It’s time to start gardening! For those that know me, you know I love to dig in the dirt. I swear I must have been a farmer in a previous life. Or maybe because the Farm Effect is real and dirt really Is a powerful immune system booster, and my body craves the nutrients. Whatever the reasoning, in spite of having respiratory issues, I do try to get outside as much as possible. There is a sweet spot at 60° to 65° with 40% humidity and no wind when I can get outside and almost run wide-open gardening, so I need to be prepared with a game-plan.
I wanted to let you know what I do to keep me on track when it comes to planting. I find it helpful to follow a yearly planting schedule. This link will take you to a page to enter your zip code and get specific planting dates for your area. It’s good, but I love the one I use. I found it in Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky from our local County Extension Service. This soft cover book is a wealth of information!
I love this chronological planting calendar! I tried to find a website for you that would calculate a planting schedule like this one for different states, but didn’t have any luck. If you can’t find one for your area, you could still print this one from the link above and just change the dates to the accurate dates for your area.
I did add 10 days to each date, because technically we are in Zone 6b in central Kentucky. But I’m also a container gardener and my soil warms up sooner than the earth garden and since we are so close to the dividing line with Zone 7, I usually push the envelope just a little bit when planting. When I see that first date, I know I have up to 10 days to prepare. This table tells me what seeds to start indoors, when to plant transplants outdoors and when to direct sow seeds outdoors.
After years of gardening and having different planting guides scattered around that I had to sort through every time I needed information, I finally put together a garden planner a couple of years ago to help me stay on track. I converted an old day planner to suit my needs. I printed the above chart, a companion planting guide, a container vegetable guide with pot size, plant spacing, etc. I think I actually ended up printing every chart in that online book and used Washi tape and glue sticks to make pages for the ring binder part of the planner.
I added a cheap dollar store week by week planner to the front where I make notes about what chore was done in the garden, what was harvested, first blooms and first bird sightings. I also try to write down rainfall amounts and temperatures each day. My sketched out garden plans are in the back. I have everything I need right at my finger tips, including fungicide and pesticide info, and a fall planting schedule.
It’s fun to look back and see how the current year compares to previous years. When I was looking through last year’s planner this morning, I saw my first Asparagus spear on March 31st, first Hummingbird on April 12th, first Peony bloom on May 11th, and the first Knock-Out Rose bloom on May 12th.
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I’ll be adding a few new pages this year, because I decided I want to keep track of the total amount of produce we harvest this year, just out of curiosity. Guess I should keep track of expenses, too. I also want to start keeping better weather details now that we have a better weather monitor. Ours is similar to this weather monitor, but our’s doesn’t have Wi-Fi.
If you don’t want to put together your own planner, I found a couple of garden journals over on Amazon that look to be pretty informative and helpful. Take a peak inside the books on Amazon to see which one you like best.
- The Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook: Make the Most of Your Growing Season
- The Garden Journal, Planner and Log Book: Repeat successes & learn from mistakes with complete personal garden records. 28 adaptable year-round forms, … (The Garden Journal Log Books) (Volume 1)
I enjoy using a garden planner and it definitely helps me remember what I have done when and to make sure all of my garden chores get done.
I hope this helps you to keep track of all of the important details you need to know to grow your garden!