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Garden Tracker Spreadsheet

Garden Tracker Spreadsheet

 Those who know me well know that there's nothing I won't use a spreadsheet for. My "Thanksgiving Spreadsheet" has become legendary. Although some might scoff at the idea, I would argue that you can't plan a meal like Thanksgiving for 20 people without  a solid spreadsheet. When I cut my finger while cleaning a (very sharp) Ulu knife the day before Thanksgiving one year and had to go to the ER and get stitches, the first thing I was asked by friends was, "How does this impact the spreadsheet?" (I too wondered this and agonized over whether or not to go to the ER...THAT's how serious I am about planning spreadsheets....one little thing shifts and you may end up with Thanksgiving on a Saturday.)

So naturally, you might be wondering, "Does a garden need a spreadsheet?" Yes. Yes, my friends, it does. I don't go overboard with the spreadsheet though.

I mainly use a garden spreadsheet to track:

  • what I'm planting
  • source of the seeds/seedlings
  • whether I planted indoors or direct sowed in the garden
  • planting dates
  • germination dates
  • expected and actual harvest dates
  • general notes/comments about performance

It helps me see at a glance what to expect during the season and things to reflect on for next season. For me right now, as a relatively new gardener, I'm looking for patterns and trends to what I'm doing. I plant things each year I've never grown before, so it's important for me to start tracking what I'm doing and see what's working and what's not so I can make better decisions each year. So far....I'm still new and, quite frankly stubborn, so I keep trying things even when they didn't work before. Peppers are like this - I'm a miserable failure at peppers (although my harbeneros were ok), but I'm going to try ancho chile peppers again this year. Maybe THIS will be the year my stuffed poblanos will be made from my own home-grown peppers.

Check out my post about planning your garden from last spring.

As you'll see from my 2015 Garden Spreadsheet, I started many things by purchasing seedlings.

I highly recommend for those of you who aren't sure you want to start seeds indoors or not that purchasing seedlings from your nursery or local garden club sale is a great way to get started.

I still plan on buying a few things at the Maplewood Garden Club sale this year. But, as each year in the garden passes, the more I want to grow things from seed. This year, I will be growing seedlings indoors and plan to have a plant sale in May....stay tuned for that if you're local.

The type of spreadsheet I'm currently using is one I created to be more of a "log." Here's my start of my 2016 Garden Tracker Spreadsheet. I added a couple of columns to it...can't say that will be where my edits end...

In any case, I'm really excited for this coming year. I just placed my seed order and will be getting the seeds going in the next 3-4 weeks. Now, if only the snow would completely melt...

When you're ready to start prepping, be sure to check out my prior post, Planning Your Garden.

How do you start gardening season? Would love to hear what you do.

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