ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why You Should Keep a Garden Journal

Updated on January 17, 2017
OldRoses profile image

Caren White is a Master Gardener and instructor at Home Gardeners School. She has been a volunteer at Rutgers Gardens for over a decade.

A spiral notebook makes a great garden journal
A spiral notebook makes a great garden journal | Source

Most people hate journaling. They were introduced to it in school, forced to write in it every day and then hand it in to the teacher. It felt more like a report, than a personal document. Well, you can relax. A garden journal is nothing like those journals you were required to keep in school.

Garden journals are easy. You don’t have to write in them every day. You don’t have to worry about spelling and grammar. You don’t even need to write in complete sentences. And you don’t ever have to show it to anyone. It is for your eyes only.

So what do you write in a garden journal? Anything that you want to remember for the future. What you planted. When you planted it. Where you planted it. Seed germination rates. The condition of plants on arrival from mail-order catalogs. Which plants did well and which did not. Pests. Diseases. How you handled them. What worked. What didn’t work. The weather. Rain. Frosts. Extreme temperatures.

By the way, did you notice the lack of sentence structure there? And yet I managed to convey a lot of information, didn’t I? This is how you can write in your garden journal. Brief notes are fine if they are clear and when you read them in the future, they make sense.

Your garden journal doesn’t have to be an historical record entirely. If you like to write, your journal is a great place to record your thoughts, write essays or poetry inspired by your garden. If you are artistic, you can add drawings and paintings of your garden. There are no hard and fast rules. Your garden journal should be a reflection of you and how you garden.

The value of your garden journal will become clear in a few years. Each year you should make a point of re-reading your garden journal from previous years. You will start to notice trends in weather. You will become more selective from whom you buy seeds and plants. Your garden will look better and yield more each year as you apply the lessons from previous years.

Garden journals are sold by most garden supply companies. They can be beautiful and expensive. Here are three great inexpensive alternatives.

Spiral Notebook

A spiral notebook, that staple of the classroom, makes a great garden journal. It’s cheap and durable and you won’t care if you get it dirty. You can write in it, sketch in it, and staple in photos and seed packets. Just be sure to label what year(s) you used it.

Garden Blog

I have arthritis in my hands and fingers making writing very painful. I can still type so years ago I hopped on the blogging bandwagon. I loved my garden blog! I could write, add photos and links, and even share experiences with fellow gardeners all over the world. The only drawback was that no one seemed to understand that I didn’t want to become a world-famous garden blogger, that my blog was just my garden journal. There is a garden blogging etiquette! I found myself forced to keep a blogroll, participating in special events like posting pictures of what was blooming in my garden on certain days and spending way too much time reading and commenting on other people’s garden blogs. It’s considered a major faux pas if you don’t read and comment. Eventually I abandoned my garden blog. It was too much trouble.

OneNote

I’ve started using Microsoft Office OneNote at my job. OneNote is a virtual notebook with apparently no limit on the number of pages and sections that you can create. I have created a notebook documenting everything I do at work and shared it with my coworkers. I can also email pages to anyone with a one click. I can add photos, screenshots, videos and weblinks to any page.

This year, I’m going to try OneNote as a garden journal. I’ve already started with a section devoted to the veggie garden at Rutgers Gardens where I grow cucurbits with a partner. I have created pages devoted to the seeds that I am ordering, planting diagrams and questions I want to discuss with my partner when we have our planning meetings. Soon I will be creating sections for my home gardens with pages on my seed and plant orders as well as my notes as the growing season progresses.

Your garden journal is your most important garden tool. It is a record of your gardening life and a repository of all of your hard-won gardening knowledge.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

      Caren White 

      4 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ

      Thanks for reading DDE!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Why You Should Keep a Garden Journal is an informative hub and is definitely still a useful trick

    • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

      Caren White 

      4 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ

      Thanks so much, Leslie! Enjoy your journal, so glad I could help.

    • profile image

      lesliebyars 

      4 years ago

      I have never thought of keeping a garden journal but, I can see where it could be a great help. It would be good to know how the weather and bugs effect the plants and it would be a great reference to go back to when trying to decide what to plant the next year.

      I pinned it, voted, useful and interesting. Great hub!!

    • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

      Caren White 

      4 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ

      Happy I could help, Rebecca! Thanks for reading.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      My Dad to use to keep one years and years ago! Thanks for the reminder, great idea!

    • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

      Caren White 

      4 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ

      I agree, Wiccan. If I could still manage to write, I would keep notebooks myself.

      Purl, thanks for pinning! Glad you enjoyed it.

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 

      4 years ago from USA

      Love this idea! Pinning now :)

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 years ago

      I'm old fashioned; I still like to use a notebook and pen. It really is a useful tool to have-- especially trying to remember things from year to year. Great hub.

    • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

      Caren White 

      4 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ

      Hi Stephanie! So glad you found this useful. Sounds like all you need is a photo or a diagram. A garden journal isn't just words!

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 

      4 years ago from New Jersey

      I think this is an excellent idea. Every year I run into the same issue of remembering where exactly I planted something new from the previous year or around what time it bloomed. If I just stuck to keeping a brief journal, then I would only need to maintain it after the first year.

    • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

      Caren White 

      4 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ

      thanks for reading, Jackie! Email folders are a great idea! I love anything that I can keep on my computer or in the cloud.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I use to do this years ago and was thinking this year I need to start up again because I have a batch of fertilizer brewing that is suppose to be fantastic and I want to do some major planting and I am getting terrible remembering where I put what and I like most of what I put down to be perennial so I will know what comes up where the next year too.

      I really like email folders to keep info in, they can never get lost. I mean the CIA may wonder what code that is but so what? lol

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)