Keeping Records

For me, it’s important to keep records on what I plant and how well those plantings do.

For one thing, I want to evaluate the entire spectrum of the gardening cycle as it pertains to each particular planting: which seed sources produce better germination rates and better transplanting success; which types of a vegetable perform better in my soil and micro-climate; and, how successful particular varieties are in early spring and late fall.

I’m also going to use the form to track the green manures I plant and underplant. Basically, anything that gets planted in the garden will get a form. I think I’ll keep my binder in the shed by the garden.

I also want to evaluate the farmer’s market: what seedlings and produce sell better, when people are buying, and the arc of sales. So the binder will go to market with me, too.

Before I’m done, I’ll need several forms. One will simply track the annual weather patterns: first frost, first snowfall, end of outdoor growing season, snow all gone from garden, last frost, and ground dry enough for planting. Maybe I’ll track watering days vs rainfall for a couple of years.

The purpose of these records is to make me more mindful of what’s going on in the garden – and in the natural world, especially as I think we’re entering into a mini-global cooling cycle that will run for the next 50 years or so – and what small changes in my gardening practices produce incremental improvements in garden health and productivity. Since I’m gardening for two purposes – to provide plenty of produce for our consumption, and to more than pay for the garden by selling seedlings and produce to the general public – I need to run it on at least a semi-professional ┬ábasis.

If you’d like to make use of my Planting Record, just click the link for a downloadable PDF version. I’ve designed it to host 3 seasonal plantings. Of course, not every vegetable will get 3 plantings, but I don’t imagine planting more than 3 cycles in a year.

Each planting has 6 lines. Those are primarily to record Farmer’s Market data. I don’t picture more than 6 weeks between plantings being ready for market.

I kept the lines in the “sown-germinated-transplanted” section because I might make micro-succession sowings between the primary plantings. For example, I will experiment with short-time sequencing of lettuces. Partly that will be self-protection during the early years when I’m figuring out the climate’s effect on various veggies. I don’t want all of my first or last planting of lettuce to be killed off by unexpected frosts, for example. And, slightly staggering planting may yield more ideal to-market produce which might or might not affect sales. I’d like to have the option to see. Finally, if nothing else, those lines are good places to write notes about things I vary or notice.

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