Not a lot of casual home gardeners actually keep gardening journals. But keeping a journal of your gardening efforts — winter or summer — can help you remember from year to year what works well in your yard, what triumphs and mistakes you’ve made, and how you can learn from those ups and downs. Anyone who wants to improve their garden and be a successful grower of winter (or summer) crops should really be keeping a gardening journal. Here are some specific ways keeping a gardening journal can help you.
1. You Can Keep Notes on New Plants
When you grow a plant you’ve never tried before, keeping notes in your journal about your experience can really help you, should you decide to grow it again in the future. Also, you can do some research online and print out the helpful tips you find about that species, so you’ll always have something to refer to when questions arise.
2. Your Own Almanac
Your garden spot will be different from anyone else’s, even in your neighborhood. Keeping track of dates of the last frost, when the soil was soft enough to till, when the weather changed, and what grows well in different spots your garden will serve as your own gardening almanac for your particular space. Note dates, weather patterns, insect problems and how you handled them. It’s really quite valuable for winter gardening or your summer crops.
3. Planting Notes
Serious gardeners use crop rotation to plant different things in different spaces. This can help keep nutrient levels even from year to year. But if you can’t remember what you planted in each space, you won’t be able to take full advantage of this method. Keeping good records will solve this problem and many others.
4. New Ideas
When you run across a new winter gardening idea in a gardening magazine or on your favorite garden show, grab your journal and write it down along with any helpful instruction that’s given. No more forgetting that idea that’s escaped your mind.