06 April 2012

Saturday in the Garden: The Garden Journal

If composting is the number one key to a great garden,
then I would have to put keeping a garden journal
next on the list.  And it's not just for your garden's growth,
but for yours as well.  Keeping a journal is
an extremely effective way to increase your
knowlege and abilities as a gardener.

Every garden has a beginning and, sadly,
most have an end but no garden is ever finished.

And so neither is a gardener's work finished.

Keeping track of what you've tried, what has
or hasn't been effective, and so forth, can save you
a lot of time and frustration. 
My journal is going on it's eleventh year.  
It won't win any literary awards, but these little entries
have proven their worth repeatedly through
the years.   And, it actually makes for some great
reading on rainy days--just trust me on this one.

A few ideas of what I journal and why:
Special applications
 (manure, compost, etc) & tilling
What I plant and when
  plants, varieties & brands, where I got them, price, date planted
How & how much
  seed or seedling, # of plants
Where I planted
  necessary for rotating crops, esp tomatoes that should rotate every 3 years if possible
When seeded plants pop up
avoids waiting too long if a re-seed is necessary, did I plant too deep? etc. 
  how much and when--avoids under- and over-producting; also good for
planning specific dishes, ie, grilled asparagus, blackberry cobbler, etc
Problems & treatments
  pests, diseases; what worked, what didn't
especially the last & first freezes, rains; also watching the patterns have
taught me exactly the best time to plant late crops like pumpkins and gourds

There are also odd bits of info that
I've found to be quite valuable to have in a journal. 
Like when Lowes marks down their mulch to
99 cents a bag.  And what years we get new chickens, 
when the chicks arrive and when they start laying.
(chickens lay efficiently for only so long)
 More recently, the name and phone number of
the farmer that has good straw at a good price.
You just can't record too much information,
especially if you're new to gardening.  Who knows 
what might prove useful?  It can take years for
patterns to show and/or good ideas to be recognized.

I feel the easiest way to keep a garden journal
is just as a simple document on your computer. 
 It only takes a second, you've no hard copy to keep
track of, changes can be made easily and--I'm just
guessing here--you're on it plenty anyway, right?
I title each entry with the date and follow it
with the summary.  It's that simple.  And an added
bonus?  It's like collecting your thoughts at the end of
the day--you review what you've completed
 & then think about what still on the to-do list.

Do you keep a journal?  For your garden?
For your quilting?  Is your blog your journal?

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Good point....it all began in a garden, and ended in another.
Blog is my only journal of sorts now. Still have my garden journals from years past and they remind me of all the work we put in and beauty we were rewarded with.

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