I use a garden journal to plan out and track each years' crops.
It is a bound journal that I put together each winter that contains a monthly planner, planned crops, seedling tray layouts, garden layouts, planting and seed starting schedule, plant and harvest notes and other miscellaneous information.
I also a my garden journal database, which I developed, to keep track of each variety I grow, where I obtained the seeds, growing information, germination rates, starting dates, maturity dates, pest information and yields. I can automatically generate my spring and fall planting and seed starting schedules from my database by entering the last spring frost and first frost dates for my area.
Gardening is a continuous learning process and keeping records has helped me fine-tune methods that work well for me. Having a place to store and easily access this information has been extremely helpful. I can quickly look back at the previous year to see what yields I had, what pest problems, if any, I encountered, what methods I used to deal with them or see what germination rates I was able to obtain using my own starting mix. I plan on growing on a much larger scale some day so setting up this system now will hopefully help me grow more efficiently and successfully in the future.
Each month I am going to post my Garden Journal To-Do lists to help keep me on schedule and to track what projects I am working on. It will also be a nice way to generate new blog posts for the month!
Garden Journal - February, 2013
- Clean out greenhouse and set up heat mats to prepare for starting seeds
- Draw new garden layout for this years crops
- Update seed database and order remaining seeds
- Create planting schedule
- Sift compost and create seed starting mix
- Start Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Collards, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Onions, Parsley and Spinach in soil blocks
- Design new greenhouse for starting flowers
- Finish reading "The Flower Farmer, an Organic Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers" by Lynn Byczynski
- Draw up layout for this year's cutting flower beds
- Hold first meeting for the Elementary School Garden
This year my goal is to grow only organic and mostly heirloom varieties. I plan on saving seeds for next year and am working on building my own seed bank. I am also working on growing as much of our own food as possible so it is important to plan the gardens to maximize space.
I grew only vegetables in the past, but this year I am planning on putting in a cutting flower garden. It only makes sense as a natural way to attract bees and other beneficial insects and it will be a start to hopefully selling cut flowers at the local farmer's market.
The other big project we are working on is getting the School Garden up and running. We have hit many road blocks along the way but we finally have some people on board that have some influence so hopefully this will be the year to make it happen!