8 Tips for Keeping The Perfect Garden Journal
Gardeners have many questions when growing their produce. One of the more popular is “wait, what did I plant where?” This time-honored query is one of the many reasons why a gardener should keep a good garden journal. Maintaining a journal can go a long way toward making you a more efficient grower. And, if you’ve created one in the past, late winter is the perfect time to look back at previous seasons to make any needed changes for the upcoming season.
Keeping a garden journal is a great way to maximize your efficiency and enjoyment while minimizing your mistakes. Here are some good tips for your journal:
1. Know why you’re keeping the journal. A good garden journal should include not only what and where crops were planted, but also the date you watered them, types of fertilizer (if any) were applied and what pests you might find. If you treated for pests the previous year, also make note of what worked and what didn’t. Have you used crop rotations in the past? Look at your journals to see what has turned out to be the most prolific combinations.
2. There are plenty of journal types. Some are old-fashioned notebooks, some are more professional and include items such as graphing paper to map out vegetable placement and expense sheets, while some gardeners use various tablets and apps. Experiment with all kinds and then use what works best for you!
3. Thinking about something new for the upcoming year? List them along with their bloom times and any specific care they might need. It’s best to get this research out of the way before spring so you’re not trying to make seed purchases on the fly or are late planting and/or starting seeds.
4. For the financially conscious, make a record of your expenses. This is especially important if you plan on selling your vegetables or plants.
5. Keep track of any pests and diseases that have affected your plants in the past. Were your treatments effective? Did your solutions work the next year too or were they unsuccessful? Journaling will help you determine what solutions will protect your garden in the coming years.
6. A great long-term project is to keep track of milestones, such as weather, frost dates and when you completed the first tilling. Looking back at patterns over a period of years will give you a great perspective of what the future could entail.
7. Keep a fertilizing schedule. Did you use the best fertilizer you could have? Did you apply it at the right time?
8. Gardening can be a lot of fun. Make note of some of the enjoyable moments you’ve had. When something goes wrong (and inevitably, it will), these moments are great to look back upon before tossing your gardening gloves and calling it quits.
Whether you are a professional gardener, or just someone who likes to get out and enjoy the soil with your family, keeping a journal is always a great idea. What you record is entirely up to you, but a yearly journal will not only help you maximize your proficiency but make gardening a better experience overall.