Return to the Frugal Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
What do you use for a garden journal?

Posted by CheBella z6 NY (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 20, 04 at 15:58

I long ago realized the benefits of keeping a garden journal, but, with my usual obessiveness about having it be "just right", I've been just writing things on calendar pages, backs of seed packet, 3x5 cards, etc. while I've been looking for the "right" one.
Need less to say , my non-method has totally blown the benefits of keeping track of things.
Lee Valley has what seems like a wonderful 10 year journal, with all kinds of reference stuff and charts included. It has 1 page for each day. I like the idea of keeping years of stuff together so as to see aat a glance what was going on on that day for years back. But it seems like a very small space for each entry, AND it cost $40 (or maybe only $30, but still...)
I tried cheap composition books (the ones w/black marbled covers) with the same idea of devotin one page to each day, but, alas the one I bought were so chear that you could see writing through to the other side of the page...so that you could only write on one side of the page. But that was starting to make things rather bulky, even with 6 volumes per year. So, I didn't get far with that one.
I also tried a computer based one, but...jeez, I really like being able to just jot things down anywhere, esp. in the garden itsrlf, which does not have it's own computer.

So...what do you all use for your garden journals? ANy ideas cheerfully received!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I use one of those composition books, the ones made of graph paper.

I haven't had any problem with the transparency of the pages. But in some places, I've taped a stack of fotos, like a flip book of the evolution of particular beds, and the pages are a little flimsy for that. In that case, I simply taped two pages together.

I also tape a half a manila envelope on the inside of the front and back covers, to hold things like seed packets, extra pictures, etc.


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I use the composition books. I don't write as often as I should, so I am still on my first one.


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I just took an old 3-ring binder and put some looseleaf paper in there. I write my notes on the paper. Then I printed out a description of each plant I have in my garden. I attached the tag or seed packet to it, so I know all the pruning, watering, planting, lighting, etc. requirements in case I should forget.

This way, I can add anything I want to my journal. I even punched holes in a nice catalog and stuck it in there for ideas.

It works so far.

Here is a link that might be useful: My webpage


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I don't use one, takes all the fun out of growing things for me.
Becky


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I use a 3-ring binder, too. I filled it with A-Z dividers, and put several blank pages in each letter. I started a fresh page for each item, then keep them in alpha order, ie: peppers, potatoes, etc.

The alpha dividers came with an index or table of contents page. I designated C for compost, B for fav books, W-eather, P-est. I marked these on the contents page so I'd remember where I was keeping those notes. Can't remember at the moment what oddball item got designated Q.

Also added an ordinary pocket folder, 3-hole punched of course. Now I hafta figure out a good way to staple on the empty seed packets w/notes about what I liked/disliked about the variety. so far, those packets reside alongside the current seeds. hrphmph. always looking for improvements!

wildrose


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I've always used a composition book also.


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I bought a journal from the LDS Catalog. They're really pretty and very nice. It's gotten me into the habit of actually keeping a journal ha ha.

I was keeping it in the computer on MS Word, but it's too easy to lose it that way.

Best Wishes
Amino-X


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I do my journal online, when I think about it, or have something interesting to say. I also keep a list of all the plants I have on my computer, with links to pages that have pictures and growing info. One day I'll get it all together and print it out.

Having it on a website insures you won't lose it if your computer crashes. Mine is also backed up onto floppy disk.


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I lucked out. I found a brand new 'Journal' in the trash a few months back. It's about 9" by 11", canvas hard cover and it's green to boot..... It's so cool I haven't had the heart to write in it yet so everything is on pieces of scratch paper...LOL Jim


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I received so many garden journals as gifts that I had to ask people to stop giving them to me. You might try advertising your love of gardening to all your friends and neighbors around gift-giving times--or just tell someone who you know wants to please you exactly what you want, either the journal or a gift certificate to buy one.


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I use a three ring binder and type my notes onto the computer, keeping a running thread. Every week or two all is printed out. The pockets of the binder hold newspaper articles (fragile) and printouts of articles on the web or from Co-op Extension are three-holed and put in a different section. I keep sections for articles, recipes, projects, and also square footage of land under cultivation.

