Getting Organised

I’ve cleared out my seed box, cleaned it out and put everything back sorted into which month they need to be sown in. It feels good to be this organised at the beginning of the seed sowing season.

It’s pretty difficult to put seeds into the months they are sown in because most seeds have a period of a few months where they ‘can’ be sown. If you sow them at the beginning of that period then you’ll get an early crop, if you sow them at the end then you’ll get a late crop. What I decided to do is to put the seeds in the month that they can be sown in first. Then if I want to sow them successionally I will move them to the month after once I have sown them.

This works fine for most things except seeds that need to be sown more often than every month – example Lettuce, Radish and other quick maturing crops. These I put into a separate compartment for seeds that are sown virtually all summer at fortnightly intervals. And I just dip in and out of that one.

It would be brilliant if growing vegetables were more simple than this, but unfortunately it’s not. What to sow when was the one thing that I struggled with for probably the first two or three years of growing. And still the only way I can feel truly in control is to constantly check sowing times and reorganise my seeds yet again!

29 Comments on “Getting Organised

  1. My problem is actually doing the sowing. Last year I sowed far too late, desperately, and ended up with leeks that were thinner than spring onions (eek!). Can you do a series on how to get around to do the gardening when you have a little one (and a job, I assume?) to tend to? Because I end up failing that bit miserably… :)

  2. That’s a really handy tip, actually – I’ll give it a go this year. I’m still at the confused stage, this being only my second year of growing. I’m starting to think I’ve ordered way too many seed potatoes and there’ll be no room for anything else.

    Do seed potatoes keep for another year?

  3. I tried this method year before last but found it didn’t work for me for the same reasons you mentioned in paragraph 2 & 3.

    Taking a defunct diary and writing the name of crops to be sown in each month on the correct page is what worked for me last year so I’ll be doing so again.

    Well done you for being so organised already I’m yet to get round to this but my seed boxes were tidied just before christmas.

  4. What a great idea. I’m going to do the same. I have already written in a diary but cannot remember where I left it!

  5. ooohhh lovely… Can you share a short calendar showing what to plant and when? That might be helpful for the gardening challenged people like me… Love your blog, been reading for a year now…

  6. Our growing season is very long for many crops, so a monthly arrangement wouldn’t work here. I’m fortunate enough to have a guide that works well for my area, so I use that and store the seeds in alphabetical order. I have a long plastic container so the packets can stand up. It gets complicated when you start growing seedlings, though, so I’ve arranged a spreadsheet that tells me when to plant out the seedlings as well as sow seed.

  7. Thank you! Just starting my 3rd year of growing vegetables, and this has been one of the two things that always confuse me. I’m glad that even experts find it complicated!

    (The other confusion was down to me first thinking I had plenty of time to sow things, then being panicked by something I had read to sow them immediately, only to later realise I had sown them too early. It all came down to my reading of gardening mags, and not realising that even though I have bought and read the mag in early April, that the magazine and its contents all relate to things to do in *May*.)

  8. That is a great idea! Our Achilles heel in the allotment has always been our lack of organisation and hopefully, this will be a step in the right direction.

    This evening after work, I will follow the advice.

    While here, I have a question:
    For reasons that might have or not, been outlined above, I did not put down my garlic last year. I have the feeling that waiting all the way to this year’s autumn might be too far away, so I was planning giving it a go and putting the garlic in pots in the green house, does that sounds too outlandish . . . Any advice will be most welcomed!

  9. I’m right there in the middle of struggling with the “what to plant when” issues…. how do you get the initial starting points without the years of data to know what’s right in your area. Yes, there are the zones, but last year that planning proved an utter failure in terms of timing for me.

  10. Thanks so much for the simplest idea which is brilliant ! Why on earth didn’t I think of that !
    I just wish (as I am sure a LOT of people do …) that I had more TIME!!

  11. I make a list of all the seed I have and then note at the side of each one when it should be planted. It usually works for me.

  12. That’s a good idea. I do a charty, listy type thing, and then neglect to follow it. Shall give your approach a try this year (I’m really poor at successional sowings so this might help!)

  13. Important thing to remember is don’t sow stuff too early straight into the soil. You learn over the years that sowing when the soil has warmed up means seeds germinate better and catch up with earlier sown stuff. Decide which things are best sown in modules and pots, what needs successional sowing into open soil, what needs one-off sowing in open ground and sort seed packets accordingly. Once you have grown for a few seasons you’ll get the hang of it all and how the weather will change things. You have to learn to sense what do to when….it can take a few years. Been doing it for 40 years and still learning !!! Look for an old fashioned veg book like ‘How to Grow and Produce Your Own Food ‘ by the wonderfully named Charles Boff. Some of it is dated but the fundamentals still apply.

  14. Great advice Jane. I have an old book that I use all the time ‘In Your Garden’ by Percy Thrower. He lists what to do in the week by week (rather than month by month). He also tells you to put loads of chemicals on your plot but I just ignore that bit :)

  15. I tend to frequently reorganise my seeds, but tend to do them into planting groups. I have a box of drawers that I can put each set into: brassicas, peas and beans, roots, saladings, greenhouse, herbs, etc.

  16. Gardening should be fun and you certainly seem to describe it as such. Seeds are a vital aspect to gardening and how to take care of them is tricky. Seed planting season is my favourite time of year and to watch the seeds geow in your garden is a great experience. I reorganise my seeds into planting groups also like another poster. I have written about this on previous blogs and find it great that Im not the only person out there that does this.

  17. Oooo what a great idea!
    I am totally stealing this! It will organize my messy seed box and hopefully I won’t forget to plant things like I did last year.

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  20. Great idea! I have vowed to be more organised this year and have just finished making my seed box out of the Dobies box that this year’s seed order arrived in.

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  23. awesome idea! how funny i was wondering what i could do about my constant dilemma of not planting seeds on time. This is IT!

  24. Excellent idea organizing seeds by the month. It seems a little too rigid to me, but then I have along gorwing season. Here it is July, and Im still sowing cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. Our first frost doesnt normally occur until November, so I still have time.

    But it is a great way to get the season underway, knowing what will go in at the beginning according to the month. Nice!

  25. Great post! I’m all for reading about organising ideas – how long do you keep your seeds for? I’ve sown seeds 3 years out of date, but think i’m chancing my arm after that. What a good idea though, to plan your seeds in this way.

  26. This is a great idea! My seeds sit all together in a small box, have to sort through to even remember what I have sometimes and can never remember when to sow.