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Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

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Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  sfg4uKim on 1/21/2012, 4:32 pm

We know that Mel encourages us to only grow what we need (not to over or under plant) and to stagger your harvest.

I've found two different ways to do this. Both ways involve me printing out my own calendar on paper that I can write on with pencil - slick calendar pages don't always work. The pictures below are just examples - I haven't finished my "real" calendar.

The first way is to plant something as soon as I CAN. OK, so in my zone I can start planting Broccoli and Cabbage tomorrow. My shorthand notes are:
Broccoli (2) - Stonehead 7+4 (3/15) means that my GOAL is to have 2 heads of Stonehead Broccoli. It will take approximately 7 week + 4 days (55 days) which means I "should" be able to harvest around March 15. We all know that the days to harvest fluctuate WILDLY.

The -12 next to the date indicates that this is 12 weeks before the last frost date for my area and the "IN" means I can start the seeds INDOORS. I usually write this list SOMEWHERE during the week, but not necessarily on that particular date. Usually I start writing on the Sunday square, but when things get going fast & furious, it trails all the way across that week.



I know I'll want 2 more heads of cabbage ready about two weeks afterward, so I'll also put the same notes during the week of February 5th (with other seeds that can be started that week).


The second way is to figure out WHEN I want something and work backward. For instance, let's look at a simplified version of what I might want to have ready for a 4th of July celebration.

Let's say I anticipate 10 people here and I want to serve corn, a tomato & cucumber salad and grilled stuffed zucchini.



(12) Silver Queen Corn 12+1 4/8 means I would want 12 ears of corn (10 + a couple extra). I think Silver Queen has 2 ears per stalk, if not play along with me, so I'd grow about 6 plants.

If you're also from Zone 7, you'll note that April 8th is REALLY iffy for us weather-wise (our last frost date is the 15th). And although it's best to direct sow corn, I HAVE successfully seeded it in the greenhouse and transplanted it. To me the trick is actually keeping it "almost" root bound so that it has a good root ball when you plant it. AND I would probably plant some even earlier and even some a week after.

It sounds WAY more complicated than it really is.

What does everyone else do? Or do you just throw caution to the wind and wing it?

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  GWN on 1/21/2012, 5:40 pm

I have searched for an online sort of diary to do this with.
I have tried out a few but they really were not all that good, so i would be interested in anyone else who had found a computerized diary to be keeping track of these things
Great idea

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  Chopper on 1/21/2012, 10:01 pm

I think it is a great idea, especially tracking the frost dates and being ready to hit the ground running. My only problem is that the plants do not seem to care when they are supposed to be ready and especially done and just live on their own timetable and not mine. So, I let it go. If a square is open, I plant. If it isn't, I don't. That is one of the reasons I aspire to have more squares than I need, but until then I let the garden tell me what to do, not the other way around. And with SFG and each square being its own mini plot it is easier than row gardening to keep things going.

Not knocking it, mind you, just giving up! LOL.

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  sfg4uKim on 1/21/2012, 10:13 pm

@Chopper wrote:Not knocking it, mind you, just giving up! LOL.

I didn't take it negatively because I totally agree. This is exactly why I used the word "approximate" and why I suggest planting extras before & after your target date if you really want something at a certain time.

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  Mamachibi on 1/22/2012, 9:41 am

I do everything on the computer at first, then print it out when the season gets going. In this excel workbook, I have the grid map of what gets planted where. My coding system: A-1-1 means garden bed A, horizontal row 1, vertical column 1.

My planting schedule lays out both what I need to start for future transplanting and what is ready to transplant or direct seed (DS).

On the harvest schedule page, I enter a group of dates for each harvest, since I have NO idea when the cabbage will really be ready. It's these approximate harvest dates that I actually begin with when planning my garden. I don't want ALL the peas ready at once, but I do want enough for a meal. I do want almost all the tomatoes done in a certain time frame for canning. The one exception to the "zone" harvesting rule is trap crops. We don't eat a lot of radishes, but I will grow them to keep the flea beetles off another plant. I don't mind pulling immature radishes and throwing them in the compost if they have served their purpose as a trap crop.

The purchasing schedule gives me a list of what I seeds or supplies I need to buy at least one month before they are needed. I never have enough cash to buy for the full season at one time, so this helps me spread the budget a little more evenly. I've highlighted the first appearance of each seed type so I know to check my seed supply. If I planted the same thing last month, chances are I still have seeds for next month.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AqrerkREazgTdHRNVFlkaVdDWnVSYmpPVTdiQlljNnc

Yeah, it's a little over the top organizationally, but hey, what's a nerd to do in the wintertime?

