Example of a farm management whiteboard

DO ERASE — Ditch your farm’s whiteboard for planning

Are you using whiteboards to manage your daily to-dos? Here’s a better way to manage your operations.

Nick Burton from Victory Gardens recently published his farm operating checklist. Operating checklists are critical for a farm’s success. Even airline pilots with decades of experience still run through a checklist before and after each takeoff. Without one, small mistakes become devastating.

Every farm has standard operating procedures (SOPs) guiding daily operations. The process of managing SOPs varies from farm to farm and farmer to farmer, though there is often some consistency between the tasks. Here’s an example:

Check your systems.
Seed and harvest scheduled crops.
Clean facility.
Check inventory levels.
Prepare plans for following day/week/month.

Growers currently manage their checklists on clipboards or on large centralized dry-erase boards. With Agrilyst, growers can now manage their checklists and standard operating procedures right from our platform. Now you can track team productivity easier than ever from anywhere. You get the security and comfort of knowing what’s going on in your farm 24/7 from anywhere in the world.

We took Nick’s operating checklist, detailed each step, and set up Agrilyst to manage Nick’s farm for him. Here’s how Nick can manage his farm from anywhere at anytime with Agrilyst.

Victory Gardens Checklist:

  1. Every morning check that systems are on. Systems includes: Grow lights, timers, and pumps.
  2. Every morning check water EC (should be at 1.8 +/- .2).
  3. Every morning check pH level (should be at 6 +/- .2).
  4. Every afternoon repeat systems check and turn systems off.
  5. Every afternoon check water EC (should be at 1.8 =/- .2).
  6. Every afternoon check pH level (should be at 6 +/- .2).
  7. Every afternoon water all outside zones in the High Tunnel portion of the farm.
  8. Every afternoon fill the tomato water tank.
  9. Every afternoon fill the evaporative coolers.
  10. Every Monday send weekly email newsletter.
  11. Every Monday check last week’s checklist for orders.
  12. Every Monday schedule repairs.
  13. Every Monday harvest tagged NFT trays.
  14. Every Monday re-seed.
  15. Every Monday clean the hydroponic room.
  16. Every Monday stock the containers.
  17. Every Monday prep for Victory Lunch Club. Make and prepare dressing. Preparation for salads.
  18. Every Tuesday check the final Victory Lunch Club discrepancy counts.
  19. Every Tuesday conduct garden maintenance on zones 1 and 2.
  20. Every Tuesday clean two refrigerators.
  21. Every Tuesday make the Victory Lunch Club salads.
  22. Every Tuesday clean the kitchen.
  23. Every Tuesday plan Saturday’s Farmer’s Market.
  24. Every Tuesday order supplements.
  25. Every Wednesday deliver Victory Lunch Club salads.
  26. Every Wednesday empty all trash containers (trash is picked up Thursday morning).
  27. Every Wednesday clean the office and bathrooms.
  28. Every Thursday clean all hydroponic system filters.
  29. Every Thursday conduct garden maintenance on zones 3 and 4.
  30. Every Thursday run Victory Lunch Club credit card payments.
  31. Every Saturday check that systems are on.
  32. Every Saturday check water EC (should be at 1.8 +/- .2).
  33. Every Saturday check pH level (should be at 6 +/- .2).
  34. Every Saturday work the Farmer’s Market.
  35. Every Saturday afternoon check water EC (should be at 1.8 +/- .2).
  36. Every Saturday afternoon check pH level (should be at 6 +/- .2).
  37. Every Saturday turn off systems.
  38. Every Sunday check that systems are on.
  39. Every Sunday check water EC (should be at 1.8 +/- .2).
  40. Every Sunday check pH level (should be at 6 +/- .2).
  41. Every Sunday prune vine crops and lower trellis.
  42. Every Sunday afternoon check water EC (should be at 1.8 +/- .2).
  43. Every Sunday afternoon check pH level (should be at 6 +/- .2).
  44. Every Sunday turn off systems.
  45. Every Friday from November to March check propane and pilot lights.
  46. Every 1st Thursday deep clean the grow room (scrub all salt build up at joints, clear all micro tubing with metal rod, check flow, replace if needed, clean walls, empty/scrub/fill/dose tanks, clean propagation table, clean AC and ventilation intake filters).
  47. Every 3rd Thursday deep clean the kitchen, shelves, under sinks, walls, refrigerators, AC filters, clean store room, note materials to restock.
  48. Every 2nd and 3rd Thursday are building work days to repair or maintain whatever needs TLC.

Managing checklists like this one is easy with Agrilyst. You just add tasks and set the desired frequency. You can also customize your task categories so searching and grouping tasks becomes painless.

Here’s what today’s task list looks like based on Nick’s checklist. He can filter for tasks due today, or by category of tasks, or for tasks assigned to him or one of his employees.

If I pull up Nick’s sales and marketing tasks for the next 10 days, I’ll see some tasks related to newsletter emails.

We also know that not every employee will be on Agrilyst at every farm. So we made it incredibly easy for you to print task lists from our platform. You can filter to show the tasks you’d like to print and then hit file -> print in your browser. The task list will format nicely for a paper checklist.

Printable task lists!

Paper checklists are okay, but they’re outdated. Now that Nick can complete his tasks right in Agrilyst, we can provide him with insight into how he’s performing. We’ll show Nick how many tasks his team has completed in comparison to tasks scheduled weekly.

We’ll also show Nick how many tasks he completes on-time over time. How does Nick use that data? Below, Nick can see he’s moved a crop from one stage to another later than scheduled by 3 or more days. Perhaps that crop needed additional time in the germination stage. If this trend continues to happen, Nick may want to adjust his plan to have an additional day or two in the germination stage for better yielding crops.

Managing checklists in Agrilyst goes beyond just ensuring daily tasks get done. We help growers understand trends and patterns to improve the quality of daily tasks. Our goal is to make managing your farm easier than ever.

Getting started with Agrilyst is free. You can create your checklists in Agrilyst now by signing up on our website: www.agrilyst.com. If you’d like us to help you get your checklist into Agrilyst, reach out to Allison at akopf@agrilyst.com. We’re here to help.


We’d like to thank our friend, Nick Burton at Victory Gardens for sharing his knowledge with the agriculture community. If you’d like more information from Nick, check out his State of the Soil Virtual Summit next week. He’ll be hosting 5 interviews every day for 5 days. More details here: http://stateofthesoil.com/.

If you’d like to start using Agrilyst and our task manager, you can sign up for free on our website www.agrilyst.com.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned to The Greenhouse for more updates from our team.