Many people who have finally taken the plunge and started to keep a garden journal will see its value and wonder why it took them so long. Without a written record it is hard to remember when you planted what and how well it grew all of which information you need when making plans for the season ahead. This article by Laura Gaskell which I found on the Houzz website suggests ten reasons why you should start to keep a garden journal.
A garden journal can be filled with beautiful sketches and neat garden plans — or a messy jumble of notes, lists and pasted-in photos. But what it looks like doesn’t matter nearly as much as the value it contains within its well-worn covers. This little diary of your gardening life can help you keep track of what you planted where, which veggie varieties taste the best, which birds and butterflies visit and which neighbor you lent that pruning saw to last year. And it’s not just for homeowners with large lots; a garden journal can enrich your gardening life, whether you have a few pots of tomatoes on the fire escape or a plot in the community garden down the road.1. Rate your favorite crops. One of my family’s favorite garden activities is the taste test. It’s fun to choose a few new competing varieties of our favorite veggies each year and hold a tasting to see which is crowned the new favorite. Keeping the results of your tastings in your garden journal year after year will provide a record of the hits (and misses) of your own garden-to-table experiment.
2. Keep track of what you plant where. It may seem simple enough when you’re sowing seeds or setting out seedlings in your garden, but it’s surprisingly easy to lose track of what went where, even in a small garden. And if you’re hoping to compare results from several different varieties of vegetables, you’ll want to be able to say for certain which is which. A basic (but accurately labeled) drawing of your garden will help avoid confusion.
Prefer not to draw? Snap a clear photo of each planting bed in your garden, then print and label the photo with names of plants. (This is easiest to do if you print on plain copy paper rather than photo paper.) Tape the photo into your garden journal and you can use it as a reference when you need to remember which patch was planted with Green Arrow peas and which with Lincoln peas.
3. Note harvest dates and yields. Use your garden journal to jot down notes from those seed packets about expected harvest dates. And then, when harvest time comes around, make note of how much you were able to harvest. These sorts of notes are invaluable when it comes time to plan for next year’s garden — if your family ate up all the Tuscan kale in a week but couldn’t look at another zucchini by the end of the season, you’ll know some adjustments are needed.