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  camprn on 1/22/2012, 10:32 am

@Mamachibi wrote: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AqrerkREazgTdHRNVFlkaVdDWnVSYmpPVTdiQlljNnc

Yeah, it's a little over the top organizationally, but hey, what's a nerd to do in the wintertime?
I like it, a lot! I wish I was a bit more nerdy. I have no idea how to use that program to its potential. Thanks for posting!!!

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  sfg4uKim on 1/22/2012, 10:49 am

Very nice.

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  RoOsTeR on 1/22/2012, 10:50 am

Mamachibi, that's great! I also wish I was a bit more Excel literate. There is so much you can do with it, but with my limited knowledge on it, I'm seriously handicapped! Razz
I love seeing how others organize!

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Not computerized, but an old fashioned book.

Post  tomperrin on 1/22/2012, 1:11 pm

@GWN wrote:I have searched for an online sort of diary to do this with.
I have tried out a few but they really were not all that good, so i would be interested in anyone else who had found a computerized diary to be keeping track of these things
Great idea

My newest favorite book (after ANSFG, of course) is the Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener's Handbook by Ron & Jennifer Kujawski. Once I determined first and last frost dates, it was easy enough to determine maintenance and planting chores. I keep it annotated with my own events, successes and failures.

Last year I just planted when I had the energy and didn't pay any attention whatsoever to frost dates, seed instructions, phases of the moon, or anything else. I was lucky, and did ok. This year, I'm more disciplined, and going more by the book(s).

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  Mamachibi on 1/22/2012, 1:27 pm

Aw, thanks, y'all! I was worried you'd laugh. Embarassed

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  AranMC on 1/22/2012, 1:40 pm

I'm a nerd too then.. I've been wanting to create something like this for me but hadn't decided whether to go with excel or creating my own charts... My winters are so darn long I need something to keep me occupied...lol

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/22/2012, 4:31 pm

@Mamachibi wrote:Aw, thanks, y'all! I was worried you'd laugh. Embarassed

Bravo! No laughter from me, just admiration.

I actually use an Excel sheet following Mel's indoor seeding, transplant and direct seeding dates calculated from my last frost date. I created formulas (a pain in the toosh because I am not very good at this yet) so the spread sheet would tell me specific dates to start each planting event. Of course I could have used a calendar and marked it up too.

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  EatYourVeggies on 1/22/2012, 5:16 pm

@sfg4uKim wrote:

Let's say I anticipate 10 people here and I want to serve corn, a tomato & cucumber salad and grilled stuffed zucchini.

Let's say 11 and I'll still need the specifics...date, time and an address for the food. Razz

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  sfg4uKim on 1/22/2012, 7:44 pm

LOL hate to tell you EYV, but this was PURELY fictional.

I'm heading to DC to watch the fireworks then to my in-laws because ALL of my husband's 5 siblings and ALL their children will be gathered together - even the one living in Norway and her daughter.

But you're welcome to come pick the produce and cook for yourself. I'll leave the key with a neighbor. Laughing Oh, and please feed the dogs.

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  quiltbea on 1/22/2012, 10:24 pm

I guess I'm old-fashioned, but I like to have my plan with me when I go out into the garden or at my fingertips when making choices from the fridge.

I buy a spiral notebook and put the WeeK Ending (Saturday) dates on each page with notations at the top to aid me. I use Mel's charts in the SFG book so I know which crops to start or transplant or sow outdoors according to the Frost Dates. Then I list what I plan to do that particular week. I've done it for this year already. I can later enter what seeds I've started, varieties, numbers, etc on that page or the facing page when I have lots of them. I enter my proposed chores in pencil and write them in pen as they are done. If its down in pencil first, it can always be changed easily later.



Below: The circled number at the top is the number of weeks before Last Frost. I start listing the seeds I plan to start that week. As I start them, I enter them in ink. There's plenty of space to make changes due to weather, illness, etc.



Below: The number with a plus before it means its that many weeks after expected Last Frost date. I plan to sow outdoors and transplant after frost so list those crops. I also list, according to when I started my crops, when I should start looking for the first harvest of crops.



