Tracking your harvests is a great way to see how well your garden performs each year. In this post, I’ll show you how to keep track of your harvests step-by-step. Plus, I’ll give you a free printable garden harvest tracking sheet that will make it super easy for you to record everything.
Keeping track of your harvests may seem tedious, but it ultimately helps you be a more successful gardener. First of all, it’s fun to see how much food you can grow in your garden.
But when you keep records like this, it will also be easier to plan for future years. You can see exactly what’s working the best in your garden, and ditch the stuff that isn’t. You can also compare it to your previous records to see how your garden performs year over year.
Plus, you can find out how much money your garden saves you at the supermarket. And trust me, this can be a huge eye-opener, especially if you calculate the cost of buying organic produce.
Benefits Of Tracking Your Harvests
There are tons of benefits for keeping track of your harvests. I already touched on a few above, but I thought it would be best to list them all out for you in once place. So, here are the benefits of recording your garden harvests…
- Calculate how much total produce your garden grows each year
- See how much of each type of crop you harvested during the season
- Help you to plan for next year
- Find out your yield per square foot (if that’s your thang)
- See what did well, and what didn’t
- Determine what was worth the space and effort, and what wasn’t
- Figure out how much money you saved at the grocery store
- Reflect on your process by looking back at historical data (journaling)
- Compare how your garden performs year over year
- Enable you to get as much food as possible from your garden
- Earn bragging rights by showing your family and friends exactly how much food you grew
How To Track Your Harvests
It’s best to track your harvests by either weight (pounds or ounces), or by volume (ounces, cups, or gallons). Weight is the most accurate unit of measure. It’s easy to weight everything you harvest using an inexpensive kitchen scale.
I don’t recommend tracking by the amount of items you harvested. The reason is because each item you grow in your garden can be a different size, even if it comes from the same crop.
Regardless of whether you choose weight or volume, just be sure to be consistent. Stick to the same unit of measure for each type of crop throughout the season.
How To Use The Garden Harvest Tracking Sheet
To make it super easy for you to get started recording your harvests, I decided to share my custom-designed tracking sheet with you. I created this Garden Harvest Tracking Sheet several years ago in order to record my own harvests.
It’s very simple to use, and you don’t need to buy any fancy software. This handy printable tracking sheet can sit right on your counter so you can quickly pencil in your numbers with each new harvest.
- Kitchen scale, a measuring cup, large measuring bowl, or gallon bucket
- Pen or pencil
- My Garden Harvest Tracking Sheet
Step 1: Download and print the sheet – Here’s a link to download the sheet… Garden Harvest Tracking Sheet. The sheet has some color on it, but it’s mostly black & white. So, you can print it either in color or B&W.
Just be sure to set your printer to landscape, if it doesn’t default to that. After printing out the sheet, the first thing to do is write the year in the upper right hand corner.
Step 2: Determine the unit of measure for each crop – As I said above, weight is the most accurate. A good rule of thumb is to use the same unit of measure that your grocery store does.
For example, heavier vegetables (e.g.: cucumbers, beans, potatoes) are usually sold in pounds, and lighter weight crops (e.g.: salad greens, herbs) in ounces.
Step 3: Measure your harvest – Each time you harvest any item from your garden, bring it into the kitchen and measure it right away. Either use your kitchen scale to weigh it, or use a measuring cup, a large measuring bowl, or a one gallon bucket (for huge harvests!).
Step 4: Record it on the sheet – The first two lines on the harvest tracking sheet are examples of how to use it. Write down the crop and the variety (optional), then fill in the unit of measure you plan to use for that specific crop. Next, put the date in the first column, and the amount you harvested (weigh/volume) right below it.
Note: if you’re weighing heavier vegetables, sometimes it works best to record both the pounds and ounces. Then, when you add everything, up you can convert all of those extra ounces into total pounds.
Step 5: Continue to record your harvests – As you harvest throughout the season, continue tracking every item, and recording it on the worksheet. Each time you harvest something that’s already on the sheet, you just need to add in the date and amount on that same row.
Otherwise, start another row for each newly harvested crop. If you need additional rows and columns, simply print more copies of the sheet.
Step 6: Record the grocery store prices (optional) – If you want to take it one step further, bring your sheet to the grocery store in order to calculate the cost savings. For each item on your sheet, write down their unit of measure, and the price you would pay for it.
If you grow your food organically, then be sure to use that price. For example, organic tomatoes at my local supermarket cost $2.69 per pound.
Record the supermarket prices as you go, or wait until your sheet is completely filled in, and do it all at once. Just keep in mind that if you wait too long, then seasonal summer vegetables may no longer be available at the store.
You should be able to get prices for many of the items on your sheet. However, sometimes they either won’t carry it in the organic section, or you can’t find it at all. Don’t feel bad. That just gives you further validation that those crops are worth growing.
Step 7: Calculate your cost savings (optional) – Once you’re done harvesting, and have recorded all the prices you can, then it’s time to add up the totals. Expanding on my earlier example… last year I harvested 30.5 pounds of organic tomatoes from my garden. If I were to buy all of those at my local supermarket, I would have paid a total $82.05! WOW!
Step 8: Keep your sheet for next year – Tuck your harvest tracking sheets away somewhere to save them for next year. You can use them for planning your next vegetable garden, and also to compare how much your harvests change each year.
Tracking your garden harvests is both rewarding and satisfying. It’s amazing how much even a small garden can save you on your grocery bill. Plus, it really helps you to see which crops are worth growing, and which ones you can feel good about skipping next year.
More Info About Harvesting
Share your tips or method of tracking your harvests in the comments section below.