Saturday, March 6, 2010

plotting and planning

I am in need of  a map maker, one that can fit all of my garden beds onto one  sheet of paper. I then would like it  laminated so I can use dry erase  markers to  plot and plan the beds each season and wipe it all clean again and start over. I would like it so that it   folds up like a map and is conveniently stored away when not needed. Dang, what a business venture for a talented person,  too bad I have no such talents.

I love plotting and scheming planning the gardens out each  season but I am horrific at actually mapping all of the beds out  and especially bad at getting them all on  a single slab of paper. I think much of my issue is the terrain of the land and because they are  spread over approximately 5 acres of land. If it was a big old flat spot it would make things much easier however I have beds on   hillsides, in dips and down in  hollers and to top it off I am a horrible artist and can draw nothing to scale.

Today I am heading out to once again try and get the beds on a piece of paper and decide what is going where and when.It is always fun to  try and rotate things too as we grow so many  things that it is hard to find a rotation system  that works out according to soil  and space needs. I am doing more productive things too, no worries, I have the manthing with tiller in hand  and I have lots of carrots and onions to go in

Although I spend countless hours each winter doing these two jobs, more often than not I end up just planting  what ever feels right  at the time the bed is ready. I then scribble it on a scrap piece of paper that   eventually gets thrown out and I am left to wondering for several weeks just what I planted where. Thankfully  I have a pretty good memory and at least remember that a particular bed is planted. Well except for that one bed last year that I had the poor kids  prepare for me no less three times and wound up with a mixed mess of veggies that was near impossible to get in to because it had so much seed.

I still would like a fold up laminated map of all the beds though, I would feel much more organized  with it.  What sort of system do you use for plotting and planning your beds and for crop rotation?


  1. Hey dilli, thanks for the seeds in trade! they came on thurs. We do most of the garden planning as we go along. One of my gardens gets really wild looking because I allow some volunteers to grow just to see what it s going to be. It usually turns out not so good, so I am letting them stay less each year. We don't have near as much to keep track of a you do.

  2. I've never really done any garden planning. Maybe I should though, I always try to plant too much in too little space...

  3. I just found your blog and love it! I think I will learn a lot.

    This is from the book, Year Round Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers for Metro Houston by Dr. Bob Randall. I will just type a couple of paragraphs from pages 2 and 3:

    ...Then create a scale design of your site 1/4 inch to a foot or larger. You can do tis on large drawing paper from an art supply house perhaps with plastic overlay. The web has many examples and instructions. See: [ that didn't work for me; try this: ]

    If you have micorsoft excel (or another spreadsheet program) on your computer, you can do a design drawing that you--the inexperienced landscaper--will almost certainly perfer because you can draw to scale, copy repeated elements (like beds) and correct or delete mistakes.

    Open a new spreadsheet, and configure it so that the grid is squares rather than rectangles. To do this: do a "select all" (Windows Control A; Mac Command A). then to to the Format pull-down menu and set column width and row height to the same number (e.g., .25 inches). You now have a grid you can draw on.

    Your grid squares should number at leasat the number of feet your site measure east to west and north to south. If it doesn't, reduce the width and height of the squares until it does. If there are far too many squares for the width and length of the site, increase the row height and column width some.

    Enable gridlines in the printed document. Go to the File menu, and then pull down to Page Setup. Click the tab marked Sheet and then click Gridlines.

    In the Vies menu, pull-down to Toolbars, and pull that down to Drawing. A Drawing menu will appear on the screen that you can use to draw all sorts of shapes and lines on the grid. If you are not familiar with such drrawing tools, some experimentation with the different tools will be very rewarding. Or ask a teenager.

    Once you have the tools for a design, you can go about creating a good one. My recommendation is to talk it over with as many people you can get to look at it.
    (end of quote)

    Once you did this, I would make a couple of copies. Then I would fold one of the copies the way you want it to be when it is folded up and cut along the lines. Next, tape it back together, but with spaces between each panel.

    Now, take it to an office supply place to get it laminated. You should be able to fold it more easily since you cut it and created a slight paper-free margin.

    Okay, now I am back to reading some posts!


  4. Dang! I forgot to proof. Some typos:

    You can do *this* on large drawing

    In the *Views* menu, pull-down to Toolbars,

    If you are not familiar with such *drawing* tools