Below: Since I do fall crops, living in Maine, the number with the minus before it means that many weeks before the expected First Fall Frost. Chores again are listed as I plan to do them. I also start crops in my coldframe that have to be transplanted to the raised beds, hence lettuce, etc.



Below: I also have a drawn plan on cardstock that I protect under an acryllic photo frame. I enter the crop, variety, and date as I plant them outdoors, whether seeds or transplants, and when I replace with a fall crop, I add that in thick marker so it covers the previous info easily.



I did this last year and it worked great for me. I take the notebook and the acryllic frame right outside with me. I stick a pen in the spirals and write everything down as I do it so I don't forget by the time I go in the house. It doesn't matter if I make changes. The notebook has plenty of space on the working page and the facing page to enter them as done. The few times I forgot to take out my notebook with me, I sometimes forgot the variety transplanted and had to go back outside and read the label. I also forgot in which bed I planted a cabbage or broccoli when I didn't bring out my plan frame. Its so easy to do.

I'm just not into computer lists. I like to sit with pencil and paper and work out my plans.

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  Mamachibi on 1/23/2012, 11:05 am

I really like your planner, quiltbea! I do print mine out and take it with me to the garden. I'm so terrified of putting anything in ink...it makes it so permanent in my mind. And I'm such a neat freak that I'd have to white out if something changes, and then I'd have a MESS.

Plus, you have beautiful handwriting. You must be over 40! Laughing

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  quiltbea on 1/23/2012, 11:26 am

Mamachibi......I enter things in pencil for just that reason. I can erase or cross out and enter final items in ink. I could even change all the Week Ending dates by a couple of weeks if I start gardening later due to a really long winter and frosty days. Personal note: I never liked my handwriting because my older sister's was always truly beautiful so thanks for the kind words and I'm seeing 70 this year.

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  jpatti on 1/23/2012, 2:07 pm

I use a spreadsheet also.

Down the side is dates (with first and last frost having a darkened background") and all the other dates actually being formulas +/- 7 days so as to generate the entire season.

Across the top are the things I'm planning to plant. Then I put direct seed, start seed, transplant and harvest in the appropriate cells.

Finally, I put the entire range from direct seed or transplant to harvest in a border. This lets me see at a glance when I expect the squares to be emptied and thus available for planting a new crop or cover crop.

I can fit this on two pages, one for spring/summer and the second for summer/fall. The main advantage is I can stick this in the front of my gardening notebook and it summarizes all the SFG crop info without me having to return to the book again and again.

It's easy to copy year-to-year. For instance, this year, my 10-yr-old gardening assistant wanted to grow beets, which I don't normally grow and I decided to do onions from sets instead of seed. Filling in a column in the spreadsheet updates my schedule for the year and lets me see how it compares to other crops.
I use a spreadsheet also.

Down the side is dates (with first and last frost having a darkened background") and all the other dates actually being formulas +/- 7 days so as to generate the entire season.

Across the top are the things I'm planning to plant. Then I put direct seed, start seed, transplant and harvest in the appropriate cells.

Finally, I put the entire range from direct seed or transplant to harvest in a border. This lets me see at a glance when I expect the squares to be emptied and thus available for planting a new crop or cover crop.

I can fit this on two pages, one for spring/summer and the second for summer/fall. The main advantage is I can stick this in the front of my gardening notebook and it summarizes all the SFG crop info without me having to return to the book again and again.

It's easy to copy year-to-year. For instance, this year, my 10-yr-old gardening assistant wanted to grow beets, which I don't normally grow and I decided to do onions from sets instead of seed. Filling in a column in the spreadsheet updates my schedule for the year and lets me see how it compares to other crops.



The other thing that goes in front of my gardening notebook is my plan for the year. I don't always stick to it, and instead write up what I actually did for the following year, but it gives me a place to start... when I go to start tomato seeds, I can look and see I need 3 Brandywines, so should start 4-5 cells...


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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  EatYourVeggies on 1/23/2012, 11:01 pm

@jpatti wrote:I use a spreadsheet also.

Down the side is dates (with first and last frost having a darkened background") and all the other dates actually being formulas +/- 7 days so as to generate the entire season.

Across the top are the things I'm planning to plant. Then I put direct seed, start seed, transplant and harvest in the appropriate cells.

Finally, I put the entire range from direct seed or transplant to harvest in a border. This lets me see at a glance when I expect the squares to be emptied and thus available for planting a new crop or cover crop.

