While there are numerous commercially printed Garden Journals available and numerous Garden Journal Templates available, you may wish to create your own from a simple composition book, loose leaf binder, or even a legal pad.
The information you keep in your journal, and the order in which they are formatted are largely dependent upon your garden size, type and your desire or need to keep records. A garden journaling mistake is to decide to try to keep so much info that you grow to hate entering daily or weekly. While garden journaling is, like weeding or watering, WORK, it shouldn’t become such a time and enthusiasm drain that you will give up. Better to start simple and in later season’s journals add more info that you discover you could use. For example sometimes folks decide that as weather is so important to note in relation to the effect on the garden later that they opt to make a daily detailed notation of temperature, precipitation, cloud cover etc. Then they get tired of it or fill up pages . Instead they might just want to note an exceptional storm or temperature extreme or when they note a problem look back a few days to any weather abnormality and make a narrative note on that.
A journaler may wish to create tables and columns to note planting and planting dates and events. Those are helpful for quick reference. A journaler might, however, prefer to instead treat his or her journal as a daily diary and underline or highlight important dates, quantities or key words. A narrative daily journal can be a better record of day to day feelings about the garden, little observations that don’t necessarily have a ‘category’ and allow one to set thoughts out for future gardens while they are still on the gardener’s mind.
Whether you wish to create a highly formatted journal with column headings, that requires you to keep a steady schedule of data collected and noted or whether you want to make your journal a free flowing daily, bi weekly or weekly narrative is somewhat dependent upon your personality and the way you like to view and use information. A combination of the two methods is not a bad idea either. You can dedicate several pages to tables and columns and several pages in the same or a separate notebook to prose. In fact I recommend you create a hybrid notebook, at least initially, and then if you find one method far more valuable to you than another you can phase the other out next season.
Below are some types of info you might want to record regardless of the format.
- A garden diagram
- A plant inventory
- Where seed or plant purchased
- Sew date
- Germination date
- “Bump up or Up Pot dates
- Transplant dates
- First flowers
- First fruit
- Yields by variety
- Pest noted
- Pest control measures and schedule. Be sure to note later if they appeared to be effective
- Extreme weather conditions experienced
- Fertilization schedule
- Soil amendments used
- Any soil testing results
- Types of supports such as trellises or stake and how effective they were.
- How well you were able to utilize your vegetables. Include cooking, trading, giving away.
- Notes on the flavor of each variety