Here at The Optimist Daily, we are big fans of brain-boosting hobbies that support your health. For instance, cultivating your own garden has a positive impact on your well-being and is good for the environment. Journaling is also a fantastic way to de-stress, reflect on your life circumstances, and recognize the progress you’re making in life. Now, we encourage you to combine these two practices.
Keeping a garden journal means tracking what you grow so that you can focus your energy on making sure your plants thrive. To do this, you can use an app, a planner, a notebook, or whatever works for you. The key is to record the information you collect while it’s still fresh in your memory.
This can be especially helpful if you are a beginner gardener because all the details for every plant you keep can get confusing and overwhelming. However, for more experienced gardeners, keeping a garden journal can help you fine-tune your harvesting schedule, or help you further diversify your garden.
For gardeners of all levels
The first step to garden journaling is to make a map to scale to record what you’ve planted where. This will also help you practice crop rotation, which is an old farming practice that avoids planting crops of the same families in the same spot for at least two years in a row.
This is because every crop takes different nutrients out of the soil, and a plant can leave disease pathogens behind that can attack plants from the same family in the next year.
Next, you should record when you’ve planted each plant, especially if you’re starting with seeds. This way, you’ll be certain of the time frame in which you can expect to see growth. If you are on top of the dates, then you won’t have to second guess whether you need to reseed if the original seeds fail to germinate.
You can also use your journal to make notes of trends in your garden and make notes of tasks to accomplish. Does the irrigation tube in the back right corner leak? Did your radishes do especially well next to the cucumbers? This can also help you perfect companion planting to boost your yields.
For experienced gardeners
Staying on top of your harvest dates for crops such as garlic is extremely important, because if you wait too long, the cloves will start to separate, and the garlic won’t store well. If you have many crops, then it can be difficult to pinpoint the best time to harvest. That said, being able to look back on previous years’ harvest dates will give you a reliable target date to harvest in the years to come.
You can also use your garden journal to keep a note of when pests and diseases appear. This will give you a good reference for the next years so that you can be on the lookout for these pests and act proactively to protect your crops.
When you notice that certain vegetable varieties are doing exceedingly well, it would be wise to write down all related information, such as the seed company or nursery you bought them from, in your garden journal. The same goes for crops that fail miserably so that you know what to avoid in the future.
If you tend to other plants outside of your main garden, then you can expand this journaling practice to include your entire yard. This can help you keep track of which plants ended up where in your yard, which in turn can set your personal ecosystem up for a lush and thriving season, year after year.