Keeping a garden diary will allow you to take detailed notes on your plants throughout the year and help you make better decisions in the years to come. You may want to write down the name of that new tomato variety you’re trying or a Neem oil recipe that worked particularly well on your garden pests. Maybe you tried burying an egg under your plants to see if it would help them grow, and you want to keep track of the results. Garden journals offer tons of benefits that you can start taking advantage of this growing season.

Easy Crop Rotations

A garden journal will help you organize your annual crop rotations. You can probably recall last year's layout from memory, but how much further back can you honestly go? In your diary, you'll be able to keep track of where you planted everything in the past and how much growth different crops experienced in different areas. You may find that carrots fair better in the back corners or that one side of your garden is too shady for your tomatoes during the height of summer.

Compare Varieties

tomato varieties

Another perk you'll get from starting a garden dairy is the ability to track the differences between any crop varieties you’ve grown. This can come in handy when it’s time to decide which crops to invest in next season. For instance, you may have loved that huge beefsteak heirloom but been disappointed by some yellow tomatoes that never really took off. Referring to your journal will help you avoid wasting money on those less-than-stellar plants and free up your garden for proven winners and new varieties.

Experimentation

Everyone does a little bit of experimentation now and then to see what works best in their gardens. What better place to record your experiments and their results than in a garden journal? You might try using a new seaweed solution and love it, but unless you write the name of the brand down, you could easily forget what you bought. Every little experiment can be tracked in your diary and immediately replicated should you ever choose to do so. Failures should also be documented to remind you of what not to do again. Consider writing down any future garden experiments you’d like to try, too. While researching how to kill spider mites, for example, you may encounter a few different recommended products. Start by trying one out and jotting the others down in your journal for future reference.

Your Growing Season

growing season temperatures

Sometimes, it can be helpful to remember the timeframe of your area's growing season. Keep notes of this year's first and lost frost dates to use for next year's planning. While these dates tend to differ a bit from year to year, they start to form a general pattern when looked at side-by-side. This information will help you determine several things, like when to start seeds indoors and when it’s safe to plant outside.

You may also want to record daily temperatures and the amount of rainfall during the growing season, as these factors contribute to the success or failure of all your gardening endeavors. Was it particularly rainy the year before last when you had that bumper cucumber crop? What were the temperatures like last year? Combine the information in your journal with weather forecasts, and you'll be able to start smartly planning your gardening strategies for the coming year.

Fertilization

Your garden diary is also the perfect place to log your use of fertilizer and other soil additives. Create a feeding schedule by writing down the dates when you last fertilized and when you'll need to do it next. Jot down the names of any brands you use and the results they yield. The growing season is such a busy time of year it would easy to forget any of these details. This way, you’ll know when it’s time to feed your soil, and you'll keep your garden growing strong.

Problems

girl writing in her garden journal

Finally, a journal will allow you to archive any problems you've encountered in the garden and the ways in which you dealt with them. This is a good place to put pictures in your diary, as they will help you identify pests and diseases if they ever return to your garden. The more detailed your garden journal is, the less you'll have to research when you notice your plant leaves getting holey.

Your garden diary doesn’t have to be fancy or filled with every single chore and experiment, especially if you're a seasoned gardener. Your journal can be small and contain just the things you really want to remember. When you need to recall a piece of information, it's always nice to have something to refer to.