Flippant as this may sound, I don't make time to keep a garden journal. I have enough to do in my day-to-day without that. Also, it wouldn't be my style to commit to paper what I have done in the garden. My digital camera is always at my side. I take loads of pictures in the garden on a regular basis and organize them by date. When I want to remember something, I'll go back to the dates in question and see if it shows up anywhere. That only happens once ayear so even if I waste a whole 5 minutes on the search, it's worth it.
I do keep a journal of sorts, but it's more trying to plan ahead than anything else. Writing down thoughts of what I'd like to do or a neat idea I've seen someone else do...before the thought leaves my brain for good! I still use good old pen and paper becuase it's portable to the garden. One day I'll have a laptop. =^)
I keep a yearly journal of what needs to be done in and out of the house and most things are more important than my garden. Each year comes a new journal and I write when I'm supposed to do this or that. I sometimes go thru the back journals where I've kept my notes to check what I have done and how it turned out but this applies to everything in our lives. I can't obcess about little thing - don't have the time or inclination.
I said no, but it's one of the things I want to start this year. Since I bought a home with a pretty good start on a garden, I have a lot of identification to do. Like Sylvain, I take a lot of pictures, so I can start to catalog the yard with them.
I voted for paper journal/diary. I've experimented with different programs/software packages for garden journalling, including self-written programs, but I always end up finding it inconvenient to have to start the computer for something that would involve a 5 second search in a paper journal. LOL Fine example of an IT professional I make :-) I always have subscribed to the theory that just because something can be done doesn't mean that it should - or would be better if it was done.
I also have to admit that there is something I find inherently satisfying about holding an actual book in my hands. Right now I have a brand new 10 year Gardener's Diary/Journal that I bought for myself for Christmas, a binder with seed lists and seed sowing plans that are all cross-referenced to the journal, and a very large landscape diagram/building plan drawn to scale that receives regular updates and has addendum drawings for greater detail of individual features.
I used to keep a book garden journal sporadically and a computer one even more sporadically. Now that DG has added the diary, I am doing quite a lot more diary keeping on-line and am really enjoying it. I really being able to look up what the dates are of various plant blooms and for that matter, I like to record when I planted certain plants.
And I always know where my computer is, but I can't always find my paper journal or the file where I last wrote gardening info on my own hard drive.
My 'real journal' comes through the lens of my camera, and consequently finds a place into my DG Journal, or the Plant Files @DG. I feel this is an invaluable resource since I can compare results from year to year, AND, I can identify cultivars by checking out others' entries as they are posted. Also I keep the Fun Random Image near the top of my home page for daily review. So this is an important part of DG for me personally, and I find other DG'er pictures very rewarding & priceless.
I have 3 notebooks that I use for notes and references. Everyone tells me to put them on line, but these are like GOLD to me and I like them at my fingertips. One is pocket sized and is a reminder-reference guide on how to open and close all the garden beds and plants in my yard. The other one is 8X11 and has diagrams of the beds and shows what plants are where which is helpful with bi-ennials and in the event I lost plant over the winter -- and in the rare few instances where some volunteers have popped up. I also have another 8X11 and I keep random notes and dates in there.
I am now a devoted fan of both the DG journal and Diary but I still cling to my old paper trail for some things. I record all the plants and seeds that I have on order or have purchased in DG Journal. I then follow their journey in my garden via both location and by vendor. This means that I have to have two Journals, one by Plant type arranged by Vendor and a second by Bed location. I wish there was a way to do both together. I take general garden pictures constantly and file them via date in Picasa as well as portraits of particular plants which I then add as a thumbnail picture in my DG journal. By keeping a Journal via beds, I can see a picture of what is already planted in a particular bed and as I wish to add plants, I can see what is mostly likely going to be a good addition to that bed. I can also print out just information about a particular bed and take it outside for reference while working on a bed. This is hugely helpful. I also keep a old fashion notebook in which I file snail mail and paper copies of all email orders and correspondence from vendors as well as any interesting information that I find on the Internet or in magazines. Plus all my little notes and random lists which I copy out of my garden books. I clip and paste pictures of plants ordered from catalogs also in my notebook as well as photo's of garden's and plants that I admire. But mostly now I down load pictures of new plants directly from the vendors website into my DG journal. I delete the vendors pictures when I have pictures of my own to replace them (mine being more realistic and true). My Diary is being used to keep track of any information that I find in the various forums worth referencing later from members. A true gold mine! I also keep track of Coop orders and payment here, so I don't have to spend time searching for the information in those long threads. I also make list of my garden's needs both the 'to do's' and the 'to nots'. And ,of course, my 'dear diary' desires for my secret garden. Patti
I voted for the DG Journal/Diary, but would have voted "Other", had that been an option. I generally use my garden notebook to jot things down as I do them, whether seeding, transplanting-whatever.
