Gardening can bring such joy and satisfaction in any scale, from a window sill of flowers to hundreds and hundreds of square feet of vegetables and legumes on a farm. The tricky part is how long gardeners go in between seeing their crops again – by the time I’ve harvested the last of my bell peppers in September and transferring seedlings to the garden in the following May, I’ve gone nearly eight months without active handling and care of the peppers. How often did I fertilize them last year? Which variety died in a surprise frost? What were last year’s growing patterns season changes? Or, for that matter, what if I wanted to resurrect a crop from several years ago – how do I keep track of when we planted and began to harvest?
Last year I created an excel file for the end of the season, and we did our best to sit down and try to remember when things sprouted, how many we planted, what varieties performed and how… What frustrated me was that I didn’t actively journal and keep track of our fertilizing patterns and season changes to know how everything performed and how early we saw harvests. However, I am too lazy to journal pages of detailed accounts of every day and it’s important to me to have a quick and easy reference point for last year’s accounts. This season, it was important to find something quick, convenient, and light.
My in-laws purchased this beautiful calendar for us for Christmas – it’s made by the Farmer’s Almanac company and is illustrated with beautiful plants and gardening tips, as well as the moon cycles. I decided to hang it on my fridge – and then I realized that my new journal was staring me in the face! Why not document – and even plan – our gardening work in a calendar that is always in arm’s reach and is easy to store for next year?
In February I sat down with our seed packets and counted out the number of weeks we wanted them to have inside under our growing light before transferring outside in the beginning of May (our last frost tends to hit mid-April). Counting back from our estimated transfer date, I wrote in when we should anticipate planting each of our plants – tomatoes and peppers early, followed by cucumbers and squash at the end of March to give everything a solid foundation. I also used this calendar to record how often I was fertilizing plants inside as well as outside – I try to keep a regular schedule with our feedings, but it’s hard to remember when we fertilize months apart!
It’s also important for us to note when there are big seasonal changes that might impact how things are progressing outside. We had a sudden snow mid-March after a bunch of the plants had begun to bud, including our potted blueberry, which made us nervous about their success. We have also seen record high temperatures and early warmth, which has sped up growth and blooming – it was only a week before our mid-April wedding that plants actually began to shift towards green last year, while this year our lilacs are already budding and the pear trees cloaked in white flowers.
I’m convinced that this calendar will be a great way to easily and quickly document yields, harvest times, season changes, transplant dates, and all within a slim and streamlined medium – not to mention the lovely illustrations.