A gardener’s mind performs endless functions each day, but does not always store them in memory. Last year’s garden statistics may be gone forever.
Yet our garden statistics can help us make better decisions. We may want to plant the cultivar that produced the most green beans or the tomato cultivar that tasted best.
Knowing the weather conditions that plants endured can alter our judgments of cultivar performance. Also, knowing cultivar names can help gardeners share helpful information with others.
Garden layout also can become confusing over the years. Did the peas grow on the south side last year or the year before? Knowing the answer can help with crop rotation.
Knowing cultivar names can help at fair time as well. Garden show entries usually place higher if the cultivar name is listed. Some shows require cultivar names for entry.
Some of us dabble at journaling or record keeping, starting off well in the spring but tapering off to nothing by August.
Quick, easy ways to keep records can help us continue all season long.
Take photos. Capture the whole garden in a few shots. Also, take shots every two or three weeks. This works well to remember what blooms together in a flower border and what crops can be succession planted or intercropped. Store electronically or print.
Post a calendar by the tool rack, inside the back door, or close to the hat rack. Use one that gives enough space to make daily notations. Clip on a pencil or pen or keep it close by in a pocket or on a string. Use it to record dates (rainfall, weeding, pest control, fertilizer applications, harvest), cultivar names and produce quantities.
Use stakes at the end of rows. Buy these online, at garden centers or make them out of materials at home. Cut up plastic containers (yogurt, cottage cheese, juice). Record cultivar and planting date in indelible ink and insert securely into the ground. Stakes left in place from year to year can aid in crop rotation.
Use file cards in a box or drawer along with dividers. Arrange by crops, dates, cultivars or other categories. Some gardeners also keep empty seed packets in boxes and record information on the packets.
To get started with more serious garden journaling, visit this Cooperative Extension System site at:https://guilford.ces.ncsu.edu/2015/01/garden-journaling-keeping-the-reco...