Ask a Question forum: Do you keep a Garden Journal?

Page 1 of 3 • 1 2 3
Views: 786, Replies: 45 » Jump to the end
Name: Ann
PA (Zone 6b)
Image
AnnofPA
Feb 12, 2015 8:56 PM CST
I'll get right to my query if you'd like to skip my below belly-aching:
I'm really interested in how anyone who keeps annual records of their garden, does so?
What's been most functional for you? And what hasn't?

I've been terribly remiss in not starting some type of garden journal when I started gardening in earnest a number of years ago. I've thought about how I might keep a journal of all plants (dead and alive), dates/location of purchase, care, experiences, how to's etc. I've seen beautiful garden journals kept in sketch books with accompanying water color paintings and sketches of said garden(wow!) with notations for each painted/sketched plant. I've seen amazing and extremely functional (yet intense) spreadsheets to keep records of one's garden. I've seen binders with photo's of each plant in the garden with an accompanying write up. And I've seen combinations of the preceding examples.

I absolutely have to start a garden journal this year. Even just keeping dates and notes in chronological order of garden tasks and perhaps some sections on how to's etc in a bound notebook would be heads and shoulders above my lists and notes I've jotted down here there and yonder. And my bookmarks on my computer have become unwiedly and I usually end up googling something again and again. I do a great deal of research on things I grow and problems I have which in time I'll forget if I don't make record of it and what I tried, how it worked etc., etc... So if you've read my belly-aching and forgotten what on earth I'm asking: I'm really interested in how anyone who keeps annual records of their garden, does so? What's been most functional for you? Or not?

I'm really looking forward to everyone's responses and hoping it sparks a fire for me to get a handle on this before yet another year passes me by and I'm asking my plants, again, now how many years have you been here?!

Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Image
Dutchlady1
Feb 12, 2015 8:57 PM CST
Welcome! Ann!!
Name: Ann
PA (Zone 6b)
Image
AnnofPA
Feb 12, 2015 9:00 PM CST
Thank You , Hetty! : )
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Feb 12, 2015 9:14 PM CST
Welcome!

I keep a drawer in my desk just for my garden. An envelope there gets receipts. Another gets all the plant tags. I keep packets of seeds in there (cool and dry).
I have a notebook I keep in there that I jot down notes, ideas and phone numbers of nurseries. I keep a list of all the things I plant. All my daylilies are numbered with tags and those are recorded in the notebook. So if I'm out in the garden I just take it out with me. Occasionally I clip a picture from a magazine or catalog and tape it in the notebook. More like a scrapbook than a journal. I have all the plants in each bed listed together so I know where to find what.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
CarolineScott
Feb 12, 2015 9:19 PM CST
I keep a garden Journal in a hard cover bound notebook.
If I start seeds, or transplant seedlings, or purchase plants , I enter this on the right hand page.
Then if I have further notes on when it flowered etc. I note that opposite on the left hand page.
I date each entry.
I once had the Lee Valley Journal,
but there was too much that I wanted to record for the spaces it allowed.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
Image
greene
Feb 12, 2015 9:19 PM CST
Welcome! All four of my grandparents settled in Pennsy.

Back when I was an organized person gardening in southern Connecticut, I had a copy of "The Victory Garden" (my gardening Bible at the time) and kept sheets of paper tucked into the back cover. I would hold the pages up to the window and trace the 'old' garden layout and make changes, noting what plants worked and which did not. On each paper I would note which varieties I planted for that year.

Of course now that we have All Things Plants (and dave the magnificent), I can just make notes on my database listing. Each time I list an event others have the chance to learn from my success or failure as I am able to learn from their notes.

Oh, I forgot to add: photo; now that cameras are digital and each photo costs zero dollars, keeping a photo journal is also helpful. I learned a trick from Nan Ondra who gardens in Pennsylvania... http://hayefield.com/ ...to place stepping stones in certain places so the photos will look consistent from season to season, always from the same vantage point.

Edited to add link for Nan Ondra's blog.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
[Last edited by greene - Feb 12, 2015 10:03 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #786941 (6)
Name: Ann
PA (Zone 6b)
Image
AnnofPA
Feb 12, 2015 9:27 PM CST
Thanks Frillylily!

I like your system. I have all my plant tags and just centralized them this winter. The receipt folder is so smart. That captures pertinent information all on one little piece of paper. Where, when, what, how much. Nice! I'm definitely going to use that going forward. I also like the notebook & scrapbook idea. My garden isn't so big that I need the numbering system, yet, but that's an excellent idea to keep in mind going forward. Thank you so much for sharing!
Name: Ann
PA (Zone 6b)
Image
AnnofPA
Feb 12, 2015 9:33 PM CST
Hi Caroline,

That sounds like a smart and straight forward way to keep track of everything. I like that. I did something similar with seeds last year, but once growing season started I didn't go back and update how things did or didn't do. I really think keeping dates is important too. Especially from year to year. Thanks for sharing!
Name: Ann
PA (Zone 6b)
Image
AnnofPA
Feb 12, 2015 9:55 PM CST
Thanks Greene! I think all my generations of grandparents settled in PA via Ellis Island. How lucky are you to live in Savanah?! It must be so beautiful! I read Anna Wintour couldn't/wouldn't stay the night there recently after visiting SCAD even though a house had been completely remodeled for her stay. Not to mention no one could speak or look at here while visiting. I guess she isn't familiar with southern hospitality ; )

Oh The Victory Garden. How I miss The (original) Victory Garden on PBS. I'll have to check out that book from the library. That's a neat way to keep track of your garden. I like the non-computer ways- time allowing ; )

I was wondering, and guessing, that there must be some computer program or site that facilitated some kind of garden record keeping. I am definitely going to look into what you use. It's getting my records up and current that I'm dreading a bit, but I know I'll be so glad I did once I'm up and running. I love that other people can leave input too. So helpful!