Somethings, I keep track of pictorially, too-and file them by dates in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter folders-with garden bed sub folders.
I keep this up through fall clean up, then put it in the computer in the winter, when I'm itching to do something garden related.
I'm absent from DG most of summer, except for referencing certain things(actually, LOTS of things! LOL). Just can't stand to tear myself away from outdoors, then.
The handy paper notebook is a great place to take running notes of how things are behaving, and things I want to change in the coming years. If I waited until winter to write them down, I would probably forget them(heck, if I waited till later that DAY, I would probably forget all about them. sigh)
OH Yes! As I was saying, when I update Diary on DG in the winter, I can add the appropriate pics with the text, as I go along. Since this was my first winter withDG, I'm just getting a good start on that, but will get more involved as I go along, but I have kept a running paper garden journal, for the last 25 years or so.
I agree with Sylvain. I don't keep a journal. I don't even try because I know I wouldn't keep it up and I can't see that the returns on it would be worth the time spent. I also have an incredible memory (most of the time). I have never kept a journal or diary of any sort and I don't see the point of it.
I love my paper journal, but I need something more...like a map! I hate digging into some daffodils I forgot were there, anyone know of a good online place where I can build and change a map of my garden?
I sorta kinda do. When I think about it. If I think about it. I do take lots of pictures, and that is my main point of reference. If something I consider really noteworthy happens, something I want to be sure and remember, I jot it down on the calendar. I save all of my calendars from the past. They are my diary/journal/birthday reminder/etc... I wish I kept a journal, but I don't think it's going to happen.
I guess choice three best suits me. I don't keep a paper journal, but I do keep a detailed schedule on a calendar set up near the potting table and also keep a detailed photo journal like many others here have stated.
I have been doing 'exotic plant' gardening for over 10 years now, and have thousands of plants... I quickly found that if I didn't keep a journal, I soon lost the ability to recall what all the plants names were... on top of that, I had no idea when/where I got some of them, so I couldn't provide anyone else with useful information about the plants, as 95% of the plants I grow are considered 'odd' or rare, and certainly not the type of plant you would normally find in someone's garden. Knowing exactly how long I've had each plant, and where I got it from became valuable information for others, as well as myself. Additionally, this journal allows me to keep photographic records of each plant, which is invaluable... I am constantly surprised by how much some plant has changed, even though my personal recollection is that plant looks exactly like it did the day I got it. This, too, is useful information to others as well as myself. And since a large portion of the plants I have have rarely or never been grown in the environment similar to mine, I can feel like I am contributing something to the cultivational data on these plants for the rest of the world (boy does that sound impressive!)... or least for someone who has a back yard like mine. I also, embarrassingly, keep a 'dead plants' section as I hope to learn from my mistakes... or at least remember them and maybe avoid that plant in the future.
It's not my style to keep a journal...keep things in my head...like I planted lettuce and onions on April 1st in '54...the watermelon seeds planted on June 14th came up like gangbusters, but were a little too late to finish up that year...
I voted NO, but keeping a journal is on my To Do list. I will probably be most likely to to jot down notes in a planner that I already use for day to day life, but I've also just started looking at the DG journal, and I have a new software program that includes a garden planner. I may get there yet.
