The Benefits of Keeping a Garden Journal
It’s that time of year when my garden is winding down and I’m updating the notes in my garden journal. Did you make good gardening notes this year? Hopefully your garden notes are some place you can find them next year during planning time and not on sticky notes hidden somewhere. I find that there are many benefits of keeping a garden journal.
- keep growing notes on new plants I’ve never grown before
- have a place to refer back on things –
- What was the date I actually planted my garden
- When was the garden soil dry enough to do a first tilling
- When were the first and last frost dates for “my” yard
- Was this a wet or dry spring and fall
- keep detailed planting notes for crop rotation in my raised beds
- have notes on new techniques I learn or want to try
Lorene Edwards Forkner makes this observation in her book, Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest – “Practice a little citizen science by keeping a garden journal to track what blossoms when; what the weather was doing at the time; and the corresponding appearance, or disappearance of backyard birds and insects. Over time you’ll accumulate a picture of the very unique seasons found in your own back yard and a series of valuable reminders that when you see this happening in the natural world it’s time to do that.”
A Garden Journal is a Place for Remembering
Today, as I was preparing this post, I pulled out my garden journal from 2005. I was homeschooling our youngest daughter and we created our own nature / garden journals to keep track all the things we were learning.
There is a page on the Horseshoe Geranium, how to recognize it and how to propagate it
And some notes about the general condition of my garden, greenhouse and the seeds I planted days and weeks before,
And a page on growing asparagus- which I have yet to do!
It’s fun to look back at this snapshot of my life from eight gardening seasons ago and remember where we were living and the gardening successes and failures I had back then. I am still learning and experimenting, even today.
So instead of trying to remember the recipe for that new garden pest technique you tried or that great heirloom tomato you decided to grow, write it down in your garden journal. Make a quick note in a place where you know you can find it later. My personal preference is for a physical book; you can buy one or create your own. There are several good online garden journals to try too.
A Garden Journal is a Place for Dreams
In 2010 I spent most of New Year week sifting through seed catalogs and planning my spring garden. That is actually one of my favorite times of the year, when the possibilities of the upcoming garden year are before me. It’s time to shake off the gardening mistakes of the past and look forward to the next year.
How wonderful to sit by the fire, with a warm cup of my own, organically grown, herb tea, and dream about the warmth of the summer sun.
I made plans for the raised beds I would create and made lists of crops to grow and there I would put them.
For the past two years I’ve lived on a hillside, with a more than desirable yard. Most of my gardening has been in pots on the deck. I have detailed notes about the successes and failures of container and vertical gardening in my journal this year. All gardening experiences, good and bad, are for our benefit!
Now I’m preparing to move to 10 acres and I need a new garden to plan. I can look back on the notes in my past garden journal and start a new dream. I can’t wait.
Did you keep a garden journal this year? Leave us a comment below.
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