Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Garden Notebook

Gardening is something that I don't think you can ever truly master.  There are so many variables.  The seeds, heat, rain, sunlight and soil, just to name a few.

One thing I find very helpful to keep track of my gardening from year to year is my Garden Notebook.  It starts with the seeds.

I document what was planted, how many and when.  Then I document when they started to sprout.

After that, I write down when they were planted out and how they did.  You can see by last year's notes that the lettuce was a bust.  I had planted them too early and they just didn't take well to being planted out. 

Another biggie, is knowing where you planted everything.  It's good to know so that you can rotate your crops effectively.  I find that I can always draw up a beautiful plan, but rarely stick to it.  The solution for me was to draw up a final plan.

This shows me where things got planted in reality.  I can show what got rotated in during the summer as well.  At the end of the summer, I make a list of things to change for the next year.  What went well, what didn't.

Separately, I keep a tally of what got canned and preserved.  This lets me know if I need to grow more or less of an item depending on our usage.  For instance, we're not big green bean eaters.  I have 20 more qts of frozen beans in the freezer.  I'll only plant a few for fresh eating this summer.  Also, last year was an amazing summer for tomatoes.  I canned up so many that we'll be good for a while.  Now, I won't cut back on those.  They're temperamental and a big part of what we eat.  What I will do, is experiment a bit on what I'll do with them.  But that's a post for another day.

Do you keep a notebook?  What do you keep track of?

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday.  


Daphne said...

I don't keep a journal. I really should. I keep records but they are all in a spreadsheet. I would love to write things down more, but I have trouble enough keeping up with my blog writing.

meemsnyc said...

We'll take your green beans, we love them. Especially pickled! You are organized. I don't keep any notes during the season, I should though.

tami said...

This is my first year for a garden notebook. I keep it handy and so far so good. I started off with a garden plan too but I can't seem to stick to it. I think I'll do what you do and just draw up a final "this is where it ended up" plan.

Candi said...

What a great idea! I think I should do this. This will be our 3rd year for a garden. Last year our beans were a bust. Not sure what happened, but they got huge too fast. I just planted greens in the ground yesterday so that gives me a place to start. Thanks again!

The Mom said...

I'd be lost without my notebook. It lets me remember all those little things from year to year.

-Heidi said...

I only wish I were as organized as you!

Leigh said...

I make various attempts to keep track each year. My garden journal blog helps in a way, but I like the way yours is visually laid out. Looks "at a glance" easy to keep track of things. I had decided I need to do better this year, so this post is timely. Thanks!

kitsapFG said...

I have kept garden records for a very long time. They originally were all in spiral bound notebooks and done with a pencil or pen (colored pencils for the garden plan drawings!). I then migrated to spreadsheets for certain items and the old manual process for everything else. Fast forward to today - I keep spreadsheets on the harvest tally and I do my garden drawing plan electronically, but everything (including those items) are recapped and noted at various places in my website. I have a calendar that I make notations on daily - planting events, garden tasks/projects, harvests and even what I did with the harvest! Its an integrated approach - much like my notebook of the past was - but online. I think keeping records is important too. It helps us to learn from experience - since we can review what happeneed in previous years.