I almost had this whole 5 part series all typed up and ready to go last week, when I lost it all. It was a nasty combination of my stupidity and a IT guy.
So earlier this week I buckled down to pick up the pieces and start again. I was then that I realized all the stuff I forgot to add the last time: what kind of soil to use in your pots, what do those numbers mean on the fertilizer bag, hardiness zones, germination, starting seeds. . . It goes on and on.
It was also around that same time that I realized why people are so intimidated by gardening and the information overload that most people don’t even start.
Then I got to think the time to start a garden is NOW (or last week or month, depending on where you live). So if you are starting from scratch, well, sorry I should have gotten on this train earlier.
If you start slowly planning now, piece by bite sized piece, by the time your growing season starts, wherever you may live, you will have the knowledge and the confidence to Get Your Grow On.
Since I have gone blathering on for quite a bit here I am going to keep this part short.
Start a Garden Journal
Yup, a journal. Stay with me here.
Garden journals don’t have to be complicated, and they are not like the journal that you kept under your bed in junior high.
Most start out with a little bit about what you did in garden that day, maybe along with a few weather observations. Many as they become more advance gardeners and add much more information, writing down everything from name pronunciations to bloom times.
And as you become a more advanced gardener you will thank yourself for having these records, you will know what time to start your pepper seeds indoors and that the fancy lettuce you got from the seed catalog last year did crappy so you should try something new this year.
How to get Started
The format is completely up to you. They can range from a plain college-ruled notebook to a fancy bound journal. They even have beautiful specialty made garden journals. Others start an online journal, like a blog, and I came across Smart Gardener, which has areas to sketch out your planting game plan, to do lists, and a tracking journal.
What to include
Really you can put anything your little heart desires but here is a list to get you started:
- planting and transplanting dates for seeds and plants
- where your placed our plant and seed orders and how much they cost
- weather info: temps, frost dates, precipitation
- germination dates
- general info on how the plant is doing
- date and amounts of harvest
- fertilizer or chemicals (if any) applied to plants and when
- observations on what is working and what is not working.
Since my garden is small this year, my journal is in a steno book. Diary-style I write down what I did in the garden that day, along with some weather information.