There is one binder for each year, with some carry-over for plans. One of the most useful items is a running page on "lessons learned" which include all sorts of good and bad results. From these, I have actually been able to see some things by being able to observe them from a distance of time .
Usually start each journal at the end of the growing season, in November or December. Then all the plans for that year, seed and plant orders, books I read during the winter and so forth are in that year's volume. Rather than being a waste of time, having a journal has actually enabled me to garden faster and smarter, and has been a tool I can enjoy year 'round.


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I use my email. For example I am keeping notes on coffee grounds as a potting medium. I write notes in an email to myself and the email just sorts it into the "coffee grounds" folder for me.


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

For the last 5 years I have used the pretty bound journals that you get at bookstores. I have also recieved some as gifts which is great. I use a stream of consciousness method in which I write the date and that I bought an Agapanthus, what I paid for it, where I got it and paste the tag on that page. I try to put a picture of the plant also such as from the tag or catalog. I also note what I did in the garden each day when I worked out there such as,"Today I planted the 4 Persicanra that I had rooted in pots into the front bed in front of the Nandina. Roots seemed to be well established. I'm hoping that this will give them time to est. well before the cold of winter sets in. I also picked up lots of Red Buckeye seeds that were on the ground under the plant. " On the day that I tried rooting the Persicaria, I also wrote about that and how I did it. If I hear a hint I like, I also put that in my narrative. I just fill each page and move from one date to another with no real gap. At the end of the journal is the key to letting me retrieve all of this information. I save the last 2-3 pages for an index. I go back through the journal and jot down plants and subjects then put the page that info is on and put it in ABC order.(you do have to number the pages using this method.) For instance, I would have Persicaria and note the page about buying it, rooting it, and planting the rooted pots. Also whether they survived the winter or not and any hints about it I've found, etc. I'll admit that this part is rather tedious. I take photos with a simple camera and put these photos into the journal with tape so remember what parts of the yard look like and what some of the plants looked like. As a side comment, I have found that I really enjoy pulling out a journal and reading about what I was doing last year at the same time, or looking back and reading about spring when fall is winding down.It's also fun to look at the photos of the changes in the yard from year to year. I'm amazed how much I do forget about what I do in the yard and where I put things and why. I use about 3 journals in 2 years. By the way, I'm a retired English teacher!!


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

WOw...lots of good ideas. I'm think I'm like Jim: I want to find the perfect method, and when I do, I'll not want to ruin it, and be back to scribbling on the big wall calendar.
I'm so embarassed. I've been out of touch for a while, got back on tonite, saw a post from birdannelady, and begged her for her journal method. Only to scroll down later to find that she beat me to it! Please don't hit me with a ruler. (only kidding; a gardener could never be so mean.)
I have found for sure that when I don't write things down, thinking that I will surely remember, I am amazed at how soon everything is a blur. I've also found how much I cherish the things I do chronicle.
So...maybe I should start hinting around for that Lee Valley journal. And hope that I'll be able to bring myself to write in it.
I blew $25 on a program that had a seed database of sorts started, only to find it's not flexible enuf, and I *really* hate journalling with a keyboard. Gotta use a pen.

Donna,
Hopelessly neurotic in NY


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

Composition book, been writing in it since about Jan of 2002. I don't write in it every day, mainly when I propagate plants so I will know what date I started them on. Michelle


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I've been using one of those 5 year gardening journals with a two page layout for each week of the year. Each year has a column and the rows are grouped by: Weather, Bulbs, Trees and Shrubs, etc. Not nearly enough room during the summer season. But I enjoy being able to easily compare when plants bloomed in various years, how long the bloom lasted, and such.

Donna, I agree, by pen is somehow much more satisfying.


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

  • Posted by JohnB_ z6 Allentown PA (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 1, 04 at 21:06

We (my wife) uses a commercial 10-year garden journal the previous owner left. It's a one page per day layout with each page divided into 10 sections.

