For years I’ve been meaning to figure out a way to make my crop planning files available on line. Actually, one of the things that has been delaying me is that I didn’t really want to put them up without some instructions on how to use them. The files themselves are probably interesting to some, but the process of creating them, editing them, and using them effectively isn’t completely self evident just looking at the files themselves so I’ve been wanting to write up some tips to go along with them.
Last week I was at the Future Harvest -Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture annual conference and one of the workshops I presented was the basics of how to use this planning system. I offered to email folks these sample files but I decided, after years of emailing individuals copies that it would be good if I just put them up in a public place for people to access.
There are four files I’m making available. The first is a PDF version of the slides from my presentation. These give a very rough outline of the process. There is also a sample harvest plan, sample “master” which is basically the full planting plan, and sample maps. All three of these files are .xls files and have tons of bad data in them, don’t trust the data. They are simply a sample of the kinds of sheets that I produce for different projects and they contain examples of the kinds of formulas that I use in the planning process, examples of how I format different cells and one way to layout the information needed in a season for planting out a diverse bunch of vegetables.
Feel free to download these files and let me know if you have questions. My intention is still to put up more information on this site on how to use them, and also examples of other sheets, maybe even some with good data in them. I’m currently using Apple’s Numbers more than Excel, and to be honest the sample sheets were created in NeoOffice, or maybe OpenOffice, I can’t remember which. Numbers makes things look nice and simplifies some of the sorting, but it’s less flexible and powerful than Excel, or the open source options.
Lots of folks have asked me if I sell these spread sheets and the short answer is that I don’t. I would love to have folks who find these useful donate to the site and let me know what works for them and what doesn’t, what they’d like more information on. I’d also like to hear if folks make improvements they think are significant. If you’d like to have a training on how to use the sheets that’s what I sell. I can do trainings for individual farms, or for groups and typically the basics take about 3 hours to go through in a group.
Keep an eye on this site for more information on the sheets. The next conference I’ll be talking about the sheets at is MOSES’s Organic U (linked to below).