Keeping A Garden Journal is not only a rewarding activity, but one that will be of great value to you as the years go by. As an avid gardener, I always think I will remember which rows I planted certain vegetables in or what varieties I liked best. Unfortunately, I have found that my memory is not so good. The saying “the worst handwritten note is better than the best memory” certainly applies to me when it comes to my garden. Finally after years of guess work and finding both carrots and beans coming up in the same row, I keep a garden diary journal. It has made all the difference.
If you want your journal to be a resource that is easy to access, use A-Z tabs, as well as blank tabs to organize your record keeping. Behind the A-Z tabs you can include varieties of seeds or plants that you have in your garden along with notes on how well a particular variety grew, the yield, any disease issues or pest problems, as well as any growing tips you have gathered over the years. Behind blank tabs you can keep records of soil tests, bed design and your crop rotation plan. Having a crop rotation plan every year solves the problem of what needs to be planted in which row.
After years of gardening you come to realize that gardeners are scientists. They are always trying to find the best method, the best varieties for their soils, create the best environment, or test out different hybrids, and such. Gardeners are often busy reading articles to find out more information or solve issues, they are running trials, conducting soil tests and brix tests. Yes, without doubt you begin to feel like a scientist at work. The thing we often don’t make the time for is that record keeping. Truly, I cannot remember what the PH needs to be for the individual plants even when I have planted them year after year. Maybe it’s me, or just the large variety that we grow, but the notes have become invaluable time savers and they take the guess work out of gardening allowing you to enjoy quite a bit more success.
The real challenge for most gardeners is finding the time. When you believe your note taking will lead to more success, it is far easier to prioritize your time and actually record necessary things in your garden journal. A handy notepad that you can take out in the garden with you is helpful as well. I recommend putting it in a zip lock bag with a pen. Then it is safe from the soil and water that is sure to destroy it and always there for you to write in.
Finally, take lots of pictures and mount them in the pages of your journal. Picture documentation of each year is the funnest part of the garden journal. I love looking back at pictures of my garden beds whether they be flowers or veggies. I am just amazed at the beauty and also the fact that I grew that. From my pictures I also learn what I do and don’t want to repeat in my flower gardens.
You will not regret time spent keeping a garden journal. It will benefit you for years to come and be a source of enjoyment as you look back at the gardens you have grown.