Update your garden journal

In my article, Using a Garden Journal, I describe the value of maintaining a diary or journal of your successes and failures with flower and vegetable gardens. Good for you if you update your journal regularly. I let photos that I take of my garden serve as some journal entries (you know, a picture is worth a thousand words?). Still, when the growing season ends, I pull out the journal to make notes as reminders for next year's gardens to include some of the following items.

Plant or seed brand or hybrid

Keep a record of what plants worked best. Did you prefer starter plants over seeds? What was the brand name or hybrid used? I tried several different varieties of tomatoes before I found one that not only grew well (all grew well) but produced a tomato that I could use in cooking, salads, or sandwiches. To help me remember what variety I planted, I keep the seed packet or the plastic insert from plant pots. I either tuck the seed packet or insert into my journal or I take a picture of them.

Quantity

This season ended for me with an overabundance of eggplant and bell peppers. I was having trouble giving them away and the nearest food bank was too far away to justify driving the distance for a couple of peppers or eggplants. I ended up freezing the extra, so there was no loss (I am just tired of eggplant and peppers!). So next year, I will set out fewer plants.

Location

I rotate the location of plants each year to avoid depleting the soil of nutrients. My new location for tomato plants did not do well this year, mostly because I was unable to reach tomatoes that weighed down the vine too deep in the tomato jungle for me to reach. I have noted in my garden journal that in the current tomato setting, the cages need to be spaced further apart to reach the plants from any location around the cage. Otherwise, in future years I need to avoid the same location for tomato plants.

Other

Use a garden journal to track the growth and health of flowers, trees, and shrubs. This past summer, I overheard a couple walking past my flower gardens remark, "What a lovely English cottage garden." Ah, success! I wrote that in my journal.

Check out my article, Using a Garden Journal, for more ideas on using a garden journal to create a report card on what you nurture in your yard.

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