I was just wondering how many people went to the bother of recording things that happened in their garden, what is worth recording and how you record it.
I'm going to start my own garden journal but I figure I could get some ideas on the what and how from you all.
I've considered paper but I think a computer-based journal might be more useful. I found a really neat piece of software for ubuntu (rednotebook) that would allow me to tag my notes and search back through them (find all the days where I wrote something about "amaranth" or "rain" for example).
I think this is pretty important in permaculture especially because the garden is an evolving system and you want to track the changes over the years to see how you're progressing.
I think keeping a journal is an important tool. A typical food forest will have hundreds of plant species growing, many naturally, and many introduced. Since the development will take years, even a good memory will not remember all of the nuances.
Amongst the many things to record, weather is important. A Min/Max thermometer is handy. Each morning you can record the high & low from the previous day in your zone 1. Even if you only get to zone 4 once per month during the winter months, you can still record the high/low for that period. While it might not prove the best place to put your xyz tree, it should show the best place NOT to plant the tree if you have several of these thermometers scattered throughout your property. I have seen rain gauges in the $2 range. While not up to NWS standards, they will show patterns in various parts of your property. Having a multi-year record of past weather allows you to more accuratly determine which plants may need irrigation during any given rain pattern. If nothing else, it gives you a reason to get out of the house on a crappy day.
I mostly keep records for annuals: plant date, lcoation, conditions (transplant, direct seed, broadcast seed), and maybe spacing. Then I recap how it did and why - like "bolted mid-July", "got sick of too many peas", killed by early frost, heavy cabbage maggot damage, outcompeted weeds....
Mostly this is my feedback for what works where and what doesn't -- the same you get from observation, but it's harder to remember what didn't survive when you have 50 things going
im not keeping a journal persay, but do have a photo journal of sorts of it,those trending the garden now have done a great job of photographing the progress ,successes and failures. as well as a Blog ..well der, i guess we ARE keeping a journal!
made a facebook page for our garden which we turning into a garden-share/cooperative
you can see it at [size=12pt]www.facebook.com/BOGS11510 [/size] i miss my garden b een in Bolivia since may and wont return til august 5th...few weeks away!
when i get home i have a TON of catching up to do.. i need to put in the rainwater-catchment watering system (20 55gal.drums) 2 hardshell ponds, lots more planting and soil block making/seedstarting,rebuild the grape/kiwi pergola and so much more...
im a very visual person and find having the pictures SO helpful.. especially now when i'm so far away from home for so long,,,really helps with the homesickness blues
i have all kinds of paper journals as well as a computer blog/journal, but much prefer my paper journals as I can grab them and use them wherever.
when there are back to school sales I buy a lot of spiral bound notebooks, I get dozens of the 10c ones and then a few of the larger ones..use the smaller ones for some list type journals, like lists of things I want to propagate with cuttings, to do lists, etc..and the larger ones for journals..and I have tons of journals.
my favorite types of journals are when I take a few pages for each of the types of plants growing on my property and list all the guild information, needs, etc..and some photos, if I have them available..where they are, shade or sun, when they bloom, produce, etc..any problems I've had with them, etc.
I also have dream journals where I glue pages torn out of magazines or ads of things that I would like to do into the small spiral noteboooks, and then I go back and reread them often, tearing out and throwing away any of the ones that no longer interest me
I have sketch journals ..similar to dream journals where i have drawings of ideas.
i have garden map journals..where I draw areas of the property on pages in the jojurnal and write info about what is there or what I plan..
I have weekly journals..daily journals..weather journals..etc..even have interior design journals (as I am an interior designer) and craft journals, sewing journals..etc.
Bloom where you are planted.
Thanks all. I'll definitely record weather. I think the extremes (max and min temperatures) are probably the most important ones to note as well as the amount of rainfall.
For future reference: After some messing around with various blog services, journal programs and online garden journals, I settled on Google Calendar. I'll just write a description of my observations and actions for the day and keep it on there.
The most important thing, if you're bothering to do it on a computer, is a good search function so you can find what you wrote years later. Google Calendar has that and can also be edited by several people which is important for me because I am away for nine months of the year.
Had I been the only person keeping the journal, then I would have used RedNoteBook (http://rednotebook.sourceforge.net/). It has a amazing search function and is simply very user-friendly.