Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Garden Journals

Ever since my first garden in Michigan I've kept a garden journal. It appealed to the side of myself I consider a writer, and it appealed to the side of myself that wanted to be a good gardener. I had a big pile of books leant to me by Uncle Bob, a few seeds, some seedlings from Frog Holler, and a shovel. Oh, and a brand new compost pile. And I really had no idea what I was doing.

So, a journal seemed a way to keep track of what I tried, grew, learned, and where I put it all. I tried writing every day, but after a time that seemed absurd. Not much changed from day to day, so I eventually stopped that. However, toward the end of the season when I was harvesting more tomatoes than I thought three plants would ever provide, cutting flowers, and cursing bean beetles I decided to jot down my impressions.

It's fun to look back in that journal and see the diagrams I planned in the spring, and see how the beds I actually planted turned out. It's also interesting to read how things were going mid and late season, and remind myself of what I liked and didn't. (Squash bugs were my next nemesis. They found a cozy home safe from my squishing fingers in the pallets we used to make the garden walkways.)

Here's an entry from this past May 28th:
Frost last night, damnit. We covered just about everything, were glad we did. Ice in a drip tray. Jeepers. Will be chilly again tonight. I'm feeling bad for the basil.

Now the journal has expanded to include work around the yard. Where I put in bulbs, perennials and transplant them, canning results, i.e this many blueberries made this much jam or this many jars of straight berries, recipes from magazines I borrow, notes on books I'm reading or talks I attend. Oh, and I briefly kept track of the eggs we found each day. I wasn't very dedicated to this, but in the future I will be.

This post on the Regional Gardening News blog offers some other great ideas about gardening journals, too.

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