Saturday, February 17, 2018

Keep a garden diary

Notebook with calendar diary
Saturday, February 13, 2018

Every gardener should keep a diary.  It is a great way to capture how your garden does, when different varieties come into maturity, which ones did well, which ones bombed, what worked well, and what you never want to repeat!  

I have tried a couple of different ways of tracking my garden.  I monthly calendar is a good way to capture what is happening in the garden throughout the seasons.  This is what I used when I first started gardening.  I'd write the highlights for each week.  I could then look back on the previous year's to see how the current year compares.

These days, I just use a spiral notebook.  I write in the date for each entry.  I capture when I do planting and what varieties I planted.  In the beginning, I thought I could remember more than I actually could.  Now, I write it down!  Capture all your thoughts about the garden.

Jot down in your notebook what you learned and want to remember for next year’s garden:
*which veggies did best for you that you definitely want to include in your garden for next year.
*which ones did not do well in your garden and you don’t want to retry next year.
*which ones that did not do as well as you would have liked and you have ideas on what to do differently next season.
*lay out the timing of what you plant; capture if it should have been earlier or later (did you get the spring greens in too late and they bolted or the zucchini too early and the vine borer got to it).
*the number of plants you grew for each variety and was it enough or too much (did you get swamped by too many peppers and not have enough cucumbers?).
*ask neighbors what varieties they are growing that are growing well for them and jot them down as some to add to this year's garden or to try next year.
*draw out your garden plan so you can remember where everything was planted; you will want to rotate locations for next year to boost harvests and reduce bugs.
*keep track of when you fertilize, how much and with what; capture if it was enough and how well it helped the crops.
*keep track of when you start to water and which plants needed more than others and what size pot they were in; you can put them in a larger pot or one with a self waterer next year.
*at the end of each season, I capture what I want to plant next year so I don't forget.

Keep notes in your planner what varieties did best each month.  For those that did really well in the garden, I save the seeds and label them.  By saving the seeds of the plants that did well in your garden, you are creating plants that thrive in your ecosystem.

You may think you will remember next year all the details, but you may not.  So, to be safe, label the baggie with the variety, date, where it did well (in the ground, pot, shade, sun), and when it produced.

You can also make a list of what you want to learn more about over the winter to be better prepared for spring gardening.  Did your peppers leaves turn yellow, your tomatoes not produce as much as you expected, your lettuce bolted early, what is the best fertilizing routine for the veggies you grow?

I also recommend keeping a diary over the winter of the produce you are eating.  This will give you a great idea on what you should plant and how many you should plant come next gardening season.

You can research over the dreary winter days and dream of the warm, green, growing days to come.

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