I’ve tried many methods for journaling my gardening successes and failures, but have yet to devise one that I’m willing to reuse without revision. Store bought versions of garden journals are too generic for my taste and needs. I want a 3-ring binder type of set up that houses monthly pages for tracking seed purchases, planting dates, and how well each variety grows; diagrams of planting beds to track what is planted where; tags and labels from perennial plants, shrubs, and trees; and a place to keep any printed photos. I had been keeping a version of this until last year when opted to try keeping track of my seed planting in a database. I entered all my seeds, pertinent growing information, and where each was purchased; when planted indoors and out; and included sections to fill in the progress of each. That’s where it all fell apart. During the outdoor growing season I’m too anxious to get away from my computer to spend the time needed to type in the progress of each tomato, pepper, bean, lettuce, herb, etc. seedling … and their growth, plus track every flower, bulb, and shrub purchase. So I had to rely on memory to fill in the data over less busy winter months. The problem, of course, is the accuracy of recall, and the fact that I had no printed record of the 2008 growing season to add to previous years’ records for comparison.
So this year, I’m back to the 3-ring binder, but this method still needs some tweaking. I’m in the process of revising my calendar pages and my method for storing plant/shrub tags and keeping track of the growth or death of each. I’m no longer printing photos for my garden journal, as I keep an annual digital photo file in my computer that I can easily cross reference.
I’ll try to upload a photo of my calendar pages once they are completed, printed, and housed in the binder.
While I’m in the process of revision, I’d love to hear your suggestions. Do you keep a journal? What has and has not worked for you?