Keep a garden journal for reference this season and others
When you think of gardening tools, items like gloves, shovels, and pruning blades probably come to mind. But it turns out that there is something else that can be extremely valuable for your garden: a journal. In an article for Food52, Master gardener Nadia Hassani explains why. Here is what you need to know.
How to choose a gardening journal
There is no such thing as a “perfect” gardening journal. In fact, it can take many different forms, according to Hassani:
How you keep track of what you’re growing – with a garden app, notepad, monthly planner, index cards, or spreadsheets – doesn’t matter, as long as it works for you. and that you are recording things while they are still fresh in your Memory. As with anything else, record keeping takes the guesswork out of gardening so you can focus your efforts on growing your plants.
Basic information to record
Whether you are an experienced gardener or relatively new to the business, there are two essential things Hassani says in a gardening journal:
Specifically, you’re going to want to draw a map of your garden – to scale – and record what you’re planting where. Here is Hassani to explain why:
Determine the space each crop will need, mark it on your map, and plant accordingly. You will need your garden map next year to practice crop rotation, a very old farming practice that avoids planting crops from the same families in one place for at least two years in a row. For example, peppers, eggplants, potatoes, and tomatoes are all part of the nightshade family, so you shouldn’t be planting tomatoes in the same spot where you planted peppers the year before.
Planting and fertilization dates
This one is a little easier than making a map. Basically you want to write down what you planted and when. This is especially the case if you are starting from seed, writes Hassani, “so you will know when you can expect to see growth, or if the seeds have failed to germinate and you should reseed.”
Also keep track of when your garden was fertilized and what type of fertilizer you are using. Do the same for any pest control or pest control product. “Overall, too little is better than too much, as excessive use of fertilizers or chemicals can damage your plants,” Hassani says.
Additional useful information
On top of drawing the map and When recording important dates, there are a few other things Hassani says more advanced gardeners might want to include in their journal. These include:
- Harvest dates (to give you an idea of what to expect next year)
- Which pests are a problem and when
- Your favorite plants and where you bought the seeds / plants