Saturday, February 1, 2014

Planning for Spring - Use a Garden Journal

Plan for Spring planting with a garden journal
The Humble Garden Journal
It is hard to think about planning for Spring planting when the garden looks like this.  But eventually, Spring will happen.  And when it does, I need to be prepared.
Bird house in the snow in garden
Several years ago I began to keep a garden journal.  This has become vitally important to my garden planning and planting.  I primarily use this journal to keep track of the edibles in our various gardens, both annual (like tomatoes, greens, and carrots) and perennial (like strawberries, grapes and blueberries).  But sometimes I make note of the landscaping plants if something strikes me as important or something I should remember.
Plan for Spring with a garden journal
My journal is nothing more than a pretty spiral notebook filled with lined paper that I found on clearance. No tabs, categories, or calendars.  Just paper and pen.
Use a journal to remember what happened in your garden each year
In my journal I keep track of everything going on in my garden.  I start with putting the date on top of the page. Then I start to write anything and everything that crosses my mind that day in the garden.  I do not journal every day, but try to get something written down four or five times a month.  Some entries are only a sentence or two and some entries go on for page after page.

Each year I draw maps of where I planted what with detailed lists of the type and variety of seed including who produced the seed. Then throughout the growing season I write down how everything is doing.  This includes information on the dates seeds (or plants) were put in, dates of germination, dates of first true leaves, dates of first flowers/fruits, harvest amounts, and very importantly how the things taste and whether my daughter and husband would eat it.  I also track pest damage and control measures, and soil amendments.  All this information helps me rotate crops, figure out what grows best in each type of garden environment, and determine if I want to grow that variety again or not.
Use the garden journal to keep maps, plants used, and harvest totals
In addition, in my journal I track the dates the first migratory birds arrive, even the ones just passing through to more northern climates. I track the dates the butterflies arrive.  I track when the critters show up: everything from chipmunks, fox, opossum, turkey, deer, and the ever challenging ground hog (we get a different one each year).
Include plant dates, varieties, pests, soil amendments, and harvests
I have enjoyed going back through my garden journal when planning the next Spring's plantings.  It is like winter therapy.  And, it is interesting how many details I forget once winter sets in and we are housebound for six months.  During the growing season I always assume I will remember this or that.  Nope.  I never do. Writing in my journal the details of how the garden performed that year has become an invaluable tool to successful growing.

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40 comments:

  1. I can't believe it's time to start thinking about my spring garden. I really want to have a green thumb, but my plants beg to differ. :) I think a journal would help me keep track of what I need to do--great tips!

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    1. Natalie I think the definition of a green thumb is never discuss your failures and never give up. Eventually something will grow!

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  2. I know people who read seed catalogs for pleasure!
    # socialmediasaturday New follower. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Lexa you say that like its a bad thing :)

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  3. Thanks for linking up to this month's Share the Love blog hop over at http://www.serenityyou.com/2014/02/share-love-february.html

    Natasha @ Serenity You

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  4. Every year I start a gardening journal, but alas, it falls to the wayside when I start working outside. The info you gather in your journal is amazing. I don't think I could be that disciplined.

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  5. Just popping over from the MMM link up party - I love the idea of a garden journal! What a great winter blues buster! I pinned this post to share your fabulous idea with my followers.

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  6. This is a fantastic idea! Awesome to have all those thoughts, plans, and dates compiled in one place and what fun to refer back to from year to year. I have struggled to keep up with our gardening and a little more organization and tracking would probably do our gardening journey a lot of good! Thanks for sharing at MMM!

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  7. What a great idea! I think I will start one soon, since my garden is full of snow and my mind is dreaming of Spring:)

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  8. Every year I get excited and plan a spring garden and go out and work it and come back so excited to see the new babies sprout and then the notes I pinned to the fridge fall into the trash and I can't remember what is where....maybe a notebook is a good idea!

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  9. I love the simplicity of your notebook AND the thoroughness of it. My bird friends delight me, yet I am not exactly sure when the golden finches left and the phoebes took their place! This would come in so handy. I noted this year the tulip magnolias are blossoming earlier which has reminded me to go stalk the almond orchards (one of my favorite spaces for photography.) So glad I popped over from Tune it Up Tuesday!

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  10. Hi there Widgey Cat (cool name!). Just stopping in from the Show Me What Ya Got link party. I have a garden journal that I haven't kept up with in years, but now I think I'll resurrect it. Our yard looks like yours, poor garden totally buried in snow! Thanks for the good journalling ideas!
    Val @ artsybuildinglady.blogspot.ca

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  11. Oh I use to do that, now I just wing it depending on the weather. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

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  12. I need to try this year I am the most unorganized gardener ever

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  13. I love my garden journal. I keep old seed packets there so I can see what WORKS in my garden and my goofy drawing of how I want to layout my small garden. Great post and pinning to my garden board.

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  14. I never thought of doing a garden journal, but it makes great sense! As a newbie gardener, I think it would be really helpful. Thanks for sharing!

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  15. That is a really good idea! I need to do that myself. I actually made a compost for my garden this year so hopefully it helps as well! Stopping by from the Pin in Party--pinned!

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  16. Seriously, such a good idea! Between two flower gardens & a vegetable garden, this would be so helpful. Stopping by from the Mom Lovin' Hop!

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  17. What a treasure! Be sure to keep them for your grandkids! :) Thanks for sharing on Wildcrafting Wednesday! :)

    ~ Kathy

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  18. I dont have a notebook, I have a file folder with all my notes and everything in it. I have been thinking about putting it all in a notebook. This post inspired me to go and dig it out. You are so right, this is great winter therapy!! Thanks for linking it up for MMM link up party this week!

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  19. I have a garden notebook too. Makes me feel like I am prepared for spring and summer.

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  20. Awesome idea! Thanks for sharing with us at Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy!

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  21. "Spring will Come". I'm doing the garden journal, inspired by you, this year! Its awesome! This is an outstanding blog!! I found you through the blog hop and am so glad I did; I am your newest follower, and can't wait for more! Hoping you'll stop by and say hi sometime! wanderlust-wishlist.blogspot.com

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  22. Thanks for the idea of a garden notebook, by the time next spring comes around, I usually forget important stuff.

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  23. we use a similar idea for our garden on the computer. Although I like the idea of a journal very much. Thank you for helping to make the Thursday Favorite Things Blog hop so much fun. Big Hugs ♥

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  24. I love my gardening. I don't do a lot of planning. I should do more!! Thanks for sharing this with us at the Four Seasons Blog Hop. I am pinning this for future reference!!

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  25. I am so ready for spring and gardening. I haven't planned out my garden yet, but it's on my to do list. Your journal is a great idea to keep everything in one place. I am stopping by from the Friday Pin Fest.

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  26. A plan what a great idea! I usually just end up throwing stuff in the ground with fingers crossed! Thanks SO much for linking up to Hit Me With Your Best Shot! Hope to see you again soon!

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