The biggest difficulty I faced, when I started the vegetable garden and, more generally, when I started to have to take care of my garden, was to manage the impressive amount of information I suddenly had to master: remembering the names of the trees and plants, their maintenance, their needs in water, in light, in type of soil… from the sowing periods to the names and treatments of the diseases that inevitably end up contaminating our garden. It was obvious from the start that in order to maintain my garden well, and hope one day to grow something in my vegetable garden, a good organization, a precise follow-up and well filed notes would be necessary. Fortunately, my garden came into my life at about the same time as Foglietto. Foglietto has proven to be particularly useful in the vegetable garden, where there is a need to plan but also to experiment and adjust continuously, and where several readings are often necessary to understand and therefore act in a reasoned manner. Today, I’m sharing my way of doing things, but here again: it’s up to you to make the most of Foglietto’s unlimited flexibility to adapt this example to your own needs and desires! Organizing your garden is essential, but it doesn’t have to be complicated…
Little bonus: a surprise is hidden further down in this article!
The toolkit for gardeners who don’t want to get bored:
Organizing your vegetable garden: what information do you need to record?
Let’s start by getting this in order! There are essentially three types of information you will need to record, concerning your garden and your vegetable garden. For this, you will make three types of cards: resource cards, plot cards and follow-up cards.
The resource cards gather all the “practical” information concerning the trees, plants, flowers, vegetables and other vegetation that you will plant in your garden. You will dedicate a card to each variety, for example a card for Oslo Blue tomatoes and another card for Beefheart tomatoes. On each of them, you will note the exact name of the plant, its variety, the dates of purchase, sowing and planting of the seeds or the plant, and any other information you deem useful, especially concerning its maintenance. You can choose a color for trees, another color for vegetables, another for perennial and annual flowers, etc. Over time, you can add other information, such as annual harvests, which will allow you to compare the yield of each variety.
The plot cards will initially contain less information, but will be enriched as the year progresses. You will devote one card per year to each zone or cultivated area of your garden. You will note the size of the area, the care you give to it (for example, whether you amend the soil or not), and your planting plans for the coming year. These sheets will be particularly useful in the medium and long term to see the evolution of your practices and your garden.
Finally, the follow-up sheets include harvesting and maintenance sheets. Depending on whether you are more interested in the yield of each plot or of each vegetable variety, you can create a harvest sheet by plot and by year or by vegetable and by year. I personally opted for the latter option, so that I could more easily see which crops were the most productive. In the same way, the maintenance sheets can be made by garden area or by plant species. They will include all the indications concerning the pruning and the preventive or curative care given to each plant, except for the vegetable garden plants. You can also create weather reports, and many others depending on your gardening practices.
With Foglietto, as with the vegetable garden, you will undoubtedly need to experiment with different ways of doing things before finding the one that suits you best and seems the most intuitive.
What if, in addition to a well-thought stationery, we offered you carefully selected seeds to start this new vegetable season well equipped?
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Sowing, planting, plots, maintenance, harvesting... How to classify all the information of the vegetable garden?
This classification step is far from secondary: it is essential. It is what will allow you to easily cross-reference the grids and understand, at a glance, what tasks need to be done today in the garden, or why this or that crop did not turn out as you expected. Here again, several options are available to you.
We have chosen here a classification by type of activity, because this will help us later on for point n°3, planning and organizing your vegetable garden. The idea here is to have three main categories of cards (indicated by a tab on the left):
- Resource cards: plant cards, technical cards, recipe cards (different purins, natural treatments against pests, etc.)…
- Plots and zones of your garden,
- The planning sheets, month by month or week by week.
You can add, if you wish, secondary categories under these main tabs: for example a tab for each month of the year under the “planning” sheets.
Your cards will move from one category to another according to your needs. Let’s take an example: you plan to plant 5 Oslo Blue tomatoes and 2 White Trieste zucchinis in May on your plot n°3 and to water them, at planting time, with a nettle manure that will boost their growth. You will therefore slip, under your “Planning” tab of “May”, the plant cards of the tomato and zucchini varieties concerned, as well as your plot card and, why not, your recipe card for the nettle purin. When the time comes, you will have everything at hand!
As far as equipment is concerned, you can opt for a wooden box, Tesoro or Scatola, or an Archivio archiving box. Both have their advantages for this type of activity: the wooden box will not be afraid to accompany you in the garden, while the Archivio box, made of cardboard, will also accommodate most standard size seed packets.
How do you make your cultivation and garden work schedule from all this?
That’s all well and good, but now, how do we use all this information carefully compiled and classified on our cards to organize our vegetable garden and follow our crops on a daily basis? We will proceed in three steps, a bit like brainstorming.
First step: you will distribute your vegetable cards on your plot cards. You have normally noted on each vegetable card the type of soil and exposure that each plant needs, and vice versa, you have noted on each plot card the type of soil and sunlight that it receives. All you have to do is mix and match the plant cards with the most compatible plot cards, while paying attention to the favorable or unfavorable associations between vegetables, which you will have noted on each vegetable card, and to the ratio of available space to desired yield.
Second step: adjust all of this by establishing your crop rotation plan, in order to rotate the different crops on the same plot. You will probably have to make some changes as you plan, so that you can match one plot with all your crops. Write down the crops you plan to grow on each plot with a pencil as you go along. Conversely, you can also write the plot number and the growing season on the card for each vegetable. Cross-referencing information is essential in gardening!
Finally, the third step is to use this plan and your vegetable and maintenance sheets to establish your sowing, planting and maintenance schedule for the coming year. To do this, you can use monthly “To-do” cards, for example by setting up a color code. For example, you could have 4 “To-do” cards in May: a pink one for sowing, a blue one for transplanting/planting, a yellow one for maintenance (preparation of plots, pruning of trees, preventive care, etc.) and others according to your needs.
Once this is done, your yearly schedule will be ready! You can post your monthly lists in a prominent place, for example in your kitchen, or store them in your vegetable garden tracking box, ready to be taken out as soon as a ray of sunshine allows you to go for a walk in the vegetable garden.
In short, to organize your vegetable garden...
In short, vegetable gardening is a balance between reflection and action, between theoretical learning and practical experimentation… Everything that Foglietto loves! Our little cards will be a perfect support to record your inspirations, your reading notes and your field notes, which will in turn feed your reflection and the creation of your vegetable garden plan and, finally, your monthly activity schedule! You’ll never forget when to plant a certain vegetable or how to prune a certain tree. And the best part? You will be able to keep track of all this from year to year, so you can see your evolution and that of your garden.