I love when artistic gardeners sketch their garden plans, and you can see how these creative folks imagine their yields of summer buzzing with bees and sunshine. I wish I could plan like that, with such grace and aesthetic sensibility. But I suck at drawing and make lots of mistakes. I need a tool for the job of planning a garden.
So I figured I could start with graph paper. But who wants to pull out paper and pencil, especially when you’re already reading this on a screen? Sometimes it’s OK to stick to screens! So I found out how to make a Spreadsheet look like graph paper at this site.
Pretty easy to do! So easy that I made a quick template so you don’t even have to read that site and can just download your own here:
Ferrin Brook Farm’s FREE Garden Planner Graph Paper
Don’t have Microsoft Excel (or don’t want to use it? This file can also be used in Google Sheets, very easily. Simply upload the file to your Google Drive and open. When Google Drive previews the file, there will be a link at the top of the screen to Open With Google Sheets–click it and you can skip the whole Excel thing!
I quickly used this tool to mock up something similar to what we did in one of our very successful gardens last year. This is included on the “Sample” tab of the template for you to see.
Here are some key tips to using this template:
- Plan your garden in terms of feet and think of every cell in the template as a 1 x 1 foot square.
- Think of 3-4 letter abbreviations to use for each vegetable that you’ll understand easily. Some examples:
- CUKE = cucumber
- BNUT = butternut squash
- TOM = tomato
- PSNP = parsnip
- KALE = lettuce (jk jk lol)
- Insert rectangle shapes with no fill and dark borders to outline different sections of the garden. You could also use cell borders to outline like I did in the sample.
- It might be a good idea to outline the entire space you will be using first, and fill in from there so you don’t accidentally plan for more than you have space for!
- Be sure to save your work every year so you can use it as a reference point for the next year’s garden!
And if you know your way around the formatting tools in Microsoft Office or Google Sheets, you can still make this… kinda pretty to look at with some cell shading or even inserting images and shapes. Have fun and happy organized gardening!