Thursday, April 15, 2021

Keep a Gardening Journal!

By: Candice Keast

If you're new to gardening, you'll quickly realize that a lot of it is trial and error. Thankfully, you can learn from your mistakes by keeping a written record of everything that goes on in your garden. After all, becoming a better gardener just means you're learning from your previous mistakes.

 Why keep a gardening journal? 

Keep a gardening journal to:

  • give yourself historical information of your garden from previous years 
  • keep track of your plans, lists, and key dates for easy reference 
  • help you remember what works and doesn't work
  • improve your gardening skills over time

 Where to get one? 

There are plenty of gardening journals out there for you to purchase, but another option is to create one yourself! Keep it simple and use a blank notebook or get creative and use the bullet journal method. There are also tons of downloadable templates online. Print and plug them into a binder! 

 Ideas for what to keep track of: 

🌺 Spring 

  • Seed inventory
  • Seeds sown indoors/outdoors and dates planted
  • Seeds that did and didn't germinate
  • Watering schedule
  • Transplanting dates
  • Garden design ideas
  • Companion planting layout
  • Seedling planting dates 

🌞 Summer

  • The weather
  • Microclimates in your garden (sun, shade, wet, dry, wind)
  • Plants that did well and didn't do well and reasons why
  • Pests and how you controlled them
  • Harvest dates and inventory
  • Bloom times and pollinator visitors

🍂 Fall 

  • Seeds you saved
  • Bulbs you planted and when
  • Foods you want to preserve (freeze or dry herbs, can or ferment vegetables)
  • General observations, musings, and ideas for next year
  • Crop rotation plans for next year

Your journal is also the perfect place for sketches of your garden layout – both current and future plans. Keep notes and drawings for next year's garden based on what you learned this year.

For inspiration, check out these examples:

An open gardening journal with companion planting plans on the left and vegetable garden plans on the right.
Photo Credit: Annemarie Baynton

An open gardening journal with a two page drawing of a garden plan layout.
Photo Credit: Annemarie Baynton

The top left corner of an open gardening journal showing an inventory summary of vegetable crops.
Photo Credit: Annemarie Baynton

There are no set rules for keeping a garden journal. Make it your own and have fun with it! Regardless, you will be thankful for this resource each year you garden. 

Feel free to ask questions in the comment section below & share your gardening journal progress with us on social media by tagging @LiveGreenTO and using the hashtag #GetGrowing.


 Get Growing Toronto Newsletter 

Did you know that Live Green Toronto has expanded the Get Growing program to include a monthly newsletter? Whether you're growing food for the first time or a seasoned gardener, there are always new things to learn and try. Our goal is to help you on your gardening journey with lots of tips and resources. Get Growing with us and sign up here!

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