Keeping a garden journal is one of the most benneficial things you can do outside of the keeping the garden. If your at all like me, I garden the best every new season. The trick to this is learning from my mistakes. Now, with three homeschooling kids, I know that relying on my brain to keep things tucked away till next year is NOT the best way to improve every year. This is where my journal swoops in and saves me from my past mistakes!
My garden journal is a must have tool year after year. I can open them and see where I last planted my cabbage, what pests I encountered, steps I took to mitigate the problem and if they worked, temperature, rainfall, and surprise frosts later in the season. I mean, last year our daffodils where almost done blooming by the end of march and this year they are just beginning. Someday, I will be able to look at journals from 20 years of gardening and have an idea of flukes, and cycles. It only works if I make it a priority,
How you choose to keep your journal is up to you. Are you a meticulous sort? Maybe you need a file or binder with pages of seed info, harvest logs, and daily range of temps may be up your alley. Or perhaps you are a general sort and just want to make a note a few days a week in a spiral bound pad, commenting your observations about the robins, or the first blooms. However you choose to journal, observation is your goal! The more detailed your notes, perhaps the more precise your methods will be, or the more you will need to sift through to get your needs met. I like the middle road myself, but do what best suites YOUR NEEDS.
Extra things I like to make note of in my journal are things like seed info. Did this particular seed from this company have good germination? Did I like the flavor? Did it grow well in my climate? With these notes, I can make better purchasing choices in the future. Last year I fell in love with this japanese melon, but I no longer have the seed packet and I didn't write it down. I am kicking myself over that one. I mean, a melon that grew to maturity in the PNW!! There is a tomato my dad absolutely loved a dew years ago. I noted the name but not where I purchased it. I ordered it from another supplier but it just wasn't the same tomato, much to my dads disappointment. Had I just made the steps to write it down, I would still have my dads favorite tomato.
Here are some photos of what my journal looks like this year, but remember, yours can be as simple, or as elaborate as you feel you have time. The important part is to write SOMETHING in it.