Planning for Blooms All Summer Long
The last few weeks have been spent poring over seed catalogs and planning for our 2018 season. To be completely honest I wanted to have this finished by the end of 2017 but that just didn't happen and you know what? It wasn't the end of the world. Sometimes I put all of this pressure on myself but it's actually nice to have some time right now to plan while it's cold and there is not much to do outside. With that being said I do have a goal to have everything at least ordered by the end of 2018 for the 2019 season.
One question I have been asked a lot is how do I know when and what to plant so that I can have flowers blooming all season long? Today I thought I would give you a little glimpse into how I do this. This is only my second season so I am by no means a pro at it and am trying something completely different than I did last year. We'll see if it works and if not then I'll keep tweaking until I figure out what works best for us.
Last year during the planning process I used a simple basic calendar and flipped back and forth. I would determine when I needed to start a particular variety, mark that date and then count ahead four weeks to the date that I needed to plant it in the field. Next I would look ahead to when I expected it to bloom and mark that date. This was A LOT of flipping back and forth in the calendar. So this year I took to the internet to see what everyone else was doing and adapted my own spreadsheet on what I feel will work best for me. Below is a little glimpse of what I am including on this year's growing guide.
I have eleven different columns (you can only see 10 in this screen shot). The first is the Month and it is broken down into weeks. Next is the Sow Date; in the growing world, each week of the year is given a number (i.e. January 1-6 is week 1 and December 23-29 is week 52). Next I have the Crop (flower variety), Growing Method, Germination Requirements, Growing Conditions, Transplant Week, Spacing, Bed Space (how many feet per bed for that particular flower), Harvest Start Week (when I expect to be able to start harvesting) and the column you cannot see is for Additional Notes.
If I look at week 11 (March 11-17), I know that I will need to start Stock, Strawflowers, Ammi and Salvia. I next look at whether these are going to be started or planted directly into the field and if I scroll across I know I need to plant these out on weeks 14 (April 1-7) and 15 (April 8-14). I can keep looking across and know that I can expect these to be blooming weeks 22 & 24 (22 = May 24-June 2, 24 = June 10-16).
We are doing the flowers for my nephews wedding on June 9th so I can filter weeks 22 and 23 to see what I am expecting/hoping to be blooming during that time.
I am really excited to give this method of planning a try as I think it will really streamline and make it more efficient for me as well as give more efficiency in tracking from year to year. This is not my concept as I have adapted it from several ladies in the biz who have been generous enough to share their methods and I just tweaked it with the info that is important to me.
I am probably only a quarter of the way through this so we'll see if it pays off and I truly do have a great variety all season long!