Friday, February 26, 2010

Keeping a Gardening Journal

I have kept a gardening journal for about 19 years and I believe it is an indispensable tool for the home gardener as much as for the market gardener. I started keeping a journal for my garden the first year I set my foot on a spade in my tiny flower garden on Shelby street in East Nashville. I grew pink primrose, iris, lavender and hostas. I started from seed pink caterberry bells and bells of Ireland. My roses included Charles De Mills, Sarah Van Fleet and plenty of Fairy roses. Once I started to add fruit, in the form of Alpine strawberries I added square foot maps of the garden to remember what was planted where especially when it came to planting over the hundreds of bulbs planted in the fall. When we moved to the farm and began homesteading, gardening became more of a necessity and less of a hobby and my journal never left my gardening bag as I jotted varieties, location, problems, notes and yields. Some suggestions for the kinds of information you may want to include are:
  • planting dates for seeds and plants
  • transplanting dates
  • source and cost for plants and seeds
  • any guarantees and location of bills (if needed)
  • weather particulars such as rainfall, frost dates and results
  • plant characteristics, date of germination, date they emerge in spring, appearance of blooms
  • date of harvest (for vegetables) or cut flowers taken
  • date and type of fertilizer or other chemicals applied, and to which plants
  • observations
  • schematics for garden rotation
  • great color combinations for both veggies and flowers
My journals have been everything from 3 ring binders to beautiful, preprinted garden journals. They don't have to be expensive, just lovely. Try to find something that makes you feel good, something beautiful to keep track of all the beauty that happens by your hand. Be inspired.

Do you keep a garden journal?

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