Up until recently I didn't need a journal, but now that I'm growing a lot more from seed I have it on my To-Do list, so I I voted No. I've toyed with using my computer for it but I think I prefer pen and paper. I like to sit out in the garage at my work/potting bench and read seed catalogues & make notes on a whiteboard I have out there. If anyone can recommend a good Journal I'd be really appreciative.
I start a journal entry each Spring. It usually begins around the time I start my seeds and lists them all. Then I move on to the vegetable garden beds and I carefully diagram them and plan out what's going where for the year. After that, I spend so much time "doing" that I never get back to writing it down - except in my mind while I'm on my knees in the garden. That's about it until next year which I ALWAYS know will be different.
Since my gardening career started last April '06, I have been writing a story about my experiences in learning gardening. This gives me a record of my mistakes as well as my sucesses. Hey! I may even try to get it published. Who knows?
In fact, I am experimenting with growing tomatoes in our house here in Michigan, and I already have 9 beautiful tomato plants near ready to transplant into LARGE pots.
Being the "egotist" that I am, I will proudly toot-my-horn in Dave's Garden at my sucess or... Dave's Garden may not hear a word of my failures.
Actually... Dave's Garden will also hear of those failures should they occur just in case someone else may have ideas to improve my efforts.
Thanks for reading.
i started a garden diary last year because i tried a few experiments and i wanted to put pictures and words together to show what was happening. i really enjoyed doing it and i will again do it this season.
I LOVE the DG journal. I use it regularly to track all manner of things in my garden. I don't know how I lived without it. Well, actually, I do know. Before I started my DG journal I would order new plants in winter, then reorder some of them a few more times from other vendors every time I noticed that they were not in my garden yet. If the vendor placed the item on B/O I would end up repeating the whole process again. If I received and planted the item but it failed to bloom for a year or so, upon noticing that I STILL did not have the desired plant in my garden, I'd start the ordering/reordering process all over again. As a result, I ended up with multiple copies of things for which I only planned to buy 1. Then, after a few years I'd markers would fade or get buried and I'd forget what was planted where.
Now that I've been using the DG journal I have an excellent record of what I have, where I bought it, and where it is located along with it's bloom record, photos, and any other pertinent info.
I swear by the journal. It is my 2nd favorite DG feature. (For those who haven't started one yet, I took my wireless laptop out into the garden in late summer and sat on my garden hopper (scooter) to take inventory and create the initial records.)
I checked that I use Dave's because I do have a fair amount of info in my journal here. however, I have a very complete garden and plant record in several computer programs that I use at home.
My plant inventory is kept in Garden Organizer Deluxe from PrimaSoft. Here's a page from what I have set up for seed tracking. Every entry is linked to pictures I have taken, except for the seeds which have a pic of what the seeds have the potential to become LOL
I also have garden planning software, 3D Home Architect Design Suite 6 (there are newer versions out now), which has a landscape designer. I use it to design and then, as I actually do planting, I update so I wind up with a visual record.
I have a lot of stuff on paper, now I use DG if someone gives me a tip that i will not remember where to find it, later and i want to find it for sure, some time, then I will jot it down on my diary. I will use it more though, I am a newbie since June.
I checked that I use a paper journal or diary. . . hoping to sound organized. But what I actually do is keep a giant three-ring binder for each year, into which I file all the receipts for plants that I order/buy, plus any growing instructions that come, plus printouts of interesting threads from DG, plus my amateurish drawings of my garden beds and their contents, plus some annotations of what did well, and where. . . every few weeks I try to organize all the paperwork into the relevant sections. It's a giant baggy monster of a notebook. I KNOW I could do better. You people are so impressive! Oh yes; I take lots of pictures and keep them in my iPhoto archives (and sometimes put them on my webpage.) And then in December I had a hard-drive meltdown, and lost a few months of photos, so that taught ME about backing up. I still feel bad that I lost my ripe mater pictures.
I find a paper journal helpful from many perspectives. My local Master Gardener group has published a beautiful journal, which can be used as a perpetual journal (until you fill it up!). But what I think helps me the most is taping in the seed envelopes, tags that come on new plants, receipts from my on line gardening purchases, so I have a record to reference when I am frantically trying to recall where I bought what and when. It has helped countless times.
