Happy New Year! Garden Journalling

At the end of the year, before the New Year’s celebrations, I always like to take stock of the previous year.  I do this in my own life and I do it with respect to the garden, since I keep journals for both.

If you don’t keep a garden journal of some sort, you’re really missing out.  I do happen to have a “book” specifically reserved for this purpose.  It’s a 10 year garden journal from Lee Valley.  This is actually my second one, so I now have 13 years of gardening recorded between the 2 journals (and both were purchased so I receive nothing from Lee Valley for the nice endorsement of their product).

What I really like about this particular format is that every page is devoted to one “date:” in other words, there’s a page with 10 slots for entires  for January 1, and a page for January 2, etc.

What this enables me to do, in addition to seeing different trends in my own particular garden, is to also track temperatures as well.  As my regular readers know, I’m almost as fascinated by weather as I am by gardening.  There’s a place to record minimum and maximum temperatures for the date, and little weather icons that you circle for sun, part sun, clouds, rain or snow.  I’m so obsessive I also record the amount of precipitation–because while the perception over the last 2 months has been that there has been a lot of precipitation, that’s simply not true.  We’ve had lots of gray, cloudy days but the actual precipitation that has fallen was minimal–half an inch total for November, for example.

When I know that it’s been so dry (as if the cracking ground isn’t enough of a giveaway!) I will water when I can, particularly my potted evergreens, which dry out even more quickly.  Doing so helps them survive the winter better.

So that’s a very good reason for garden journalling.

There are parts of this journal that I never use but one could–parts for planting plans, and lists of plants and plant treatments, etc.  Thankfully, my plants don’t need a lot of “treatments” and my gardens are fairly well established so I’m rarely doing any actual “planning” on paper.  Even when I do plant a new garden, I’m much more likely to obsessively “plan” in my mind, so that by the time the actual planting comes, I’m just putting plants in pots in the spots that I want them.  I can make adjustments on the fly that way.

I also use it to record what’s in bloom, when I see migratory birds (both spring and fall) and what I definitely want to plant (or plant more of!)  I fit a lot into the tiny space allotted to me!

I staple receipts from my gardening purchases to the pages so I can see what I bought when.  And I’ll stick little notes and reminders in the pages, like which tomato seeds I planted, when I potted them on or up, and important things like that.

As for my own “New Year’s Gardening resolutions,”  they are as follows:

  • Attempt to gain better control of the weeds in some problem spots, either with mulch of by pulling earlier and more often.
  • Make better use of my raised garden bed for vegetables (maybe a little diagram would help me there!).
  • And maximize my crops so I get a better harvest!  With the exception of lettuce, I rarely grow enough of anything to satisfy my love of homegrown produce.  It doesn’t have to be that way!
  • Finally, since I was so devastated by the impatiens disease this year, I’ll need to better plan an area that once was just sweeps of impatiens.  It’s very shady so that will be quite a challenge.

Hope that helps you all–now go out and make some resolutions of your own!

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