Keeping Garden Records

Reader Contribution by Cindy Conner
article image

Garden planning time is upon us! If you can make your garden plan (and follow it this year) and organize a way to keep good records, you will gain much more than tasty meals. Being able to have a record of what you’ve done–or what you plan to do–makes your life so much easier as you get deeper into the season.  You don’t have to stop and think of what to plant next when each crop is finished. If you made a good plan and ordered your seeds for the whole year in January or February, you have the seeds at hand when you need them. But how do you get to that point?

I made the video Develop a Sustainable Vegetable Garden Plan to help you. Besides the two hour instructional DVD, it comes with a companion CD with all the worksheets that I talk about in the video.  In that DVD I suggest putting a notebook together with your whole plan. You can write a book especially for your own garden! The list of suggested chapters (tabs in the notebook) is available on the resource page on my website. You might have some different choices for chapters–it’s your book. When I was a market gardener, I realized how important it is to keep records. If you want to keep some of that money you take in at the markets, you had better be efficient with your purchases and with your time. Your time is so valuable you can’t even put a price on it. The time you spend now getting organized will pay extra dividends this summer when both the temperature and workload heat up. The same advice holds true if you are growing only for your household.  Developing a record keeping system now, even if it is for one bed in a city backyard, will help immensely as you expand your skills and garden space.

To get started, you need to inventory your seeds and make a garden map. Figure out how many seeds you need and send in your seed order. If you did a good job with that you won’t have to worry about seeds for the rest of the year. Keep your inventory, worksheet for calculating how many seeds you need (there’s one on the CD), seed orders and a copy of your garden map in your notebook. Another copy of your map should be posted in your garden shed or on a clipboard to keep handy.

I like to be able to look at a chart and know, for any given week of the year, what I have in the ground and what’s available for harvest. One of the worksheets on the CD helps you figure when to plant, when to harvest and for how long. If you have been growing for awhile, you probably already know those times in your head. If not, the worksheet is a big help. The Plant / Harvest Schedule I developed to make my life easier is on the CD and it is also available as a FREE PDF from that resource page on my website.

In your book you will want to include your soil test (and information to decipher it), weather records, ideas you come up with, and photos of your year in the garden. Find out more about keeping garden records at Homeplace Earth. If you get things straight now, you will have less stress later. Enjoy the journey!

Learn more about Cindy Conner and what she’s up to at