Monday, July 14, 2014

I'll Get It Right Next Year (I Say Every Year)

The other day, my sister, Jane (from Pursuit of Poppiness), read aloud my entire families zodiac signs and what they mean (according to which, my mother has no real personality traits other than being a true sexy beast, which she was quite dismayed to hear, while I was not prepared). When she got to mine, Virgo, it went on and on about how organized we are. It is rare to find a disorganized Virgo. Well, you may have noticed from my sporadic posts that I do not live up to that standard, although I do dream about it. I guess it's the little bit of Leo in me that wont let me organize my life, but I really want to be organized and I often think of ways that I could try to organize my life and everything in it better. It is just the living up to it that's difficult.

Since I have been gardening a lot lately (it comes with the territory when working on a farm) I have been doing a lot of thinking of the things I would really like to do in the future to keep an organized garden. I thought I would share them with you because I think they are rather brilliant ideas and would very much like to get your input.

Making a Calendar:

I actually did this early on this season for the farm but I don't think they are using it. I could have done a better job and the real trick is to do it before ordering seeds so as a project during winter holidays would be what I would like to do. This calendar would include the last frost date for the region and monthly weather averages so you would know what to expect all the time. Every year is different but that way you can be a little more prepared for what is likely to happen. The most important thing to put on the calendar is planting dates. You can either have what to do each month, each week, or (if you can keep up with it), each day. Have a column for sowing outdoors and indoors. With a calendar you can decide how many successions of plantings you want and then can divide up your seeds accordingly. Kale is one plant that can pretty much grow year-round here, so if you wanted you could plant some in the early spring, again in the late spring and then late summer early fall. It can also be started either indoor or out but that will depend on when you want to start it so having a calendar makes you think of all these things ahead of time so you know what to do and when.

Ordering Seeds:

Now that you have a calendar you know when you want to begin planting. You'll need to have all your seeds by that time so making a shopping list of all the seeds you want early on can make things go so much easier. I try to keep some kind of notebook on me pretty much all the time and it has many different kinds of lists in it: to do lists, shopping lists, lists of books I want to read and books I want to write, what to look up on the internet, projects I want to try... everything! One of my lists is a growing list. I put all the plants that I want to try the following year. Maybe I see something fun at the farmers market, or over have a conversation with someone about what they grow, or read some article about the healthiest and tastiest plant ever! Then I want to try to grow it so I just add it to the list. That way, come winter I know what to order.
I also think that it's a good idea to order seeds from a few different companies. They're all going to have slightly different varieties and maybe some different plants, but that also gives you the chance to see whose seeds do better in your soil.

Other Materials:

Now you have an awesome calendar and all your seeds! But before planting there are a few more things that need to be done if you want to have a truly organized garden. This is also where I fall apart. Labels! Like the little plastic white ones that stick in the ground or in starter pots. If you're planting for the first time and don't know what things are going to look like when they are growing, labels are a life saver. If you're going to be planting for multiple years, labels let you know what worked and what didn't, what you liked and what you disliked.
What I really want to try is to make a master list of all the seeds I bought, their variety and where I bought them from along with labels that go where they are planted. Then when they grow I can make notes for each one telling myself what I should definitely buy again and what I should avoid. See how organized I want to be?!
I like the idea of having generic labels to go in the ground, they'll just say Kale, or Tomatoes, instead of the variety because then they can be fancy ones that are reused every year, and the varieties will be listed on a map. Which brings me to my next organized garden idea...


I love the idea of making a garden map that has everything being grown on it, then you can write down what varieties you have where. I tried to do a little one for my garden this year but my map was done too poorly without proper spacing and that just did not work out very well... I didn't have a plan and things were all wonky looking and over crowded. It's good to have a plan ahead of time. If you know what all your seeds are then you can assign each seed a number or letter and then make a key and only write the letter on the map instead of trying to write everything out. You can also section off areas to make it more organized.

I have more ideas and thoughts on the matter but this post is getting long and taking way too much time to write, so I'll leave it at this for now and put more up later.

How do you keep your garden organized? Or do you like it better not being organized?

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