You are a wealth of information. The photo information will be really helpful too. I know just this winter I was looking at prior gardening pics and really surprised that I didn't have pics of certain plants every year, which with it being a fairly new garden would have been helpful to see the growth. I have stepping stones in my garden but will add a few more for pic purposes, or at least add a brick as a place marker. Great information- Thanks for sharing!

Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
Image
greene
Feb 12, 2015 10:04 PM CST
Thank You!
I edited my previous post to add the link to Nan Ondra's blog. She's the Pennsylvania gardener I mentioned. Lots of 'eye candy' on her blog. Lovey dubby
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Ann
PA (Zone 6b)
Image
AnnofPA
Feb 12, 2015 10:17 PM CST
Wonderful Greene- I'll definitely give it a look-see. Thanks again!
Name: Bonnie
Chandler, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Bee Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Xeriscape Birds
Seed Starter Winter Sowing
Image
droughttolerant
Feb 13, 2015 7:23 AM CST
Welcome! Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! Hi Ann!
I use Google Calendar to keep track of what's blooming when from year to year, and what things should be done when. It works for me because it's easy and quick, and you can make a task list there. Learned it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRtt-3J-zS8
I use Excel as a database to keep track of my seeds and as a way to design my garden (design is used veeeerrrryyyyy loosely). Do cottage and design go together? Green Grin! I also use Excel to keep track of my seed starting adventures. I would love to write one of those journals, but I just don't seem to keep up with it. I have to pick between gardening or journaling about gardening. The dirt always wins. The closest thing I have to a journal is my binder of plant pages. I have descriptions of what pruning I do for each plant when, what I've tried, what did work, what didn't, etc. I use a Google free-be called Picasa to keep pictures sorted to go with the plant pages.
Nan Ondra has a blog! I will definitely check that out. I use her Perennial Care Manual for my plant pages when I get a new plant all the time. I have it here right next to me as we 'speak'!
Bonnie
Name: Ann
PA (Zone 6b)
Image
AnnofPA
Feb 13, 2015 8:06 AM CST
Hi Bonnie! Thanks!

I will definitely look at google calendar and give some thought to excel since that seems to be helpful to many. Thanks for the youtube link too. I look forward to checking that out! I know what you mean about loosely planning a cottage garden as that's the category I'm inspired by as well.

I guess I didn't mean just journaling in my inquiry. The info everyone's provided is exactly what I wanted to know. And your point about "dirt always winning" is exactly why I haven't started keeping any records to begin with. But I'm wasting time starting over each year with certain things because I don't have my own "database" , so to speak.

I'm new to Nan Ondra, but stayed up too late last night reading her blog. Her bio first and then about her alpaca(furry cuteness trumps garden) until I read her current blog post which was very interesting to me and required me to google the different plants she was referencing and figuring out how I could incorporate them into my garden. I didn't even get to the end of that post. I'm grateful Greene introduced her to me. Her books are now on my radar of "must-reads". Thanks for sharing, Bonnie!
Name: Bonnie
Chandler, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Bee Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Xeriscape Birds
Seed Starter Winter Sowing
Image
droughttolerant
Feb 13, 2015 9:34 AM CST
So, if we were to grow our own home-made journal, what kinds of pages would you have? Templates? Etc... If we make it ourselves, we can expand it to our hearts' desire. Anybody already do this? Ideas?! I'm all ears!

To start, I would have:
A binder I love
Plant pages, with size when mature, bloom times, bloom colors, exposure...
Seed starting pages with dates sown, dates germ'd, dates potted up, dates set out, dates dead ( Thumbs down )...
Seed inventory
Pruning pages, ideas, suggestions, results, with a numbered picture index for Picasa (where I keep my pics organized-well organized for me!)
Lists of seasonal tasks, with check boxes maybe
Page of plants I might want to grow (I don't make notes and then I forget what it was I saw that was interesting...The ATP Database is EXCELLENT in helping me with that! Hurray! )
A page on why it's not good to procrastinate...
If it's quik notes I'm more likely to keep up with it, that's why I stick to quik. What is likely to work for you all?

Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
Image
woofie
Feb 13, 2015 11:57 AM CST
I just got around to doing my seed inventory in My List here on ATP. Need to go back through it and add some dates to the seeds. I've used an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of when I plant seeds and when they sprout and how well they did in the garden, but have slacked off the last year or two.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
Image
lovesblooms
Feb 13, 2015 12:11 PM CST
I've just begun using the growers report feature here to build a journal. Is there a way to compile all of a user's reports all in one place, @dave...? That might make it easier to do what I hope to do next, which is copy the info either into Word or Excel with pictures and other notes all in one place.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Feb 13, 2015 1:00 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

You can see all your growers reports in your list. @lovesblooms your list is here:

http://garden.org/lists/view/lovesblooms/
Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
Image
lovesblooms
Feb 13, 2015 1:07 PM CST
Got it--thank you!
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Feb 13, 2015 1:33 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Thumbs up
Name: Ann
PA (Zone 6b)
Image
AnnofPA
Feb 13, 2015 4:59 PM CST
Hi Woofie and Taqiyyah,

Thanks for pointing out the My List and Growers Report area's of ATP! I haven't gotten much beyond the forums but I'll have to look into those. I'll be interested to hear if you can put them into word/excel.

Bonnie- I like your list so far! I'm not in the position to really add anything since I haven't been keeping records. Although I guess that qualifies me to add to the page on procrastination! ha

Thanks All!
[Last edited by AnnofPA - Feb 13, 2015 6:37 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #788111 (20)

Page 1 of 3 • 1 2 3

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Lilium 'Pink Perfection'"