I can fit this on two pages, one for spring/summer and the second for summer/fall. The main advantage is I can stick this in the front of my gardening notebook and it summarizes all the SFG crop info without me having to return to the book again and again.

It's easy to copy year-to-year. For instance, this year, my 10-yr-old gardening assistant wanted to grow beets, which I don't normally grow and I decided to do onions from sets instead of seed. Filling in a column in the spreadsheet updates my schedule for the year and lets me see how it compares to other crops.
I use a spreadsheet also.

Down the side is dates (with first and last frost having a darkened background") and all the other dates actually being formulas +/- 7 days so as to generate the entire season.

Across the top are the things I'm planning to plant. Then I put direct seed, start seed, transplant and harvest in the appropriate cells.

Finally, I put the entire range from direct seed or transplant to harvest in a border. This lets me see at a glance when I expect the squares to be emptied and thus available for planting a new crop or cover crop.

I can fit this on two pages, one for spring/summer and the second for summer/fall. The main advantage is I can stick this in the front of my gardening notebook and it summarizes all the SFG crop info without me having to return to the book again and again.

It's easy to copy year-to-year. For instance, this year, my 10-yr-old gardening assistant wanted to grow beets, which I don't normally grow and I decided to do onions from sets instead of seed. Filling in a column in the spreadsheet updates my schedule for the year and lets me see how it compares to other crops.



The other thing that goes in front of my gardening notebook is my plan for the year. I don't always stick to it, and instead write up what I actually did for the following year, but it gives me a place to start... when I go to start tomato seeds, I can look and see I need 3 Brandywines, so should start 4-5 cells...


W affraid W !!

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  jpatti on 1/24/2012, 10:19 am

Yeah, I managed to organize most of the info I need from the book in 3 pages to go in my notebook. Easier than carrying the book around.

Also, my schedule shows the EARLIEST dates for spring/summer planting, but the LATEST for fall. I know that, so can stagger as I wish.

I also reread the book every year around now, just finished it a couple weeks ago as a matter of fact. I'm always startled how much stuff I've forgotten.

This year was particularly interesting to reread because I have hired a 10 year old to assist me due to my disability. So... in addition to reminding myself of things, I'm also thinking a great deal in terms of teaching, explaining about soil, fertility, how plants grow, etc.

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  sfg4uKim on 1/24/2012, 7:27 pm

@tomperrin wrote:My newest favorite book (after ANSFG, of course) is the Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener's Handbook by Ron & Jennifer Kujawski. Once I determined first and last frost dates, it was easy enough to determine maintenance and planting chores. I keep it annotated with my own events, successes and failures.

I just received my copy from Amazon today and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book.

____________________________

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  camprn on 2/16/2013, 9:06 am

bump

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http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  littlejo on 2/17/2013, 9:44 am

@sfg4uKim wrote:
@tomperrin wrote:My newest favorite book (after ANSFG, of course) is the Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener's Handbook by Ron & Jennifer Kujawski. Once I determined first and last frost dates, it was easy enough to determine maintenance and planting chores. I keep it annotated with my own events, successes and failures.

I just received my copy from Amazon today and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book.
Kim and Tomperrin
I know this is an old thread, so, you'all have had a chance to use the book. Do you still like it? Is it really worth buying? I really need to get more organized. Sometimes I have to wait for plants to come up so I can remember what I planted!
Jo

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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  sfg4uKim on 2/17/2013, 11:25 am

Yes, I like it even more than when I first got it. You can "look inside" at Amazon.com Week-by-Week and click on "surprise me".

They usually start with a 2-5 week period (you write in your own dates). There is info on: Seed Starting, Planting, Maintenance and Harvest info. There's a lined page where you write in (for 3 years) your own info. Then it breaks down that 2-week period into separate weeks and gives you TONS of great articles, hints, ideas, etc. (Crop rotation, making a rain barrel from garbage can, battle of the beetle, etc.).

It's spiral-bound which makes it easy to use. Obviously it's not necessarily geared for JUST SFG, but it's easy to incorporate/adapt most of the info.


Last edited by sfg4uKim on 2/17/2013, 11:34 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Took out some info, added more.)

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I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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Re: Organizing your PLANTING / HARVEST

Post  littlejo on 2/17/2013, 11:45 am

Thanks Kim
I think I will order this, glad it is spiral bound. Wish the SFG book was spiral bound too. I'm going to look for other good or gardening books to order, to maybe get to the free shipping limit on Amazon.
Jo

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