By way of something to do over the winter, I have been introducing some much needed discipline into my vegetable plans for 2018. I am happy with the plot layout which I hope now gets the most out of my three raised beds. There’s a lot going on in those plans, and there’s a distinct possibility I’ll lose the plot (pun very much intended). I could miss sowings, forget successional plantings, not have plants ready to go out as soon as space is available. I don’t want to rely on me remembering what to do when, nor do I want to rely solely on the guidance on the seed packets which is typically vague on timings. To overcome this, I have constructed a spreadsheet, as one does.  For each location in the plot, I have two rows, one for pre-transplant action in the greenhouse, one for sowing or planting out in the plot.  In this I have recorded for the whole year what should need sowing or planting, and where, to make my 2018 plot plan a reality.

This picture shows the sowing plan for April and May, just for the first of three beds. In some weeks there’s a lot going on, which is exactly why I put this together – there’s no way I’d just remember to do all this!

I’ve given each of these sowing/planting activities a specific format. the blue boxes with a red outline, which allows me to filter on that format. This means that for a given week, I can filter to just show what needs sowing or planting.  For example, for the week ending 13th May, I have the following to do:

sowing plan eg 2

In the 4th square on Bed 1 (location 1.4), I should be sowing spring oninons, and to ensure I have bean plants to put in location 2.3, I should be sowing beans in the greenhouse. You get the idea, hopefully. I plan to use this spreadsheet like this each week to generate part of my weekend to-do list.  My ultimate goal is never to have bare, unproductive ground on the veg plot.

The weather may have other ideas, and of course crops might not be done harvesting when this plan says I should be replacing them. I will need to adjust for all that, not to mention my availability as life gets in the way. I also hope that this kind of tool will become less necessary as I get more experienced as a veg grower and I can rely more on instinct.

How do you plan your sowing and planting out for your veg plot or allotment?  Do you just wing it?  I’m happy to share the spreadsheet if you think it might be useful, just let me know.

I’ll be back soon with more veggie action.