Ask a Question forum→How do YOU keep track of all your plants/gardens/plans, etc? Journal?

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Name: Heather
Southeast Michigan (Zone 6a)
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HarbouredHerbs
Apr 14, 2020 8:47 AM CST
If you have a large garden or a variety of species, how do you keep track of whats what? I don't mean staking... Lets say you decided to plant 10 new heirloom variety tomatoes this year and live in a winter bearing climate. Do you keep records to know next year what was sweet, what was acidic, where you got the heirloom, what its "story" is, etc?

Do you keep a journal type record of plants you have grown year after year?

If you are someone who keeps seeds how do you keep track of everything? Such as their origin, taste, preferences, etc.

I welcome ANY information or advice! We are new to gardening on a large scale. We have done the small handful of plants a season and have done a winters worth of research on all things gardening but I never seem to know how everyone keeps track. Perhaps its just the fact I have a poor memory that I am even considering this where as you green thumbs just "know" but I would love to hear what you do to record, plan, or "whatever" your garden!

Thanks so much!!!


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Name: sumire
Reno, Nevada (Zone 6a)
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sumire
Apr 14, 2020 9:59 PM CST
Welcome!

I don't keep a seed log but I keep my veggie garden records in one of those school "composition" notebooks because they are cheap and durable. Here's what I put in them:

-I record when and what I started from seed, what days I planted out, when I started getting different harvests and anything else noteworthy.
-Because I have raised beds, I draw a sketch of the beds each year so I can rotate where I place different crops.
-How I amended the beds each year. (For instance, this year was 15 bags of manure and 1 gallon of ground egg shell.)
-If I have bug problems I write down which plants and what I did to treat it. (Sometimes this is ripping up and discarding the plant.)
-First and last frosts, if I remember to write it down.
-any veggies that were particularly good or bad to grow. This includes specific varieties and overall plant notes. (For instance, I have given up on eggplants because I never get a harvest but sungold cherry tomatoes are always great.)
-Anything else that gets my attention.

I just keep the book by the back door through the growing season and add memos as I remember. It is a lot of stuff but I am used to taking notes for experiments, and tend to treat my vegetable garden as yet another science project. It takes several years to notice patterns but has been helpful a few times in working out problems.
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Name: Heather
Southeast Michigan (Zone 6a)
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HarbouredHerbs
Apr 14, 2020 11:40 PM CST
sumire said: I don't keep a seed log but I keep my veggie garden records in one of those school "composition" notebooks because they are cheap and durable. Here's what I put in them...


Hello Sumire! Thank You! Thanks so much for your reply and warm welcome!! YES, that is exactly what I was wondering!! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! I always like to know what works for other people. I am also into hand written stuff over tech. I do love my tech but there is nothing like hand written stuff! Anyway, I want to keep a log but really didn't know if it was logical or what to record or where to even begin. I love your method and will likely do very similar. My love and I both have memory issues and I was just thinking "when I go to plant next year, I am not going to have any clue!!"

Thanks again! Lovey dubby
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Apr 14, 2020 11:56 PM CST
I keep a sort of visual journal by constantly taking pictures of plants, including baby seedlings. The pictures and their associated dates allow me to visually check and confirm progress and setbacks. I rely on the database here to help keep my pictures organized by name and to easily find the ones I'm looking for later. Some of my "journal" pictures here...

https://garden.org/plants/brow...

My only written notes relate to acquisitions, repotting dates (large container garden here), and where relevant, deaths and their suspected causes. For what it's worth, that information is all pretty useful to me.

Welcome!
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Apr 14, 2020 11:57 PM (+)]
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Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
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gardenfish
Apr 15, 2020 12:11 AM CST
I keep a journal on tomatoes. I record what varieties I've planted, where they were planted, and what fertilizer was used. I also record weather conditions; temps and rainfall. I think weather info is important in any plant journal because it can affect the growth rate of veggies and even the taste of the crop. I also like to rate the plants from 1 to 10 on its reliability in my area. I makes notes on disease resistance and insect problems that year.
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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Apr 15, 2020 4:23 AM CST
I am a "fly by the seat of my pants guy!" One man who enjoys the heck of a newly picked tomato. I slice with sweet onion and fresh mozzarella sprinkled with fresh basil.
Or they go in my salads. As much as I love them, I can only eat so many. My grandmother who was a gardener who grew up on a farm in Northern Ct. taught me so much. I still grow beefsteak tomatoes because of her. It is my tribute to her memory!! Then I try say an Early Girl or something like that. But if I have room, I also grow a cherry tomato, like sweet one thousands or sweet one hundreds. I just love the flavor of a fresh tomato! I get consistently great taste and fantastic yields from these guys. NO reason to change. Heirloom tomatoes, NO THANK YOU. I am already growing an heirloom tomato from my grandma. It keeps me growing and it makes me happy! I swear that they do well for me because Grandma is tending them for me!
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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Apr 15, 2020 7:53 AM CST
Speaking of Grandma and my tomato's, she is the one who taught me to "pinch the sucker shoots". I am curious, does everyone do that or know about that? What do you all think?
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Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
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gardenfish
Apr 15, 2020 10:24 AM CST
Don't know where I learned that, but last year decided not to do it. Had more tomatoes that way.
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Apr 15, 2020 11:38 AM CST
I now have a Google doc with notes like diary format, by date. I would note varieties tried and if they were good / bad. I don't keep a lot of notes though; after gardening for 30 years+ I know what I need to know, or just quick lookup to check. I too 'fly by the seat' and trust my organic gardening to keep things reasonable.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 15, 2020 6:49 PM CST
I don't keep a journal but, I have an entire folder of notes. Tomatoes, squash and cucumbers are important so I keep track of what worked and what didn't so I can try something else next year. I have a couple I plant every year but, just as many 'experiements'. And don't forget the 'garden map' so I don't plant in the same place two years in a row.

