! Comes from having done them a lot in my previous employment life. But they are sooo handy for capturing garden information.

This is part of last year's spread for the garden:



Things highlighted in orange are fall plantings. Things in red are items done the previous year but being dropped this particular year. Things in green have already been started. That way I can easily see what's left to do.

In the cells with the plant names I have the year the seed was bought and how long until maturity. And it always is handy to know who you got the seed from. Of course, I will plead guilty to not keeping up with some stuff like germination dates, etc but I now carry a small 3x5 notebook in the garden and jot stuff like that down so I don't forget to enter it into the spreadsheet at the end of the day.

I also use a spreadsheet to map the garden and have it scaled to one foot per cell. This is the top half of last year's garden. It works for me because I have permanent raised beds. The beds are color coded by plant family and that helps me when figuring crop rotation.



The third thing I use is a garden task list in a Word document. I break the year up into weeks 1-52 and using the previous year's list, I build this year's list. That way I get stuff done as I go along and not realize at the last minute that geez, I'm planting peas next week and haven't prepped the beds yet! Having the task list has really made the gardening process smoother. Of course, there will always be flies in the ointment, like having part of the garden flooded by torrential rain so it can't be tilled, etc. But the task can be rescheduled with a quick cut and paste. Sample:

Week 9 (Feb 26-Mar 4)
Examine/fix/replace all trellises on ends of beds
Fertilize garlic with 8.5 oz of 10-10-10 per 18’.

Week 10 (Mar 5-11)
6th-7th Start eggplants
6th-7th Start sweet peppers
6th-7th Start ground cherrys
6th-7th transplant 1st kohlrabi
Treat ant mounds
Fertilize blueberries with 3-4 oz 4-8-8 Azalea fert 18” circle around plants

Week 11 (Mar 12-18)
13th-15th Sow 2nd beets
13th-15th Sow 2nd carrots
13th-15th sow 2nd radishes

I have it all in blue type and then change it to black as the task has been done. Putting this together is something I do over the winter when I can sit and mull over what worked, what didn't and what should be done at a different time.

I'm sure there are other great ways to capture notes and data but this works for me.
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Old 02-05-2017, 02:50 PM
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I forgot about one more spreadsheet I keep and that's for plant treatments. The first column is the date the treatment occurred.
The second is what plant was treated.
The third is what was done, i.e. insecticidal soap spray, fertilizer app, etc.
The fourth is for "target" if the treatment was for pest or disease so it might say "aphids" or "cabbage loopers".

Sure beats wondering, "Now when did I fertilize that and with what?"

Or you can look back at last year's list and see when those tomato hornworms actually started showing up so you can look for them again this year.

Come to think of it, I have another spread and that's for Spring Signs, like when a certain group of daffodils started blooming, when the cedar waxwings first showed up, when the Bradford pears started blooming, etc. Looks like so far that stuff is about two weeks early this year.
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Old 02-05-2017, 06:47 PM
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I'm a tad more casual than Weedinhoe (altho I'm jealous of the spreadsheets, I simply wouldn't ever update them). I do draw garden maps to know what I planted where. I mark the date of planting in the ground (not seed starting)... make note of any problems... and if I have time & remember to do it... try to estimate the total harvest. Either in pecks/bushels or pints/quarts.

I will also make weather notes; comments on any four-footed sneaks; general observations - is the soil really dry, needs watering twice a day - and other conditions.
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Old 02-05-2017, 07:31 PM
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Thanks to the both of you! I love gardening. Weedinhoe, you're spreadsheet is amazing
Old 02-06-2017, 08:27 AM
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Thanks, but the main thing is to find a way easiest for you to capture what information you want to keep. Then the biggest challenge is to actually capture the info as you go along. But the more you do it, the more habitual it becomes. I doubt it will ever become automatic.
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Old 02-06-2017, 09:56 PM
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I look at spreadsheets at work, and its a chore. Some place I would rather not be. Gardening to me is fun, relaxing, & productive. I barely mark my seedlings, let alone, keep spreed sheets. If I need a spreed sheet to garden, I'll just quit.
I've planted a garden for over forty years. I've made very few changes as to how its done, seed varieties, and seed companies. Instead of planting three plants, I suggest growing enough of each crop to suffice a family for a year. I bet you remember weather it was a good crop or not when you go hungry.
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Old 02-07-2017, 07:32 PM
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I was looking over my notes from last year and saw that I planted seedlings in early March. That helps me to know how much time I have. I need to have more information regarding the seeds I plant, where I bought them, etc. Excel might be the way to go.
Old 02-11-2017, 11:03 AM
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I get a paper calendar in a book style form. About 8 by 11 inches. Each day in a month has its own block for writing down what I did on that day. I include temperature, rain if any, frost if any and what I planted or transplanted.

As an example: on the eighth I tilled the garden and put down some (80 lbs) of domolite lime.
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Old 02-16-2017, 10:29 AM
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I'm getting ready to subscribe to the Old Farmer's Almanac garden planner.
Old 02-17-2017, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Darwath View Post
I'm getting ready to subscribe to the Old Farmer's Almanac garden planner.
Please let us know what you think of it once you've used it a while.
Old 02-17-2017, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weedinhoe View Post
Please let us know what you think of it once you've used it a while.
I did the free trial of it a couple years ago and liked it. I apparently failed to utilize all the features I could have, plus they've added stuff since then. It's kind of like with a word processor or spread sheet, you really need to explore and pay attention to what all those buttons at the top do if you want to appreciate the program's full capabilities.
Old 02-17-2017, 07:35 PM
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Although we use a 'notebook' to write down bits and pieces, I've often thought about making a 'deck' of recipe cards. Each with a task and info, with a "Julian day #" in the top corner (in pencil). Keep the deck sorted by the "day #" and work your way through it. If you think it should happen earlier or later next year, then, just change the #. I thought this might be a way to help coordinate a small group of people, not all of whom are 'gardeners/farmers'.

Anybody try something similar?

inMichigan
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