Gardeners should keep a gardening journal. Here are the 9 reasons why.
Keeping a journal on your gardening experiences leads to improved gardens and better gardening experience, and a whole lot of reduced frustration. Record and learn from your garden experiences, successes, and failures.
Successes come from not repeating failures. Part of not repeating failures is being able to recall past failures. We all lead busy lives and the need to plan and remember can be assisted in keeping a journal, in this case, a Gardening Journal.
I never kept journals, except when forced to while studying for my degree. I found journaling an unnecessary bind and of little value. So, you can expect when I started gardening fulltime, journaling was not a high priority. And you would be right! Well partly! Garden journaling occurred naturally. I found while gardening I needed to keep some sort of record of events and happenings around the garden. Simply not to forget events happening in the garden.
9 reasons why to keep a gardening journal
I record all different garden aspects in my journal. The main orientation relates towards seeds – grown, sown, and transplanted, as well as their success or failure. And of course, the retailer of the seeds to check success and failure rates.
I also journal general information I come upon in discussion with people or on the world-wide-web. To future-proofing my knowledge – planning forward for the next garden journey.
Garden journaling can record whatever you like! How much or how little is entirely over to you – the gardener – the journal belongs to you!
Different garden aspects to consider in the journal may be:
- Plant information – when and where planted. Problems with the plant from pests, insects and disease and the time of year that it happens to take preventative action in the future.
- Garden information – Which fertiliser and mulch was used with the plant. Was it successful, and what growth was recorded? Photographs of successfully grown plants and changes in the plant with the different techniques used. You can also record failures too, a good thing not to repeat them!
- Seed information – I record seed dates, germination dates, types of seed sown and when transplanted, sun requirements, where planted and successes or failures.
- Vegetable crop rotation – Here I record which bed the vegetable was planted in and do my best to get a good crop rotation. I also record plant companions too. And again the success or otherwise.
- Garden Planning and TODO list – Gardening is all about planning, whether it is for the next few weeks or the following year. I keep notes on what I want to see planted in the garden and a TODO list for the immediate future. Gardening is also all about knowing when to buy a plant. A gentle reminder can help with future planning. Jobs can slip the mind quickly if another task unrelated to gardening come to the fore.
- Garden Sketch – Some gardeners like to do draw out where the plants are going to be placed.
- Plant receipts – It always good to retain receipts, as a lot of garden centres give a money-back guarantee for a plant that fails.
- World-wide-web information – I buy a lot of plants and accessories off the world-wide-web, and at times I need to know whether the item has been received or not. Currently, in the times of COVID19, delays can be prolonged with courier delivery. The longer the delay, the more likely the item is going to be forgotten about.
- Weather conditions – I live in a mild climate, so I tend not to record weather conditions. Still, if you live in a changeable environment, it may be an essential element to your gardening experience.
There is just so much to record. Do not limited your journal to what I have stated. It is over to you to decide what you wish to journal and what you do not. And how you record it.
The best type of Gardening Journal
I purchased my first garden journal pre-formatted, especially for gardening. However, pre-formatted journals did not work for me! I found I needed a free formatted environment. I work best in a non-structured environment.
My garden journaling started after watching a YouTube video on an early 1900’s gardener who became pedantic at keeping written notes on his now English heritage garden. He wrote hundreds of pages of long-hand garden journal notes. These notes now make up part of the heritage of his garden.
The garden journal that I write will only ever be for me. I dreamed of the idea of being outdoors in the garden and updating the notes while enjoying the great fresh air. An idea that was not going to last. I am an electronic individual, not a long-hand individual. It meant rearranging and re-writing the text, electronically using my PC. I started with Microsoft Excel or Word and used both, but in the end, the best software for me, Microsoft OneNote. Why? Because of its pliability to bend, flex and be supple to my requirements.
Using Microsoft OneNote also allowed me to learn the software, now it is central to how I work with my different interests.
Apps galore, a multitude for selection, all helping in some way.
A lot of the apps are orientated to one individual country. However, the Gardenate app has a more comprehensive selection of countries like Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
If you decide to use an app, test them out for the information you wish to retain and whether the app is free or has a cost attached to it.
For you, my recommendation is finding the best journaling method that suits you and your needs.
You do not need to follow what everyone else is doing! Be an individual and find what best suits you!
The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.Alfred Austin
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