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Easy Peasy Harvest Calculator

If the rest of you already knew how to do this, kindly keep it to yourself so I can maintain some shred of dignity…

“Wah,” I whinged to Annette, “I want a harvest calculator.  Plodding through calendars counting out 70 days, 83 days, etc. is a pain in the ass.”

“Excel, dork,” she helpfully replied.

*facepalm* Of course!  You can pre-format fields to anything you like…including dates…and then set up equations to calculate the date plus however many days, and walla, it outputs the harvest date!  Sooo very simple!  It takes no time at all to set up. And of course, once it is set up you’ll find your time becomes a lot less consumed by the endless harvest calculations you had to do manually before, so you can drift off to the TV or http://www.partycasino.com/ for a while if you like. Why? Because this technique means most of the work’s done for you!

Since it’s nice and slow today (and I’m suffering from Being a Girl, thus disinclined to do anything more strenuous than lifting a rifle to take out the first person who annoys me) here are insanely detailed instructions on how to set up your own Harvest Calculator spreadsheet.

Open M$ Excel (or whichever spreadsheet app pleases you most), which should automatically bring up a blank worksheet.  In FBY-approved anal retentive fashion, set up your headings for each column, then enter your first item, its start date and the days to harvest.


Now you’re going to change column B to a date format.  Click the B at the top of the column to select the entire column, then right click on the B to open the options window, and select FORMAT CELLS.


Click DATE in the left option box, and select the date format that most pleases you in the right.  Click OK to save.


Do the same for the Harvest Date Column, column D.


Now we set up our formula.  Click the box under Harvest Date (on the same row as your crop data is already entered), then above in the toolbar, click the Sigma symbol (the pointy E).


That will start the sum equation.  Click the first part you want for the equation, in this case the Start Date of the Purple Haze Carrots, and that will automatically enter B2 in the equation in box D2.


Manually type a + symbol to add, then click the second part of the equation, box C2 for Days to Harvest.


Hit Enter and that will complete the calculation.


Hm…looks like I’m a little late in getting those things harvested!

To add more items just enter your Crop, Start Date and Days to Harvest, but instead of going through all the steps above to set up your equations, just grab the bottom right corner of the equation box (here D2) and drag it down to the bottom of your filled in rows.


When you let the mouse button go at the bottom of the row, the equation will be copied to all those boxes and it will autofill the results.


If you’re FBY-approved anal retentive (LIKE ME!), and have skipped a row between entries, just delete the boxes in the D column that you’re not using and walla!


Now for the fun bit…  Date to harvest is technically the number of days after TRANSPLANTING started plants (those with two sets of leaves) into the garden.  So if you’re tracking things from seed, as I am, add 14 days to the Days to Harvest and you should come out with a more realistic harvest date.  Even more confusing…I’m only adding 14 days because I’m growing in central Florida…you might need to add more if you’re more northerly.

As with everything gardening, you play it by ear and see what works for you in your area.  At least with this spreadsheet you now have at least an idea of when the underground things are nearing harvest time instead of having to uproot a poor carrot every week or so to see how they’re doing!