A Gardening “To Do” List
In the continuing saga of my gardening journey, I spent some time looking through the “To Do” list that Smart Gardener generated for me. The one negative I have to say about Smart Gardener is that the “To Do” list and calendar are not searchable. You have to scroll through the list of plants alphabetically or scroll through the calendar and search manually. Also, I had some seeds already—left over from my failed attempt at a vegetable garden last year, and ones I had impulse bought—which I wanted to track on my list.
Making a Google Doc to Organize My Garden
Being the planner I am, I made a spreadsheet, a Google sheet actually. I set up six columns: Name of Plant, Purchased, Planting Date, Garden Location (I have several beds and one main plot, as well as some containers I plan to use), and Type (whether it was an edible or a flower). Next, I typed the information into each row and then used the data sort features to organize my list according to what I needed to know, for example, whether or not I have the seeds already. I also added flowers (not included on Smart Gardener) for my window boxes and front garden, based on seeds I already had or plants I had been successful with the previous year.
When to Plant?
Then, using the Smart Gardener website I figured out the approximate planting dates for each plant. Smart Gardener allows you to choose to start them indoors or outdoors (some you have to start outdoors) and gives you a range of dates recommended for starting the seeds. Since I am in USDA Hardiness Zone 4 (some say 3), I will be starting almost all of my seeds indoors and transplanting them after Memorial Day. I then organized my plantings into batches based on the date range provided by Smart Gardener. This way I can be more efficient in how and when I plant. By the way, if you do not know what zone you are in, check out this map.
Goal-setting and Downsizing
As I looked over my to do list, I realized that I am probably biting of more than I can chew. So, I stopped to reflect on my goals for my garden. In no particular order, my goals are to cut back on my family’s grocery bill and save money, have fun, and learn more about gardening. I realized that too many plants would probably take away from my ability to properly care for them and, in turn, my overall yield. Also, certain plants, like peppers, are not recommended for zone 4. Still, I want to have some fun with the variety of plants. I ended up eliminating a variety of potatoes, Asian mixed greens and rhubarb, and blueberries. More may be eliminated as I go along . . .
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