The Importance of Garden Journaling

Every gardener should keep some kind of log or journal. Being able to look at the past and see what worked and what didn’t is crucial for future success. Learning from mistakes can help you determine if you want to change things up and try again, or can help you decide if it’s going to be too much trouble for you to try growing in your garden. Throughout the years there may be some differences, but overall it’s a good idea to take notes each year so you can see patterns and have an idea as to what to expect in the years to come. Here are a few things you’ll want to mention in your garden journal. 


Dates.  First and last frost dates, planting and sowing dates and sprouting/blooming dates. The dates will be different each year and won’t be exact but it will give you an idea of when you can plant certain seeds. Pairing it with when you planted or sowed seed can help you keep track of if these dates worked well for you or not. Sprouting and blooming dates can help you know how long it takes to germinate and can help you in the future to know when to expect each stage of the growing process. 

Soil Amendments and fertilizers. Gardeners can tend to stick to products that are tried and true, but sometimes if something isn’t working, it’s a good idea to try something else. If you deviate from using soil amendments and fertilizers that you have used in the past, keeping track of what you used and their results can help you determine if you want to keep using them or try something different, or go back to what you’ve used in the past. 

Weather. Keeping notes on the weather in general can be beneficial. While weather patterns will change from year to year, with climate change, the weather patterns you’re used to may be changing more drastically than you remember from years past, so recording these pattern changes might help you be prepared the following year. 

Pests and disease. Knowing what kind of pests and disease you dealt with, as well as the time of year you noticed them, will help you in the future by allowing you to be proactive and hopefully prevent major infestations or infections before they start. 

What worked and what didn’t work. If things grew how you wanted them and you were happy with their performance, mention what you did with those plants so you can repeat it next year. If things didn’t pan out so well, mention what you think happened and what you’d want to try doing differently next year. 

Varieties you liked and didn’t like. Unless you have infinite growing space, a garden can only grow so much. This means that you should really stick to growing varieties that you love vs. ones that were “just okay.” Being able to eliminate varieties you didn’t like or ones that didn’t produce well, can also help create space for new varieties you might like to try instead. 

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