​Save Garden Time with Crop Planning

Posted by Diedra Blackmill on Jan 3rd 2019

Person holding small potatoes

Photo courtesy of Agence Producteurs Locaux Damien Kühn

We talked recently about how setting a morning grow room routine can really help you to save time and make sure your plants are all healthy before you head off to start the rest of your day. Routines truly make recurring tasks more efficient.

But your garden tasks don’t only recur on a daily basis. You have certain tasks that happen at particular times of year, too. And that’s where crop planning can help.

You probably aren’t going to be planting constantly throughout the year. If you’re like most growers, you have certain times of year that you plant sets of crops. So getting the planting periods right is important.

This article covers how to make a crop plan that allows you to maximize your garden yield by simply making a growing strategy upfront.

Why you need a crop plan

If you don’t start with a plan for your garden, you risk using the space available inefficiently. And honestly, most of us don’t have unlimited space for gardening. Starting with a crop plan allows you to get an even bigger harvest, without any extra tinkering with nutrient supplements or additives.

3 Tips to Maximize Harvest & Simplify Your Garden Routine by Stacey Murphy

It also saves you time, which can be a big benefit for a lot of growers. Sure, you may love your garden, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have unlimited time to play in it outside of work, family, and household responsibilities.

Another benefit to the plan is that it actually saves you money.

If you know how many plantings you are going to do for the year, you can have a pretty good idea of how many seeds, seedlings, and various growing supplies you’re going to need. And that means you can buy them in bulk and get better prices.

What’s in a crop plan

A crop plan isn’t just about arranging your plants. It’s an entire strategy for your growing season. A properly set up crop plan includes what species and varieties you are planting, where each set of plants goes in your space, when they will be planted, and how many specimens you will plant for each type.

One of the easiest ways to set this up is with a spreadsheet.

3 Tips to Maximize Harvest & Simplify Your Garden Routine by Stacey Murphy

Now, I know not everyone is a spreadsheet fan. So if that’s not for you, you can also use any kind of notebook with rows and columns. You can make a document without rows and columns if that works for you. You can use any number of planning apps. Or just make up your own method of documenting the plan.

Heck, you could even make an infographic of the plan if you really want to. The physical appearance of your crop plan isn’t important as long as it makes sense to you and you can read it.

How to use the plan

You garden plan should function in part as a growing calendar. With that in mind, you’ll want to include a prep period in your plan. That way, when the day comes for planting, you’re not scrambling to get your soil beds, containers, or hydroponic system set up.

Plan a day to take care of all the prep and setup. Then, when planting time comes, you’ll already be prepared.

You should also make sure your plan looks forward far enough on your calendar. If you know you’re going to rotate crops by the season or do multiple plantings, go ahead and mark down the dates for the harvest of the first sets of crops and the planting dates for additional sets.

If you’re growing plants for harvesting, then this includes plantings that are spaced out to allow for consecutive harvests over several weeks.

Tip replay:

  1. Get everything together that you need and prep your grow area before planting day.
  2. Plan every planting period for the year.

Going forward, you can make time each year to make your crop plan for the upcoming year. You should be able to pinpoint the growing periods that are slower and will allow time for making your plan.

Keep reading the Indoor Cultivator blog to keep up on growing and hydroponics ideas. And feel free to comment on our Facebook page with a photo of your crop plan.

See the full crop planning video by Stacey Murphy.

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