I have to agee with Chris, it is nice to easily compare what has happened in past years on a given day


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I like the one put out by seeds of change called "Gardencylce-a Gardeners day Journal" You can find it on Amazon. It's beautiful to look at and is spiral bound so it lies flat when you write in it. Allows you to track weather conditions too. Theresa.


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

This works great for me and keeps me pretty well organized. I use spiral binder and make entries as needed. Here is something else I use and it works great. I bought one of those plastic storage containers and put in some alphabetical dividers. With this I can keep everything, including annual planting plans, seed packets, copies of articles from magazines, pictures, articles from this and other forums for reference. I carry it out to the gardens with me, and the insides never get wet or dirty. This is great. At the end of the day, it can be used as a dandy foot rest.


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I have a diary. I bought a page to a day diary that has good quality paper. It is hard bound and is the type people use in offices. The pages are about foolscap in size but you might prefer a small one.

You will often find these diaries on special when the year is a few months old. They usually sell them off very cheaply. The day of the week doesn't matter so you can use the date in any year, just note the year at the start of each new entry.

The trick is to get a diary with the better quality paper and a hard cover so it will last for years. Also one page to a day is best.

You'll see them from about February onwards since nonone buys one that late in the year.


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I don't keep a real journal of the ongoings in my garden. I do keep a one-inch binder with looseleaf paper, dividers with pockets, clear sheet protectors, with tabbed sections. My reference material is in there (I printed out the Thompson and Morgan Seed Germination Database, and punched holes in each page, then stuck each paper in a protective sheet), labels from special plants, stamps from traders, etc... I make notes for each growing season as to what did well, and what did not, things I'd like to change, ideas from catalogs that I'd like to incorporate, etc... When my seed catalogs arrive in the mail, I sit with my garden binder and go through my ideas to plan how I will approach the garden in spring. I'm also working on a different writing project, which I keep in this garden binder. I do like having everything in hardcopy in one book. It's easier for me to sit at a table or in a comfy chair with a pencil to plan ideas, rather than at a computer typing. The other book that is a must for me in planning (thought I'd mention it) is the Sunset Garden book with plant names and descriptions. Invaluable.
Trish :)


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

One way to help get your info into the journal, take a tape recorder out in the garden with you. Be sure and cover with a ziploc bag or something you can see through to keep it clean and dry. Make your notes and be sure to speak clearly and slowly! I have tried to decipher some of my notes and have no idea what I was talking about. It's still fun what ever you use.

plantbug


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I keep mine online, which I really like because I can just scan seed packets and plant tags, and keep them online. For me, this is the easiest thing. I use geocities, because it's free, and they have free software that makes posting a breeze. (The only drawback to geocities is that if "too many" people view your site, it will shut down for the day. Normally, I'm the only one who looks at the site, however...unless I'm doing seed swapping!) Here it is: www.geocities.com/kristinasgarden

Kristina


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

Hey ya'll,
I guess I'll put my 2 cents in. I started keeping a journal a few years back. I purchased a 5x7 sprial journal from the dollar store and jotted down notes, drew pictures, diagrams of the garden beds and glued pictures of the garden and house. Each year I start a new journal. I do go back from time to time and look through the journals, especially looking over the photos of how the house and gardens have changed over the past 25 years. If you want to keep several years together I would buy a large three ring binder, include dividers for each year, each month, notebook paper to write on, graph paper to draw on, pocket folders for magazine articles, seed packs and the like, a one page calendar of each month to keep track of weather conditions,
card stock to glue or tape photos onto and anything else you may need to keep track of your garden and garden related activities. I like the small journal because I can bring it out into the garden with me and jot things down during breaks or if I'm just out there watching the grandkids play.
Any way you decide it's a good thing to do. Good luck with your garden and journal.

Granny Brenda
Harvey, LA


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I just started a garden blog at www.blogger.com. It's free and it's easy for me to post pictures to so I can see how things develop (without even having to pay to get pictures developed). Also it archives things by month so next year when I want to know what happened this February I can just click on a link and find out all about it. I print it out every so often (just in case)and keep it in a three-ring binder along with maps of my yard, photocopies of things that I want for my "dream garden" from books I check out at the library, and a seed starting calendar.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Bit Of Earth


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I put mine into my calendar program on my Mac -- then every year it tells me what I did or what was in bloom. I can see when I started my seeds, when I pruned the roses, and so on, and then schedule myself for this year.