Always good intentions but always forget that I want to or have one to start. Been starting one for two years now...2005 got as far as Jan ordered seeds and 2006 got as far as February received seeds ordered and March planted seeds in flats...Thats as far as its ever gotten but I start with good intentions
I keep a paper diary of daily weather conditions (min/max temperatures, sun vs. cloud, type of precip) and I also record what I have done in the garden (digging, weeding, planting, etc.). But my most useful records are the index cards I keep for each plant, listing botanical name, common name, type of plant, description of leaves and flowers, where and when I bought it or sowed it, where and when I planted it, and the dates it blooms each year. I must confess that I have a large collection of index cards marked "died"!
I'm having a lot of fun writing random garden thoughts and essays in the DG journal. Helps me stay focussed and helps me recall what I've learned and achieved since I got hooked on gardening. Very satisfying.
I voted no and really am surprised that as I write this 50% said they don't either. I really thought I was going to be in minority. I acually feel bad that I don't and often times have regretted it. I really want to keep one, but don't have the decipline.
I share a home with one of my daughters and her family. They take care of the grass and I take care of everything else. When we bought this house almost eight years ago, I began renovating the couple of azalea/dogwood beds that were here and adding more, including a medium-sized cottage garden just off the deck where my daughter can see it from her kitchen windows. We now have ten beds of perennials from the front all the way to the back of our very large yard.
The reason I started keeping track of things is that I was the only person in the family that knew what was where and how to care for it. I have a large three-ring binder just entitled "The Gardens". I have plants listed alphabetically, including their location, where they came from, how to feed and trim, other basic information that may seem appropriate to that plant. I leave room for pictures and have included plant tags, seed packet pictures and grower tips. Eventually I take out information on plants/seeds that did not do well, but leave that in for a couple of years, just so I don't forget what I don't want to try again. I did draw some garden maps when I started, but they were so amateurish and I was moving things around as I learned, so I gave up the mapping. I started taking pictures the day we rototilled the "big" bed, and now I have a great digital camera to make that part easier--and better.
I am able to do less now because of extensive back surgeries over the last year, but over the last few years my family has become much more knowledgeable. I don't know if they will ever really use the big binder the way it's intended, but we have it for a back-up if nothing else. It is sitting here by my desk waiting to be updated for this last year, poor thing. It does keep calling my name though.
I started my DG journal as something of an experiment. At the time, I did not understand why anyone wanted/needed a garden journal. I really thought that it would be a waste of time and that I would soon drop the whole project. Was I ever wrong. Using the journal - even for some of my plants - quickly made it clear to me how much I really DID need a journal all along. I also thought that it would take up too much of my valueable time, but I have found that I enjoy working with it in the evenings and especially in winter - it has become my virtual garden in winter which is when I catch up on a lot of entries, photos, etc.
As I mentioned above, I took the laptop into the garden to create the initial inventory. Now, when I place orders online, I save the web page as a text file and use it to add entries for the new plants. When I buy things locally I pull the tags off and put them on the desk for easy entry.
I also use the DG diary. My diary is still in the experimental stage. I use it for various thoughts, notes, ideas, whatever - anything I feel a need to record that doesn't fit into the journal.
I love keeping track of my garden. It helps me to do 'gardeney' things when I can't be in out the garden.
I recently created a software journal using the newest version of Microsoft Access (2007). It lets me add pictures and descriptions by date for each of my plants. I also track 'plant care' to help me remember key things about taking care of my plants and favorite web links.
It was fun to develop and it's been fun to use. I like having the details in there, knowing that I can create reports and screens to view the data any number of ways in the future.
Notebooks. I started with one. Wrote down the plant, latin name, where it's planted and where we dug it up at because those were my first flowers. Then I made a second one called ''Quickfind.'' It just has the name and page number. Third is called ''Blooming By The Month.'' I keep track of the bloom and bed it's in. I just made a spread sheet so I can look things up when I'm here.
