Four things that will be of great assistance to the experienced gardener, and that are indispensable to the success of the beginner. They are the Planting Plan, the Planting Table, the Check List and the Garden Records. The purpose of those four garden helps is simply to make your work less and your returns more.
Without using them to some extent, or in some modified form, you can never know just what you are doing with your garden or what improvements to make next year. Of course, each of the plans or lists suggested here is only one of many possible combinations. You should be able to find, or better still to construct, similar ones better suited to your individual taste, need and opportunity.
To make the Planting Plan take a sheet of white paper and a ruler and mark off a space the shape of your garden. In assigning space for the various vegetables several things should be kept in mind in order to facilitate planting, replanting and cultivating the garden.
Crops that remain several years–rhubarb and asparagus–are kept at one end. Next come such as will remain a whole season–parsnips, carrots, onions and the like. And finally those that will be used for a succession of crops–peas, lettuce, spinach.
The Planting Table, or a list of when you should plant a particular vegetable, depends very much on the climate zone in which you live. On the back of most seed packets you should find recommendations on when to sow the seeds. In addition, you can find information in gardening magazines or on the online seed merchants websites.
The Check List is the counterpart of the planting table, so arranged that its use will prevent anything from being overlooked or left until too late. Prepare it ahead of the growing season, when you have time to think of everything. Make it up from your planting table and from the previous year’s record. Put down on a sheet of paper the things to be done each month (or week) and cross them off as they are attended to. Without some such system it is almost a certainty that you will overlook some important things.
Garden Records are no less important. They may be kept in the simplest sort of way, but be sure to keep hem The garden records will require only a few minutes’ attention each week and yet will prove of the greatest assistance in planning the garden next season.