Tracking Garden Tasks and Data with Spreadsheets - Get Creative & Grow!
Tracking garden tasks and data can be a daunting task for any gardener. Fortunately, there are computer tools available to help make the process easier. Spreadsheets are an excellent way to track information like seed types, start dates, germination times, first flowers, transplant dates, plants to keep or give away, and more.
Last night I updated my own spreadsheet list of stuff to grow, adding in new things that have been ordered. This is a partial section of the spread I use for growing stuff. Unseen to the right are columns for first pick dates and notes. Orange items are for fall only. Over the years these notes have become invaluable to me.
Once the grow list is finalized, it needs to be transferred to a growing schedule. The schedule breaks the season into weeks with various tasks like seed starting, bed prep, etc. listed. There are also dates telling me when to start watching for pests such as Japanese beetles and cabbage moths. This helps keep me on track so I don't arrive at planting day without having the bed ready.
I'm not the only one who uses Excel to track gardening data. Other gardeners use different software programs but all share similar tracking methods. For example, some map gardens to scale with one square per foot and color code plant families to help with rotation. Others note what was in each bed previously over the last three years for reference.
Some gardeners go by signals from nature while others look at traditional time-of-year and short/long-term weather forecasts for guidance. A good article about this topic was shared which provides helpful insight into how best to plan your garden according to seasonal changes.
One particular gardener mentioned trying out "planting by the moon" using the Farmer's Almanac just to see if it works and has had good results overall - although they're unsure whether it's due to moon planting or coincidence!
Another gardener shared their experience with Alabama Black Eye Butter Beans which they grew on part of a trellis made from field fence (6x6" mesh). They were sown Apr 26, seeds up May 3 and first pick Jul 17 although they could have gotten some earlier. The shelled beans had a somewhat purplish or tannish tinge but were tasty nonetheless. No disease problems were encountered and they're hoping for a repeat this year.
It's clear that many gardeners find spreadsheets useful in tracking their garden tasks and data throughout the season - from mapping layouts to noting previous crops grown in beds over the past few years. It's great seeing how creative everyone gets with their systems!
What tools did the author create to help track garden tasks and data?
The author created a spreadsheet to track garden tasks and data.
How does the author use the spreadsheet?
The author uses the spreadsheet to track things like seed starting, bed prep, first pick dates, notes, and dates for watching out for pests.
How does the author keep track of what was in each bed previously?
The author notes under each bed what was in there previously for three years back.
What other tracking methods does the author use?
The author also uses Excel to track seed type, start date, germination time, germination %, 1st flowers, transplant date, plants to keep, plants to give away. They also have separate spreadsheets for seed maps and a map of the garden to scale with one square per foot.
Does the author use moon planting?
The author has been doing "plant by the moon" using the farmer's almanac for the last three years just to see if it works. There have been good results but it is unclear whether this is due to moon planting or coincidence.
What other signals from nature does the author use?
The author goes by traditional time-of-year and short/long-term weather forecasts as well as an annual list of lots of spring signs specific to their property and area.
What kind of tracking methods does another person mentioned in the conversation use?
The other person mentioned in the conversation uses Open Office which allows different sheets within one file. They use Sheet 1 for a list of all tomatoes they have ever researched that they might be interested in with descriptions, DTM, sources etc. Sheet 3 is the garden layout, Sheet 4 is each year's tomato list and potentials for next year, sheet 5 is their crossbreeding program etc. The garden layout is color coded by hours of sun each 2'x2' square gets.
Has the author tried growing Alabama Black eye Butter bean before?
Yes, the author has tried growing Alabama Black eye Butter bean before. They had about given up until their sister spied it last year at Baker Creek so it was ordered as a last resort. It worked! At least last year. They grew them on part of a trellis made from field fence (6x6" mesh). They were sown Apr 26, seeds up May 3 and first pick Jul 17 although they probably could have gotten some earlier.