I also like to challenge myself by trying to grow natives. I keep amazingly good notes on them plus any research I come acorss and what I have learned from the 'experts' (locals who have tried the same plants and their successes and failures).

My garden is a little more haphazard. No plant stakes (they would pop out of the ground anyway) but all the plant stakes are in small buckets (arranged by where they are in the yard so I can find them quickly). I rely on the internet to help me remember what I should have done.

For my orchids take I notes but also lots of photos at different times of year.
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Name: Heather
Southeast Michigan (Zone 6a)
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HarbouredHerbs
Apr 16, 2020 6:34 PM CST
BigBill said:Speaking of Grandma and my tomato's, she is the one who taught me to "pinch the sucker shoots". I am curious, does everyone do that or know about that? What do you all think?


That is actually something I learned a TON about in my research over the winter! We plan to do it our plants Smiling according to all the stuff I saw it was a huge help in quantity of harvest Hurray!
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Apr 16, 2020 6:42 PM CST
Well I have no proof that it actually increases yield but I know it removes branches and leaves allowing more water to go to the remaining fruit. It also allows more sunlight to reach and penetrate the plant.
It has been my experience the fruit that I get are very nice sized. Maybe as it turns out pinching causes a lower yield but if they are bigger and sweeter due to better sunlight, I can live with that.
I mean piggy 🐷 meat, lettuce and a slice of beefsteak on toast, it doesn't get any better then that!!!
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Name: Heather
Southeast Michigan (Zone 6a)
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HarbouredHerbs
Apr 16, 2020 7:00 PM CST
I don't know how to tag all of you in one reply but I read all of your posts back to me and I love them all! It's super helpful to a newbie like me to hear how you all are doing things!!! I want to be successful and I am very excited for this journey!!! Lovey dubby

I plan to browse topics and posts and hopefully get advice down the road from you wonderful gardeners!

Thank you again for your support and time Smiling
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
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ctcarol
Apr 16, 2020 7:43 PM CST
One of the best things about this site is the option to compare all the different ways of growing...depending on environment, space, taste, and the list goes on. It may be confusing to a new gardener, but if you read them all, you can experiment until you find what works best for you. You will also see the mistakes made.
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Indiana Zone 5b
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gardengus
Apr 16, 2020 8:17 PM CST
I do keep a paper journal with all kinds of disorganized notes


If you have not found it already there is a way to keep a list of your plants right here on NGA
You should check it out
I have seen some member lists that are quite comprehensive , with personal notes
You might check it out.
I just enter new plants mostly and the year I tried them , in the veggie category
I keep a somewhat up to date on my perennials and herbs..

..................................................................................................................................................
Anyone know is there a link on how to the plant database , my old brain has forgotten how to get it started????
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Apr 16, 2020 10:17 PM CST

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I use the database here to add plants I own into lists, I can add notes to each entry. I have 18 categories for my plants, you can see them on my profile.
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Name: Heather
Southeast Michigan (Zone 6a)
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HarbouredHerbs
Apr 17, 2020 10:26 AM CST
Calif_Sue said:I use the database here to add plants I own into lists, I can add notes to each entry. I have 18 categories for my plants, you can see them on my profile.


Thank you!!! I will certainly check that out!!! Thank You!
Name: Heather
Southeast Michigan (Zone 6a)
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HarbouredHerbs
Apr 17, 2020 12:01 PM CST
gardengus said: Anyone know is there a link on how to the plant database , my old brain has forgotten how to get it started????


Thank you so much! A few were kind enough to point me in that direction as well!! I have been looking through and see the alure! Very good way of organizing/tracking! Thank You!
Name: Heather
Southeast Michigan (Zone 6a)
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HarbouredHerbs
Apr 17, 2020 12:02 PM CST
BigBill said: I mean piggy 🐷 meat, lettuce and a slice of beefsteak on toast, it doesn't get any better then that!!!


You got that right!!!! Drooling

Name: Heather
Southeast Michigan (Zone 6a)
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HarbouredHerbs
Apr 17, 2020 12:03 PM CST
ctcarol said:One of the best things about this site is the option to compare all the different ways of growing...depending on environment, space, taste, and the list goes on. It may be confusing to a new gardener, but if you read them all, you can experiment until you find what works best for you. You will also see the mistakes made.


You are so right Carol!! I am so happy to have stumbled upon it!

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