Growing Concerns: Keep a journal to track garden plans, progress

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Since it is well past the half way point of the season, I took some time to write in my garden journal.

I wrote about what looked fantastic and about the changes I would love to make, where there were empty spots and what new plants I want to try.

This way, later this fall and next spring, I already have a game plan of what needs to be done.

I photograph my garden on the 15th of every month. Early in the morning, before the sun is too bright, I walk and take overall shots as well as section shots. I use the fence as a marker. Since each fence panel is 2.4 metres in length, I break up the garden into 2.4 m sections and I journal that way as well. I save the photos in a folder where I can easily find them. Many of these pictures end up as screen savers on my computer during the winter months and as inspiration for ideas for other gardens.

Here are some tips to help keep your journal organized:

• Start by getting a book, or binder to record all these ideas.

• Write the date when you make an entry in your journal.

• Keep a record of the weather for each day or I do each month and how your garden plants react to certain weather. Then, you can look back and remember what type of weather you had from year to year, and how it affected your gardening. It is interesting to see how the weather patterns change, too.

• Note the date when you planted your garden in the spring after the last frost, and when the first frost comes in the fall. These frost dates are an important guide for next spring’s plantings.

• Keep a reminder page for jobs that need to be done and when, such as weeding, watering, and fertilizing.

• Keep a record of what plants grow well in your garden, and what plants did not.

• Keep a record of lessons learned for future gardening help.

• Record any work you did in the garden for that day.

• Write your thoughts about your garden.

• Write about how your garden has grown.

• Keep drawings or diagrams of your garden plans in your journal.

• Keep a record of where you planted seeds and flowers with diagrams or photos. It is a good idea to record plants by botanical name as well as common name, for accurate identification.

• Record the date when seeds sprout, and the plant name of that seed.

• Don’t forget your wish list and where you want to plant these new additions.

There are no rules when it comes to journal writing.

Denise Hodgins holds an ­Ontario diploma in horticulture. ­Growing Concerns is ­produced by ­Parkway Gardens. Send your gardening questions to Home, c/o The ­London Free Press, P.O. Box 2280, 369 York St., ­London, Ont., N6A 4G1, and we’ll try to ­respond in future columns.

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