February 23, 2010

Time to Plant Indoors!?

OK, I mentioned over the weekend that I was going to be starting to plant seeds in the house. Well, I lied. It doesn't happen much, and it usually it is by accident... :) I think I was just getting a little too excited for Spring...

Well, I clicked on my handy-dandy Works Spreadsheet. I figured dates and grow times, I figured when each plant would be producing... AND... I put off planting until Mid-March.... Dang it! :) I'm glad I actually stopped to PLAN before I PLANTED!

Here is what I did:

  • I looked at the number of days it had on the package. Example, on my Tomatoes it said 72 days, on the Watermelon 105, on my Luffa Gourds it said 95- 105 days and to plant early indoors in the north, but then it also said to plant outside when the ground is warm. So I don't want it to get too big inside, when it is still cold out.
  • Are you going on a summer "vacation" any time during the summer? This is always my problem. Last year, I missed the beginning of green beans, which means a lot of waste. If you plan your plantings to start producing well before, or after your vacation, you can save more of your crop. Of course, weather conditions are ALWAYS a factor, and you cannot plan EXACTLY, but you can always try!
  • Do you want all of your crops to be harvested at the same time? Or would you like it spaced out a bit? The same principle as above applies. You can stagger your planting according to their days.
  • So, on my Spreadsheet, on the left I put the dates starting in March, straight down the left columns. Then across the top, I listed each one of my seeds that I am going to plant. Along with how many days it had on it until it was producing. Then I figured tomatoes would be nice at the end of June so I figured back on the number of days to the day that I need to plant them indoors. Plus, I figured I don't want all of my tomatoes at once. So I am going to make 2 different planting dates for them. Less work all at once! My green beans are 66 days, so I am going to sow them right into the garden on May 1st (on PAPER, my official first gardening day). Then those are going to be ready the first of July... MMmmmm!
  • On my Spreadsheet, I am also hoping to track when the plants actually DO start producing. And any other notes, I should consider from year to year.
Keeping track of all of these things and having some sort of a plan is good. Knowing from year to year what you did is good also. If your brain is like mine, you don't remember month to month, let alone year to year, so write things down. I always buy tons of those school notebooks for $.05 at the beginning of the school year. These are great for tracking something like your garden if you aren't good with Spreadsheets (even though this is SUPER EASY!). Or just don't want to track it on your computer.

Keeping track of the types of seeds or plants that you bought, and liked or didn't like is always helpful also. One year you may have had trouble with a certain type of tomato plant. You think, I am going to remember that for next year so I don't buy THAT again! Well, next year comes and you thing, well I remember SOMETHING about this type of tomato... I guess this is the kind I am going to get again! Ooops... Should have kept track of it somewhere! Also, keep track of the cost of your seeds/ plants/ etc, and where you bought them! Then you can compare to how much food you were able to harvest! :)

So, I guess Spring isn't starting for me yet... I will have to wait a few more weeks. I hope this helps save you from any headaches this Spring!

Have you ever PLANNED your garden??? Any tips or tricks to planning?


Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

Sarah, thanks for visiting Homestead Revival! I'm honored to have you following! And you're right, we DO have a lot in common. I'm loving you're blog and will be following yours as well!

We are having an extra warm winter on the west coast with lots of rain (which we are always grateful for - but the girls miss sledding!). It has tempted me to start indoors seeds early, but I know I run the risk of a cold snap that will through this all of. So I'm sitting on my hands and waiting til my usual time. I can't put much out before May 15th! But this is giving me extra time to read up on how to extend my garden on the other end. A new project after reading Eliot Colemen's Four Season Harvest.

Flat Creek Farm said...

Sarah, so nice to 'meet' you! What a timely post you have for me as well. I was already guilt-tripping, thinking maybe I had waited too late to plant indoors. After all, I think I started seeds much earlier last year. But! Alas! It was too early as I recall. Spreadsheet is a tremendous idea. I keep a running Word doc w/ just notes from previous year, as well as plans for next year. Spreadsheet would be much better. Thanks for the heads up! -Tammy

Jennifer said...

Well, I haven't planned out when to start planting seeds yet, but I know I shouldn't before the end of March, so I have plenty of time to think about it. If I think too much now, I will want to go ahead and get started - which I shouldn't do.