What Is A Garden Journal: Tips On Keeping A Garden Journal

September Garden Journal
garden journal
(Image credit: Dustin Hardin)

Keeping a garden journal is a fun and fulfilling activity. If you save your seed packets, plant tags, or garden center receipts, you have the beginnings of a garden journal and you're only a few steps away from creating a complete record of your garden. This article shares garden journal ideas that will help you learn from your success and mistakes and improve your gardening skills.

What Is a Garden Journal?

A garden journal is a written record of your garden. You can keep your garden journal contents in any notebook or on note cards organized into a file. For many people, a ring binder works best because it allows you to insert sheets of graph paper, calendar pages, pockets for your seed packets, plant tags, and pages for your photographs. Keeping a garden journal gives you a written record of your garden layouts, plans, successes, and failures, and you'll learn about your plants and soil as you go. For vegetable gardeners, an important function of the journal is tracking crop rotation. Planting the same crop in the same location each time depletes the soil and encourages pests and diseases. Many vegetables should be planted on a three to five year rotation schedule. Your garden layout sketches serve as a valuable planning aid from year to year.

How to Keep a Garden Journal

There are no rules on how to keep a garden journal, and if you keep it simple, you're more likely to stick with it through the year. Try to find time to record something every day or so and record the important things as soon as possible so you don't forget.

Garden Journal Contents

Here are some of the things you'll want to record in your journal:

  • A sketch of your garden layout from season to season
  • Pictures of your garden
  • A list of successful plants and those to avoid in the future
  • Bloom times
  • A list of plants you'd like to try, along with their growing requirements
  • When you started seeds and transplanted plants
  • Plant sources
  • Expenses and receipts
  • Daily, weekly and monthly observations
  • Dates when you divide your perennials
Jackie Carroll

Jackie Carroll has written over 500 articles for Gardening Know How on a wide range of topics.