Are visions of bountiful gardens dancing in your head? Here are four essential garden planning tools to help you kick off your best garden season yet.

My Journey to Creating the Garden Planning Tools

I was sorely lacking in a streamlined approach my first few gardening seasons. Without records, I didn’t know when things should be, or had been, planted. I lacked a plan other than “I want a garden.”

When I got outside, I had no idea how to prioritize my time. I was the poster child of an ADD gardener: “Oh, look at this!” And, ohhh, I want to work on this!” I was dizzy from turning in circles!

I didn’t feel connected to my garden because I was caught up in the pressure of deciding what to work on.  This is what entrepreneur Tim Ferriss calls “decision fatigue”.

I longed for a garden planning process that would keep all of my gardening resources and tasks in one place. Wouldn’t it be great if I could eliminate all of the random scraps of notes and the slew of web pages bookmarked on my computer?

After a few years of experimenting, I created my own Micro-Farm Organization Process. It has worked wonders to keep me organized and help me grow my best garden. In this article, I share this process with you, including how I use monthly checklists, calendars, and spreadsheets.

These tools will help define your priorities so you can enjoy your time in the garden. Checklists remove the mental energy of decision-making.

Create Monthly Checklists

Another one of my garden planning tools that is a lifesaver is the monthly checklists. I use them to keep track of garden tasks and when to do them throughout the year. I like to set these up before the garden season is in full swing.

The checklists help me visualize what’s in store for any given month, and help me remember once-a-year tasks that are easily forgotten, such as pruning the fruit trees or berry bushes. I’ll add things like, ‘Set up indoor seed starting system’ on my January checklist, or ‘Sow peas’ to my March checklist.

Checklists are a great way to help you use your time efficiently.

After I’ve decided what to plant and have completed my Seed Starting & Planting spreadsheet, then I fill in my monthly checklists with harvesting, planting, and sowing information. The first column of the spreadsheet lists the tasks and in the second column I add the date completed.

I treat the checklist like a to-do list that orders tasks by priority.

Harvesting should be the number one priority. Even if you don’t get the chance to plant anything else, at least you can reap what you’ve already taken the time to sow .