A garden planting log is a valuable tool for evaluating which plant varieties are producing quickly and efficiently versus those that aren’t. But, I’m not very good at keeping garden records.
I know it’s important to keep records to evaluate what varieties and techniques work the best. I really want to start using varieties and processes that produce the best taste and yield, in the fastest – most efficient manner possible.
So, here’s my Excel garden planting log, where I’m going to record all the pertinent information on what gets planted, where it’s started, how long it takes to germinate, etc.
To get a good idea on when to start plants, check out Making 2021’s Seed Starting & Planting Schedule (w/downloadable template) and this USDA hardiness zone map HERE.
How To Use The Garden Planting Log
Crop & Variety (column 1)
Record not only the crop but the specific variety to evaluate which yield, taste, and perform the best. The only way to do this reliably is to track all the crops from year-to-year.
Date Planted (column 2)
This is to record when seeds were started indoors or in the garden and it’s used to estimate when harvest will occur, as well as how long each variety takes to yield. It’s also important in determining how early spring planting can be done next year.
Soil Block Size/Spacing Used (column 3, 7, & 10)
Record what size soil block seeds were started in or what plant spacing was used in the garden. This column is repeated in the log to accommodate transplanting mini-soil blocks into larger soil blocks, and transplanting into the garden. This information is used to evaluate what the best method and spacing is for starting, transplanting, and growing each crop.
Number (column 4, 8, & 11)
Identify the number of seeds/plants that are being started or transplanted. This information is used to determine which varieties germinate and transplant best, and eventually which varieties provide the greatest yield.
Germination Date (column 5)
This is to record the date that the seeds germinate. The “days to maturity” given on seed packets do not usually include the span from seeding date to germination date; so this information is useful in determining the true span from planting to harvesting.
Date Transplanted (column 6 & 9)
Identify the date that seedlings are transplanted into larger soil blocks or into the garden. This column is repeated in the log to accommodate transplanting from smaller to larger soil blocks, and into the garden.
Days to Maturity (12)
This is for the “days-to-maturity” information from the seed packet. This information is used to estimate the harvest date.
Initial Harvest Date Estimate (13)
Record the day when the harvest is estimated to begin based on the germination date plus the “days-to-maturity” from the seed packet. This information is also helpful in planning when additional garden space will be available for new plantings.
Actual Initial Harvest Date (14)
This is to record when harvest actually began and is useful in planning the actual dates for starting seedlings in subsequent years.
Notes (column 15)
Of course, notes in the garden planting log are where to record observations you make throughout the growing season for each variety.
You can download the log HERE or by clicking on the photo of it above for use as a starter template. After several years of recording information like this, it should be much easier to choose the best varieties and techniques.
Of course, you can modify it Excel for your garden and tracking needs!