How to Start a Gardening Journal
Have you ever started out your gardening season only to struggle with remembering all the brilliant ideas and successes of the previous year? Don’t remember when you started your seedlings or when you should start fertilizing your garden for the best possible results? Creating a gardening journal can help solve problems like these and can be incredibly fun to make. As a matter of fact, you can get the kids involved and make it into more than just a journal with information, but a memory book that can be cherished for years to come.
Select the Right Journaling Notebook
The first step to creating a gardening journal is to decide what kind of notebook you want to use. Your gardening journal should be an ongoing work in progress, so you want to make sure that the notebook is sturdy and is bound in such a way that it will not fall apart after being used over and over again.
If you plan to do a majority of your entries while you are outside working in your garden, a weather-proof field notebook is ideal as it can withstand the outdoor elements. If you plan to create a scrapbook style journal, pick out a nice notebook and consider collecting an assortment of markers, colored pens, and some garden themed stickers to decorate it with.
Organizing Your Garden Journal
A garden journal preserves all your hard work as a gardener and should be organized in such a way where you can easily add to it each year and make it even better than the last.
Create sections based on types of plants you grow or specific areas of your garden. Each organizational tool works fine, it is more a matter of personal preference. If you have multiple garden spaces, you may want to section your journal out so that you can make notes about each space and then sub-divide by what you like to grow in each area. Some plants grow well in some garden spaces, but not so well in others. Be sure to leave enough blank pages between each gardening section so you have room to add more notes later on.
What to Include in Your Gardening Journal
Notes about what you planted and where
Remembering what you planted where the previous year can help make sure you have a successful gardening season the following year. Especially true with some vegetables, crops should be rotated each year to make sure they have enough nutrients and become less susceptible to disease. It is important to fertilize your gardens each year, but this does not take away from the need to rotate your crops. Making notes on where you planted your vegetable plants each year will help ensure that you do not plant them in the exact same location the following year.
Notes about how long it takes to weed, plant, and mulch the area
Instead of just going through the motions of weeding, planting, and mulching your gardens, take some time to make notes about how long it takes you to prep and plant each garden bed so that you can plan ahead and organize your time where it makes sense during the next season. If you know that it takes 3 hours to complete a single garden bed, you can carve out that time in your schedule the following year and be better able to organize your life.
Notes about fertilizing and amending schedules
Fertilizing and amending your soil is an important component in making sure your gardening efforts are successful. Keep track of when you fertilize and amend your soil each year, and with what products you use, so you can keep the routine going each year.
Notes about how much of supplies it took to maintain specific area of your garden
For planning and budgeting purposes, it is also important to note how many bags of fertilizer, soil, and other amendments you use for each section of your garden so you know how much to get and how much money to budget for the following year. If you have left over supplies, be sure to make a note to yourself so you will remember not to buy these items next year or cut down on how much you purchase.
Notes about what you would like to do in the space the following years
Sometimes the best gardening ideas come to you in the middle of the night or during cold and dreary days of winter when you are unable to act on your ideas. Jot down your ideas and draw diagrams in your gardening journal so that you do not forget when spring hits and it is time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Notes about growth time for each of the plants/crops you planted
Once your seeds are planted, anticipation builds until the day it is finally time to harvest the “fruits of your labor” or check out all of the beautiful flowers that have bloomed. Keep track of the time it takes for each of your plants to grow so you will know what to expect in the future.
Keep tabs on your garden pests and diseases each year so that you are better able to wage war on them in the future. Take photos and do some research online so that you can make notes on what works and what does not work to eradicate your gardening problems.
Don’t Forget the Photos, Diagrams, and Drawings
A good gardening journal is more than just the words you write out on paper, be sure it includes photos you have taken of your garden at different stages of clean up and growth as well as diagrams of where you sow your plants and drawings. You can even decorate your gardening journal with magazine clippings and cut outs from seed packets and brochures you collect throughout the years.
Create a journal and organize your gardening adventure like never before. Not only will your notes and diagrams help jog your memory come planting time, but you can get a visual on how your garden progresses over the years. Do not worry about making your gardening journal perfect, just like with your garden, it can be an ongoing work of art that just keeps getting better over time!