With spring abound, the sprouts are sprouting, buds are budding, and blooms are blooming. The earth is teeming with new life and what a beautiful world it is! Greens, yellows, purples, corals, pinks, and every color in between, everywhere you look.
We plant plants (rarely seeds) just about year-round. The San Diego climate is generally forgiving of our planting missteps, and we’re able to keep a fairly robust garden landscape going. That’s not to say we haven’t killed a plant or 50. We lean heavily on succulents to fill gaps, and hearty, woody shrubs like rosemary and lavender to take up space. This year will be different. This year, we’re going veggie (again).
We have gophers and bunnies everywhere. The few seasons we’ve tried to have a vegetable garden we’ve battled the scavenging little critters and lost every time. Every time. It’s so annoying. You know, I’m sure you know. You’re waiting for your perfect tomatoes to turn the perfect picking shade of red and the day you’re ready to pluck their juicy deliciousness off the vine BOOM. A bunny got to it first. Or a gopher pulled the whole plant down under the ground. All your work is for nothing other than feeding the belly of a rodent. But I digress.
This year, we have gopher-proof raised beds! I’m determined to plant a variety of vegetables from seed. I want my kids to see a seed go in the ground and sprout, grow, fruit, and be harvested as a food they can eat.
As a writer and list maker, I’ve committed to documenting every thing we plant in my Garden Journal. Dates, weather, names, and more get logged and tracked. The purpose is to learn from the previous year and have a more bountiful harvest the following year. To date, my Garden Journal is for non-food plants. Roses, hibiscuses, bulbs, everything is written. Did a goat eat the rose down to a nub? Log it. Was the weather over 100° F all week? Track it. Does one marigold thrive but the one 6 feet away die? Record it. And do it better next year. I am super pumped to keep a Garden Journal for this year’s veggie garden. I did some research, and here’s what I suggest for a successful, usable journal:
- Section off your book: Planting; Sprouts; First Fruit; Harvest, and Diagrams. Use tabs.
- Track dates and names: When did what happen, and to which plant? Logging the dates you planted, saw fruit, harvested, etc., will help you better plan for next year. And write down the name of the plant. “Yellow flowering shrub” only works if you never want to plant another one! 😉
- Use it. Consistency is key. You won’t need to update it daily, but probably weekly once your bounty starts getting ready for picking. When you notice a change in a plant or do any pruning, harvesting, soil treatments, whatever, take 2 minutes and write it down so you won’t have to any second guessing next year.
- Chose YOUR book: Which book works best? The one that you use the most. Do you want one with pockets and graph paper? A simple spiral bound? What do you see yourself realistically using? Use that one. Mine looks like this:
This is an example of one of my first pages:
I know I’m not alone in my Garden Journaling. Share what works for you in the comments!