Edited to add, I've been drawing the house and yard to scale since 1985, so it's fun to see the changes.( I'm not an artist, but I can tell what the flower I've drawn is. :))
I checked paper-Reading how you all keep your diaries though I guess I keep records all kinds of ways, photos
computer and handwritten. I started a "blue print" to scale when we first moved here 9yrs. now and i try and update it in the winter months. I'll use my photos to do that. One day I will get brave and add a Diary here on DG, I looked at some of the Journals and to be honost shuddered at the thought of trying to figure it out.(lol) The Diary looks simple enough...One day/this year!
I have a combination paper and electronic journal. The electronic one is really just a plant database of plants I have grown and plants I have killed ;-) It is Graden Organizer Delux by http://www.primasoft.com/ Lets you add photos, and all sorts of stuff and is customizable.
My paper one is created in leather journals that are filled with graph paper. It comes in red and black (they don't offer the blue one any more :-( I started out keeping 3 years in 3 volumes - each volume holding 4 months (vol one is Mar-Apr-May-Jun, vol two is Jul-Aug-Sept-Oct, three is Nov-Dec-Jan-Feb). The way I had them divided is roughly corresponding to the growing season - of where I USED to live. With each month covering 3 years of that month - a section for weather, planted, harvest/bloomed and journal. They have them at Barns and Noble, but lately I have not been able to find any. I bought several right after Christmas. I like being able to see what I did "last year" and the year before. Also, I put notes "into the future" - such as, when I opened my journal to Dec this year, there was a big, giant note to NOT START TOMATOES (I used to live in z9, and Dec was an appropriate time to start toms... but not here in z6b!)
Now that I live in a rural area, the garden journal is expanding to include farming activities and livestock... I will be expanding to 4 books per year with 3 months in each... although I am considering using 12 books a year and having more than 3 years worth of history... especially if they discontinue the whole series of books...
Things I put in my paper journal:
* maps/layouts of various beds
* planting dates
* to do lists
* general comments about everything
* watering notes
* plant markers with instructions that came with plants
* small calendars cut out from various sources so that each month has a calendar page (usually about 2" sq or less) for each year
* empty seed packets or scanned copies of seed packets - especially the backs that have instructions
* shipping seasons for various vendors for seeds, plants, day-old chicks, etc.
* animal breeding, gestation and birthing time tables
* insect infestation
* farmer's markets dates/times/locations
I have paper and electronic too. Sorry I didn't see this until after the verdict was in, but I started keeping a journal recently, and, I like it, so much easier to keep track. I do not know how to use the program well, so my journal is a mess, but it's a start...
I've attempted to with pen and paper--really just mapping and plant and/or bulb placement so I don't damage anybody:LOL:
I made my first attempt to use the diary thing here--just to note my 2007 seed purchases/trades/swaps. I've got about 4 categories so far--Chain Store Purchases, eBay purchases, Dave's Garden swaps/trades and Catalog/online purchases.
The real chore is going to be listing the seed I already had before I started this =)
Kmom, that is a wonderful journal. Scanning the seed packets is an exellent idea! Laughing over the tomato notation. I too had one. Don't start tomatoes in March! You are one busy Mom!
I walked around with a notebook and took serious note of what didn't work in my beds. There were more of them than what did work! :)) I made new beds and neglected others. I'm making a lot of changes this year.
Oh yes! I am going to start one! A written journal indeed! Along w/ pictures, too.
Each year I make changes. Usually never plant the same thing more than 2x. The emptied ceramic pots are coming in to have house plants put in them. I use a lot of them, different lively colors, patterns, and shapes. Usually the dirt and certain plants go into the composter. Pots are sterilized, rinsed well. First I put proper size drainage on the bottom, put a good amount of coir all around~extra on the sides to keep the dirt from washing down. Then put in the plants w/fresh house plant soil, drainage mixture added in All broken pot, ornament pieces are stowed away. Any ornamental pieces go into the new pots~and recycling all the broken pieces for drainage next year!
OH! THIS IS NOT MY JOURNAL!...CHUCKLE...
But I will keep y'all updated!