When you think of gardening tools, items like gloves, shovels, and pruning shears probably come to mind. But it turns out that there is something else that can be extremely valuable for your garden: a journal. In an article for Food52, Master Gardener Nadia Hassani explains why. Here is what you need to know.
How to choose a gardening journal
There is no such thing as a “perfect” gardening journal. In fact, it can take many different forms, according to Hassani:
How you keep track of what you’re growing – with a gardening app, notebook, monthly planner, index cards, or spreadsheets – doesn’t matter, as long as it’s working for you and you save things while they are still fresh Memory. As with anything else, record keeping takes the guesswork out of gardening so you can focus your efforts on growing your plants.
Basic information to record
Whether you are an experienced gardener or relatively new to the business, there are two things according to Hassani that are essential in a gardening journal:
Specifically, you’re going to want to draw a map of your garden to scale and record what you’re planting where. Here is Hassani to explain why:
Determine the space each crop will need, mark it on your map, and plant accordingly. You will need your garden map next year to practice crop rotation, a very old farming practice that avoids planting crops from the same families in the same location for at least two years in a row. For example, peppers, eggplants, potatoes, and tomatoes are all part of the nightshade family, so you shouldn’t be planting tomatoes in the same spot where you planted peppers the previous year.
Planting and fertilization dates
This one is a little easier than making a map. Basically you want to write down what you planted and when. This is especially the case if you are starting from seeds, writes Hassani, “so you will know how soon you can expect to see growth, or if the seeds have not germinated and you should reseed.
Also keep track of the dates when you fertilize your garden, as well as the type of fertilizer you use. Do the same for all pest control or pest control products. “Overall, it’s better to have too little than too much, because too much fertilizer or chemicals can harm your plants,” says Hassani.
Additional useful information
Oabove drawing the map and recording important dates, there are a few other things Hassani says more advanced gardeners might want to include in their diaries. 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 / plants