How to use a garden diary with free printable
From pest outbreaks to successful harvests, learn how to organize your garden story and record garden ideas in your organic garden diary.
When you watch the Tour de France on television, you may wonder how the announcers keep up their conversational pace. One might imagine after several days; the commentator would be reduced to remarking, “…and he’s still pedaling, folks. Look at that man pedal.” In reality, the insights and witticisms of these professionals never grow stale.
The organic gardener faces a similar challenge in creating a dynamic garden journal. After all, a useful journal must impart more than the observation, “The sun is still shining; the plants continue to grow.” A well-kept garden journal serves as a learning tool for best practices in your organic garden.
By keeping a detailed record of your weather in your garden journal, you can determine what kinds of microclimates are affecting your growing conditions. Although you can easily determine your hardiness zone by consulting a USDA map, your property’s elevation and exposure may increase or reduce your plants’ hardiness. Note minimum and maximum temperatures in your plot each day, so you can pinpoint the best time to plant heat-loving vegetables in your garden. Include a record of soil temperature in your weather notation.
If you’ve ever read a copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, you might be curious about the efficacy of lunar gardening. By following the moon’s phases, you can determine when to plant root crops and above-ground crops, when to control pests, when to transplant, and when to plant flowers.
The logic behind lunar gardening lies in the way the waxing and waning moon affects moisture content in the soil and mineral content in the air. Some gardeners argue that superstition guides lunar gardening and others claim that gardening by the moon phases has a firm scientific basis. Draw your own conclusions by charting the moon phases in your garden journal and practicing lunar planting methods.
You must include a description of pest problems in your organic garden journal. This can help you learn which plants are the most pest-resistant and which organic pest treatments are the most effective. Record the garden conditions that seem to encourage pest outbreaks. These notes will help you plan the best companion planting and crop rotation methods to control garden pests.
A few snapshots taken throughout the growing season make the garden journal a pleasure to review when your plot lies fallow in the winter. Take a picture at the end of winter, when the structural elements of your landscape are exposed. Take a picture of your seedlings when you’ve just planted them, and contrast this with a picture of the garden at the height of its summer glory. Review these photos the following season to remind yourself not to overcrowd your plants.
Include some sketches that detail the garden of your dreams. Ambitious gardeners always want to find room for one more new plant introduction, and it’s easier to plan this on paper before you break new ground.