It is really interesting. This year, for instance, my daffodils started blooming in January, a full three weeks earlier than they did last year. So I know that something is up with the weather!

What I like about it is that I have it set up to launch the calendar when I start the computer, so I see it no matter what. I think for a procrastenator like me it is the only way.


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

For better quality paper, I use a travel journal. There are travel journals with plant motifs on the outside. Also, when I shop for journals I look in the "adult" section of the stores. When I find something I like, I then shop in the "kid's" section. The journals are the same quality, but the colors are brighter and the prices are cheaper.

Rhoda


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

It's odd that I don't see anyone mentioning Hortiplex. I am trying to make my Hortiplex journal useful not only for others but want to keep adding notes so that I know when my plants bloom and so on. I'm far from "being there" but I'm trying!


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

All I use are index cards. Each time a plant a new plant/seed, I make a new card. Various information such as common/bio name, information about the plant, when I planted/sowed and a small picture...either from a catalog or printed off the 'net glued to the card. Alphabetized by common name in an index card box. The end. :)


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I just went berzerko at WM. Came away with:

Binder with a big-honkin' flower
Matching folder with big honkin' flower
Journal with Pink pages and big ol' hearts on the front
Pens in every color of the rainbow
Sharpie Markers in Pastel for making garden plans
Mechanical Pencils with flowers all over them
Post-It lined note pads in neon colors
A pink day planner.

Flylady control journal, eat my garden-journal dust!


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I've been using square foot gardening and MS Excel as a journal. Each year starts with its own work book containing separate sheets for:

The crop rotation scheme (overall and by bed location).

The crops sown (when, where, how many), harvested (when, where, how many) and overall conclusions (successes, failures, how to do better next year).

A map of each raised bed with locations of each crop and records for the additions of compost, fertilzer, cloches etcetera.

The seed repository - type of veg, variety, date purchased, germination rate at last sowing, approximate number of seeds left and expected date of expiration.

Weather records - minimum and maximum temperatures.

As the year progresses copies of the workbook are archived with a date stamp in the file name to make it easy for me to compare similar time periods between years. Though it takes some dedication to keep up to date its been a wonderful tool for planning and increasing the productivity of our garden. Mainly by reminding me what works, what doesn't and what I should be preparing for next.

SH


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I read this post, then had to go take pictures of my journal to share =) I haven't updated the journal in a while, but I'm getting around to it!
I'm also thinking of doing an online journal, someday, when I win the lotto and have more time on my hands =)

GW

Here is a link that might be useful: pics of my journal


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I use a spiral bound notebook and "My Garden Journal" software. I like the software beacuse it has several seperate sections - seeds, plants, weather photos, etc. In the spring I can print out my current seed list and make notes on when I started them and if they sprouted. The water log can be downloaded to Excel so I can get an idea of temp and rain trends.
I keep track of daily activities in the notebook.
That 10 year garden journal does sounds pretty groovy....
Barb


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

Dave's Garden is great (www.davesgarden.com) - you can set up your own journal and diary for free. The diary is more informal, and you can add pictures to it. The journal is much more structured - but great for keeping track of all your plants! The watchdog area of the site is also a big help in choosing companies to mail order from.


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

My friend had the best idea! She cuts and glues sheets of recycle paper from her printer at work to pages of old gardening magazines. She uses self-stick wallpaper to make the outside cover, and VOILA! A lovely garden journal that cost you nothing but the glue, and is quite lovely!


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I use A Gardener's Journal, it's designed for a Lifetime of recording. This journal provides flexibilty, pages can be added and there is plenty of space to put your notes on the different charts & forms.

