Happy spring! I’ve been gardening for about twelve years now! Time flies when you’re digging in and growing things. From our first posts about how to build container garden raised beds, to making a ladder trellis for tomatoes, and later more recipes, like making rhubarb simple syrup. So this year, I want to share my garden planning template. I’ve been using it for the last five years. And it’s really helped me feel organized and less scatterbrained about my gardening. One spot to keep track of what seeds I have, what to plant from seed vs start, when I planted it, where I planted it, when it will germinate, harvest etc. So here’s everything you need to know about a gardening plan from my vegetable garden planning spreadsheet!
First off, if Instagram and conversations with friends are anything, 2020 gave a huge boost to gardening. With all this extra time at home, people finally felt like they had time to focus on a garden. They also bought up all the baby chicks, and seed packs. And then started some really funny end of season memes at how well (or not?!) their garden had turned out for the year. So hopefully the enthusiasm for gardening is still around. But that we don’t have a run on seeds and over planning this year. Ha!
Garden Planning Spreadsheet
You can download my garden planning spreadsheet here.
First up in my a garden tracking spreadsheet: what to plant! The first tab of my spreadsheet is a Seed Chart or “Grow Calculator”. This section is like a garden planning calendar to help to remember what you’re planting when, reseeding, starting seeds indoors, transplanting in the garden, planting seeds outside directly in the garden, and what starts you’ll buy to plant. So think of it as a slightly nerdy Google Sheets or Excel spreadsheet for gardeners. Power to the plants! Including seed chart, auto-calculating germination, days to maturity chart, harvest, and reseed dates. Plus make notes for plant and seedling care, reseed info, and companion planting.
You can enter your planting plan for your garden zone (I’m in Portland, which is zone 8b). On the first sheet of the planner, you’ll see links to find out your last spring frost and first fall frost dates. This is an important step, because depending on where you are, you can start your outdoor garden sooner or later. For example, in Portland, Oregon there is a much longer growing season (210 days) than Bend, Oregon (90 days).
I also love Portland Nursery’s planting timeline tips on their pdf Veggie Calendar, which is a great garden planning chart all on its own! For the Portland area, they have great ideas for what is best started by month, seeded indoors / outdoors, and starts to plant directly in the garden!
Days to Maturity Chart
The second tab of my garden planning spreadsheet is a garden planning map of your available space. This is great for narrowing down what you actually have space for. Hello to all of us optimistic gardeners buying alll the seed packets and then not having the space to plant them. Ha! It also includes space for a first and second planting plan (succession planting) as well. For example, planting peas and spinach early in spring and then by May/June replacing with later crops like tomatoes etc.
One of the big things I see beginner gardeners do is either start waaay too optimistic (a novice building a farm-size garden). Or too worried about the details and going so deep that they get burnt out quickly. So having a garden planning spreadsheet, notebook or whatever you choose can really help you with that. If in doubt, start small (a 4’x5′ raised bed is a great place to learn). Plant veggies you buy often at the store or farmers market. Plant things that are more expensive (think basil, cherry tomatoes). And plant veggies that are easy to grow with a small footprint. These are a few of my self-imposed guidelines for narrowing down planting choices. As mentioned in one of my early victory gardening posts.
And with that, I wish you luck in your 2023 garden planning! And enjoy this seed chart & garden spreadsheet! Happy planting! And if you’re in Portland, here’s my list of favorite Portland area nurseries and garden centers.