The problem with this is that all the seed packages are just thrown in there without any rhyme or reason. I have to read the back of each package and sort through lots of info to figure out what to plant when. I find I'm constantly rechecking books, planting schedules, and charts trying to figure out what to do. And since I haven't been keeping a garden journal, I have had nothing to reference for my particular area.
It's definitely confusing at times. Especially when I read that other bloggers are planting tomatoes outside in April and it's still freezing every night on the mountain. It can make one too anxious and therefore jump the gun when it comes to setting out plants.
I finally had my eureka moment and realized that I'm not organized in this area. I've been "flying by the seat of my pants" so to speak. Time to fix that!
Inspired by Mrs. Chiot at Chiot's Run (that's my name for her - hope you like it Mrs. Chiot!), I decided on a similar method of utilizing mini file folders and a box (see her post here). But I still needed more info at my fingertips. Something I could quickly browse through, glance at for the needed information, and actually understand what I needed to do and when.
So I sat down and brainstormed all the information that would be helpful in knowing when to plant something. I considered:
• good companions
• bad companions
• how to start each variety
• optimal seed sprouting temps
• when I wanted to start the seeds (or directly sow)
• when I actually got around to it!
• how many of each variety to grow
• if I wanted to plant a second fall crop
• how long the seeds would last before needing to be replaced
My form came together after some adjusting here and there and I was able to add it to my blog as a pdf download should you be interested in using it for your personal use. (For future reference, you will find this as a tab at the top, just under my header, where it says Free Downloads). I didn't have room for info on crop rotation, and I knew that I'd need something later that I forgot, so I added a second section for notes.
The form is made to cut out and paste on the front of a mini file folder, just big enough for a seed packet. This is where Mrs. Chiot's idea helped me a lot. I couldn't get the file folders locally, and didn't want to wait, so I purchased some colored card stock and made my own using this free template from Vale Design. They were very easy to cut out and not too time consuming, so I was very pleased with the results.
I chose four different colors - one for each season of the year since I want to aim for year-round gardening. The colors will hopefully remind me at a glance seeds that need to be started or what seeds needs to be directly sown in spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Next, I taped the ends so that the file folder was actually a pocket for the seed packet.
I made a sheet of small labels...
and added it to the file folder pocket and glued the form on the front.
Everything fit inside nicely.
Just place them all in an appropriately sized container and you're organized!
I wrote everything on the front in pencil because I may find that I need to make changes, especially regarding planting dates and the number of plants I grow of each. Hopefully this method will help me stay on top of when to plant and act as a garden record as well. Wouldn't that be nice?