It’s not too late for a new New Year’s resolution, is it? Because this year, I resolve to keep more gardening records. Because when the seed catalogs start arriving, my husband and I start having the “broken record” conversation over… and over… and over again.

“How many rows of green beans should we plant?”

“I dunno… about the same as last year, I guess.”

“How many rows did we plant last year?”

“I dunno... maybe 6?”

“So how many rows of green beans should we plant this year?”

<heavy sigh> <hubby heavy sigh>

Don’t even get me started on the “how many tomato plants should we start in the greenhouse?” subject. What makes this all the more ironic is that I’m kind of an Excel junkie. If it involves numbers (budgeting) or keeping track of data (Christmas cards & gifts), I’m going to put it into a spreadsheet. Mainly because I’m too lazy to do math in my head and I can never find the calculator app on my smartphone when I need it.

But for the past few years, my gardening records have been limited to output – how much of what did we can or freeze, and how much do we need to can or freeze this year. I can trace it back to the year we canned 85 quarts of green beans and I didn’t know whether that was going to last us one year or four (turned out to be more like 2). So for the past 4 years we’ve kept track of what we put up for winter and then taken an inventory in the spring (a good way to remind ourselves to defrost the freezers) to determine how much of a given vegetable we eat in a year. This not only tells us how much to plant, but more importantly, tells us when to stop canning & freezing and just call the neighbors over to enjoy our surplus produce!

But what we haven’t been good about (obviously) is keeping track of what we planted that produced that carefully recorded harvest. So here are the records I resolve to keep this year:

  • What varieties we planted, and whether we liked them enough to plant again
  • How many rows or ounces of seeds we planted, and when
  • Whether that was too much, not enough, or just right for our fresh, canned & frozen needs
  • When we started seeds in the greenhouse

Are you to keep some records, too? This is a great time of year to get your templates built, before the real work begins, and there are any number of templates available online to get you started, including this pretty one from Microsoft. Isn’t it Micro-sweet?