Here is a link that might be useful: A Gardener's Journal


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I use a large artists sketch pad. It has nice heavy grade paper, good for writing, sketches of ideas for plans, pasting illustrations and pics, etc. I am on my third one because I like to save a lot of stuff. Cheryl


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I was given a wonderful three ring binder journal that I would have been too conservative to buy for myself but it was the most wonderful gift! I now write up what I do, buy and observe once or twice a week on "Word". When the "Word" document gets four pages long I print it, three hole punch, and put it in my binder(I use reinforcer circles on the holes so it will last a long time). While it was still too cold to work outside I sat with many gardening catalogs and cut out pictures of what I have in my garden. Used rubber cement to glue them onto pages that were three hole punched. Added those to the binder. Also added a section called "disappointing plants", adding pictures and the reason those plants didn't work for me. I keep tags from plants in a seperate binder that has plastic photo pages that make it easy to slide the tags in and then out if I want to reread the information. I only started this in Feb. so I haven't had a year of it yet but I imagine it will be enlightening to look at it next spring and make comparisons. I am hoping it will make me a better gardener over time.
Tina


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

My garden journal is made from the largest 3-ring binder I can find. I have more details of what I include in my journal on my website. There are also links to printable pages, etc. for anyone wishing to make their own journal.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Journal


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

Garden witch, I love your journal!
I am just not good at keeping track. Except for the garden club but that is in files in my file cabinet and its just plans of annuals mostly - I don't keep track of our public perennial gardens. Probably should!
I also like the Wallpapered and recycled paperd garden magazine. Very creative.
My only usggestion for binders, which I think is what I will try, is to use page protectors on the completed pages, or at least ones with lots of stuff on the pages. kp


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I just scored a hardcover copy of John Ashton's Five Year Gardening Journal at Amazon.com. Usually I check z-shops and half.com for that sort of thing. Total on this item was U$ 8.99. Previously I used daybooks I received as presents.

Here is a link that might be useful: Crafting a Life in Zone 6


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I've done a variety of notebooks over the years, but its been very disorganized and I seem to lose the one piece of critical information I always want to put my hands on. Recently I started doing it online at a site called the Green Thumb Journal (www.greenthumbjournal.com). Its free and helps keep me much more organized than my old notebooks. I can keep detailed observations and notes about my gardening and attach pictures to share with others and to help me remember things later. All in all I've been very happy with it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Green Thumb Journal


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I use a spiral bound notebook, with a pen attached with a length of cord.

The information is written in my own code/shorthand, along with planting maps of individual beds (garden is a collection of raised beds). The date goes left of the margin. I record any gardening activity I may wish to remember, what is planted where, rainfall, unusual weather trends, and nature observations of interest (e.g., "first Japanese beetles arrive.")

I do a "note to self" section each year, which I keep on the last pages of the notebook. Here I record action points that I want to remember next season, e.g., grow more or less of this or that, this variety was terrible and that variety was spectacular, start the eggplants sooner, etc. I find it very helpful to distill these points out from the main narrative pages and record them separately as the season progresses and while I am thinking of them - then I have the "lessons" of that season compiled in a neat list, without having to wade through the main pages searching for them.

In my experience my note taking is much more reliable and complete if the notebook is always in a special spot in the garden (once we start growing outside, of course). Currently that means my notebook lives in the glove box of my golf cart, since I always take the golf cart to the garden (being far from the house). In gardens past it has meant leaving it in a special spot in the garden shed, or in one garden with no building, installing a mailbox in the garden to keep the journal in.


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I keep my gardening notes in Microsoft Word, my garden layout, planting and harvest data in Excel spreatsheets. I have it set to auto backup on a Seagate external hard drive. Why kill a tree using paper when I already have these tools! :-)


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

I post photos to my garden website, with dates, and so keep track of what blooms when, when plants emerge from dormancy, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: garden


 o
RE: What do you use for a garden journal?

  • Posted by ppod 6 SE NY (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 21, 09 at 23:30

I use a 99 cents lined composition book. Inexpensive paper is less intimidating, and I get more done on cheep paper.

I make quick drawings of the planting beds, add a North-South arrrow, then note where I plant what, date, and that's it.

Sometimes I count the number of seeds planted, and later note the number that germinated + date.

Very useful for reference are seed/plant orders and invoices. Must remember to note which varieties were sold out and the varieties they sent instead.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Frugal Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here