Tips for Finding a Great Garden Journal
A new year brings a new opportunity to start out on the right foot. And when it comes to the garden, that means looking back at what worked, what didn’t, and learning from your mistakes.
The only challenge is that sometimes we forget. That’s where good records come in handy. One way to keep track of successes and failures is to keep a garden journal.
A garden journal can be as simple as a spiral school notebook or as elaborate as a computer program. One look online reveals a plethora of journal products available. Whatever you choose, make it fit your needs and your lifestyle. A journal should never be a chore to maintain; you should enjoy recording your thoughts, just as you did with that childhood diary.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
Determine Your Purpose
Typically, we record successes and failures so that we repeat—or don’t repeat—a plant or practice again. But your purpose also could be to create a legacy; a simple scrapbook of photos that remind you on those dark days of winter that spring will eventually return.
Choose a Format
Options abound, from simple notebooks to pre-made hardbound journals to photo album combinations to computer software and mobile apps. For hardbound copies, make sure the cover is laminated to protect your journal from soil and moisture when using it in the garden.
Organize Your Journal According to Your Needs
Some gardeners record daily observations much as they would keep a diary, while others divide their journals into seasons. Some record do’s and don’ts throughout the growing season, while others chart growth rates of plants and fertilizer applications, track weather patterns and rainfall levels, or sketch design improvements. Make it work for you.
Make Room for Visuals
If photos are your thing, choose a format that will accommodate prints. Some like to save the plant tags and seed packets in a notebook pocket instead of recording plant names and growing requirements.
Read What you Record
January is the perfect time to review your notes from the previous year and make decisions about changes in the new year. The recollections and photos also will allow you to daydream a little about the garden until spring finally arrives!