Photo: Stephanie Frey (Shutterstock)
When you think of garden tools, items like gloves, spades, and pruning shears come to mind. But it turns out that there is one more thing that can be extremely valuable to your garden: a journal. in the an article for Food52, Master gardener Nadia Hassani explains why. Here’s what to know.
How to choose a garden journal
There is no such thing as a “perfect” garden journal. In fact, it can take several forms, after Hassani::
It doesn’t matter how you keep track of what you’re growing – with a gardening app, notebook, monthly planner, index cards, or spreadsheet – as long as it works for you and you keep track of things while they’re still fresh in your memory. As with anything else, keeping records takes the guesswork out of gardening so you can focus on your plants thriving.
Basic information about recording
Whether you are a seasoned gardener or relatively new to the activity, Hassani says two things are important in a gardening journal:
Specifically, you want to draw a map of your garden – to scale – and record what you plant and where. Here is Hassani to explain why::
Find out how much space each crop takes up, mark it on your map, and plant it accordingly. You will need the map for your garden for the next year to practice crop rotation, a very old farming practice that avoids planting plants of the same family in the same spot for at least two years in a row. For example, peppers, eggplants, potatoes, and tomatoes belong to the nightshade family. So you shouldn’t plant tomatoes in the place where you planted peppers the year before.
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Planting and fertilization data
It’s a bit easier than making a card. Basically, you want to write down what you planted and when. This is especially the case when starting from the seed, writes Hassani, “so that you know the time frame in which you can expect growth, or when the seeds have failed to germinate and you should sow again.”
Also, keep track of the dates when you fertilize your garden as well as the type of fertilizer you are using. Do the same with pest or disease control products. “By and large, too little is better than too much, because over-fertilizing fertilizers or chemicals can harm your plants,” says Hassani.
Additional useful information
Aside from drawing the map and recording the important dates, there are a few other things Hassani says that more advanced gardeners may want to include in their journal. These include:
- Harvest dates (to give you an idea of what to expect next year)
- Which pests are a problem and when?
- Your favorite plants and where you bought the seeds / saplings