Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Garden Journalling

If you garden for more then one year, you will soon find it helpful to have some sort of written record of your garden. For someone with my poor memory, written information is necessary to answer all those questions that arise such as "How many potatoes did we plant last year? Which variety of peas did we plant? Where did we plant the tomatoes?" etc. A garden journal can hold the answer to your questions and help you plan for the coming year.

I have long admired the beautiful garden journals, available for purchase, which contain room to record five or ten years of garden information. I love the idea of seeing at a glance what was happening in my garden at that time each year. The lovely water color paintings and quotes just add to the charm of these books. But I know that I would never keep up with writing in it, despite my best intentions. Plus it would probably get left outside in the rain and be destroyed long before five or ten years were recorded in it!

Since we were married, I've kept a small notebook with my cookbooks where I record our harvest each year. Knowing how many quarts of beans or jars of applesauce we preserved, and noticing what is left a year later, is helpful for planning the next year. I also usually add a quick sketch of our garden showing what we planted where in order to plan next year's garden rotation.

I've seen other great ideas for garden journals. One person hangs a calendar in their garden shed where they record planting and harvesting dates as well as any other interesting garden information like last frost dates and insect problems.

I use my weekly planner for my garden reminders. If I want to fertilize the dogwoods in May or spray the roses in June, I have no hope of remembering unless it is written on my list of "to do" on the calendar! This year, I've kept a green pen next to the planner and every time I have planted seeds, transplanted seedlings, or done another garden project, I've attempted to make a note with the green pen. Hopefully, it will make the garden notes easier to find.

My other garden journaling is done on lined notebook paper. I can easily carry a clip board with paper into the garden to note good perennial combinations, plants that need moved in the spring, additions that are needed or any other notes I wish to remember.

A three ring binder becomes the home of these jottings. They are joined by articles torn from magazines, an envelope of plant tags, information from the extension office, notes jotted down when reading books, plant wish lists to take to a nursery, and any other information that I may need in the future. My notebook is badly in need of some organization. Some simple subject dividers would help significantly. But for now, that simple binder is a valuable resource that I'd hate to lose!

I recently found a website that contains many helpful printable forms is you also want a garden binder. Or want something prettier, check here!

Do you have some sort of garden journal? I'd love to hear about it!

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