January is the perfect time to try something new. That’s why we’re planting this exciting little seed: Start a garden journal.
Creating a garden journal is a wonderful way to grow as a gardener, gather inspiration, avoid costly mistakes, and make the most of your time in the garden. Best of all, it’s easy to do. Just keep track of the things that matter to you, and organize them in a way that fits your style and keeps the project fun.
It’s up to you how much information, or how little, you keep. Here are some common things that are helpful to include in your journal:
• Dates for planting, transplanting, pruning, harvesting
• Notes on strong performing varieties, and areas of the garden that need improvement
• Source and cost for plants and seeds
• Weather particulars such as temperature, rainfall, hours of sunlight, frost dates and results
• Plant characteristics, date of germination, date they emerge in spring, appearance of blooms, good companion plants
• Date and type of fertilizer or other chemicals applied, and the results
Beyond the details, keep track of the things that inspire you:
• Take photos of your favorite container garden designs at peak bloom so you can replicate them the following year.
• Jot down your favorite websites, book titles, tips you’ve gleaned from fellow gardeners, and upcoming seminars you don’t want to miss.
• Snap photos of your garden each month so you can track what is blooming and when, and add or move plants as necessary.
• Clip out helpful articles and keep track of good recipes to try at harvest time.
• Keep a wish list of items and clip coupons so you’re prepared for your next trip to the garden store.
The next step is to decide how you want to organize your journal. Here are some options:
Diary-Style Garden Journal
A simple, traditional diary-style journal lets you jot down activities and observations, write as little or as much as you wish, and skip days without skipping pages.
Loose-Leaf Garden Binder
Prefer a versatile journal that allows you to reorder information, add pages, and tuck in seed packets as necessary? A garden binder offers great flexibility.
Online Garden Journal
If you like spending time on the Web and interacting with other gardeners in an online community, a Web-based garden journal is an excellent choice. There are numerous services available, and many are free.
Trusty Old Shoebox
If you want to invest minimal time in your journal, the shoebox is the answer. Jot down notes, toss in plant tags and photos, and dig in when you need an answer.
Ready to start your garden journal? Pick up a copy of Seattle Tilth’s “Maritime Northwest Garden Guide.” Molbak’s best-selling book, this essential month-by-month manual is filled with useful NW-centric information and inspiration to include in your budding garden journal. Have fun!