Keeping a Garden Journal
Keeping a garden journal, or records of any kind, is not my favorite thing in the world. I just want to get things done and not worry about all the logistics. Maybe it’s because I am a nurse and a huge part of nursing is documenting and keeping records; it seems like half of the duties in nursing is writing something down that we just did. However, record keeping is vital to avoid making the same mistake twice. Keeping a garden journal…or better yet…keeping a homesteading journal could end up saving time and money (as if these two things are separate entities). A homestead journal may very well keep you from making the same old mistake year after year after year.
Here is an older Back to the Homestead video from 2012. If you’d like, fast-forward to time mark 9:53 to see the section related to this free garden journal.
If you are anything like me, knowing when to plant is a guessing game. If we plant too soon, the last frost gets us. If we plant too late, our harvest comes in late and the first frost give us. Keeping a simple garden record will help us remember what mistakes we made during seasons past. And mistakes are not all the garden journal will help us avoid. What about quantity of garden produce produced? Maybe we were short supply in our purple hull peas but still had tons of jars of stewed tomatoes from last years’ garden still uneaten when the tomato harvest form this year’s garden begins to come in. What if we planted 100′ of purple hull peas, grew them, picked them, hulled them and preserved them and by New Years, we had eaten all that we grew? What if we had a hunkerin’ for some purple hull peas and corn bread in April? A garden journal could remind us next year to increase our planting and subsequently our harvest.
Keeping a homestead / garden / planting journal is as important as keeping a canning cookbook or maintenance record on an automobile. With a project as extensive as homesteading, a journal is vital because of the trial-and-error nature of the season’s journey and most importantly, the time it take to make that journey. A mistake one year requires the passing of a collection of seasons before the attempt can be tried again. Remembering all the details of running a homestead garden such as scheduling, growing, planting, and harvesting requires organizing and keeping a log of the season’s activities and when they were performed.
Back when we made the video above we were busy on the homestead. The chickens were pinned up and they told us exactly what they thought of that arrangement (in chicken talk). We had pulled some row and got our potatoes in the ground. We “woke up” the yard, cut back the raspberries, sifted compost, fixed water lines, weeded, refreshed, fertilized and got a red neck to boot!
I have put together a free PDF garden journal that you can use in and easy-to-download-and-print PDF format. Download it…no strings attached. Right-click and save as or just ‘click it’ to open in your browser: backtothehomestead.com/homestead_garden_journal.pdf
I hope this garden journal is helpful. Let me know what you think.
If you are looking for a bit more detail in your garden journal / diary / log / book, explore some of these titles from Amazon.com:
Keep on growing and remember: Don’t worry too much about it. Just do all you can do and let the rough end drag.