I have the memory of a goldfish. If you asked me what I had for breakfast yesterday, I’m not sure I could tell you most of the time. So, when it comes to remembering things like the name of the delicious tomatoes that I grew on my porch a few years ago, I’m hopeless. But, as it turns out, there’s an easy solution: A garden record book!
I actually first got this idea from a record book kept by former president Thomas Jefferson, who was a stickler for keeping records and such. In his garden manuscript, he listed out all kinds of information about when he planted various plants, when they grew and when and how much he harvested. If you’re a gardener, then it’s actually a pretty interesting read.
Anyway, with my memory, I thought making my own gardening record book would be a great idea! While you can buy a premade book here, which has all kinds of neat charts and the like, I’m kind of a cheapskate. Instead, I used an old 3 ring binder that I had laying around and filled it with paper and some dividers. Here are the sections I have:
In this first section, I’ve got listed out all of the seed information I have. You can do it however you like, but I have written down the following categories:
- Seed variety
- Seed name
- seed source (include lot number if applicable)
- Growing condition suggestions (from packet or source)
- Where you planted it
- Adaptability (leave blank for recording how well it grew at the end of the season)
- Maturity (leave blank; for recording how long it took to grow and when it produced)
- Problems (leave blank for listing pests, diseases and solutions)
- Quality (leave blank for recording if you liked it or not)
- Other Notes (for anything else!)
And, because I like things to look pretty, on the flowers and things I grew from a packet, I cut out the image on the front and taped it to the page as a reminder.
This section is for recording growing information about each plant throughout the season. Treat it like a note page and write down when the plants first came up, if you had any late frosts, what fertilizer you used or pesticides (if any), and anything else you notice throughout the season.
I’ve got my growing records set up by date, almost like a journal. I have separated out observations about each plant with bullet points, because who doesn’t love bullet points?
If you’re feeling really ambitious about your gardening, then this last section is for you! Print off a free calendar and then make a note on the exact day that you planted each plant, as well as when you harvested it. Over the years, you’ll see trends as to when, exactly, different plants are ready and can streamline the planting and harvesting process.
At least, thats the idea. I haven’t actually tried this one for long enough to know if it’s worth the effort, but I thought I’d throw it out there anyway!
I know it sounds like a lot of paperwork, but I think the return will be well worth the time! I make writing in my Garden Book a part of my routine and find myself reaching for it as soon as I get back inside.
Let me know if you find it useful, or what other information you add to YOUR garden book!