Now that you have your garden plan all mapped out, and know just how many plants you can actually squeeze into each row or bed, it’s time to transfer that information over and create a seed sowing schedule. Obviously, shrubs, vines, and potted perennials don’t go on the schedule, but anything that you’ll be starting from seed does.
Some varieties like zinnias that bloom over a long span of time only need to be sown once, where other varieties like sunflowers that come on like wild fire and are gone in a flash should be planted in waves to extend the harvest. For an in-depth explanation of how to spread out the flower harvest by succession planting your seeds, be sure to read this post before proceeding: Succession Planting: How To Keep The Harvest Going All Season Long
I’m a pen and paper type of person, so I always create my seeding schedule on paper. A copy of what I use is included in the Cut Flower Garden Planning Kit, which you can get for free if you preorder the Floret book. But if you’re a spreadsheet type of person, or just want to write it out on your own paper, that works great too.
I have a column for the variety name, the date I want to sow the seeds and the number of plants for each sowing, plus any special treatment notes. For example, Bells of Ireland benefit from being frozen for 10-14 days before sowing, or Sweet Peas should be soaked for 12-24 hours before planting. I try and schedule sowing multiple varieties on one day of the week, usually Mondays, to make things more efficient.
Once this sheet is all filled out, I then go through and total each row to figure out just how many seeds of each variety I need to order. I then transfer all of the important sowing dates into my planner.
For many years now I have kept a separate planner just for the garden. With so many dates and details to keep track of, I like having a designated space to keep it all organized. I also find it’s much easier to jot down notes in one single place, rather than a bunch of loose sheets which inevitably get lost, so I can easily go back and quickly reference them later. I have a box with all of my old planners in the office and regularly leaf back through the dirt stained pages to recall when important things normally take place in the garden.
This year we created my dream Garden Journal & Daily Planner. It has monthly reminders for all the important garden tasks for both mild and cold climates, plus lots of room to jot down notes and tasks on the daily pages. It’s filled with the most beautiful images captured by Chris over the past year on our farm.
This seed sowing schedule, along with your garden plan will be the road map that you follow in order to have an abundant cutting garden. Don’t rush the process. It’s totally okay if it takes you a few days to figure everything out and then get it plugged into your calendar. The hard work on the front end will totally pay off, I promise!
Also included in the kit is a Field Notes Worksheet (pictured far left). One of the keys to long term success as a flower grower is recordkeeping. It’s extremely helpful to know when and how you’ve done things in the past, and to observe your garden on a regular basis. I try and take time while things are still quiet and fill in every variety I’m growing, in alphabetical order. Then during the growing season, I can easily walk the garden every week or two and record how different varieties are performing in the garden and also note how certain seeds are germinating, when things first flowered, etc.
This worksheet is a visual reference of your successes and failures. While it seems like you’re going to remember all of the details, I find that as time passes, memories from an entire growing season become fuzzy. When taking notes, be as specific as possible because these records will come in handy when you plan and order for next year.
Tune in next week, when we’ll be digging into seed starting basics.