Our busy lives have us so disconnected from the seasonal cycles that we’re always playing catch up, and that can be exhausting!
That’s why having a plan and writing things down are so important! Writing your thoughts, plans and ideas down is the halfway point between the magical realm in our heads and actually, physically doing something about them! Turning thoughts into sometime more concrete and tangible, and makes planning so much easier!
Gardening and landscape maintenance is no different! You need to have a plan!
Whether it's part of your daily mindful journaling, a household planner that logs all your honey-dos and periodical home and garden maintenance jobs, or a dedicated Flower or Vegetable Garden Planner; there’s something concrete about putting words to paper (or typing out your intentions into an app) that just help those intentions coalesce into reality.
Besides, no matter how much you read and learn, even if you’ve been doing it for years - each year, each season, and each person's experience and success are never the same! No two gardens, no two people, and no two years are ever identical. Ma Nature and Murphy’s Law are there to throw you some curve balls!
You and your garden are unique - so it’s important for you to be taking notes.
As a lifelong gardener or a newbie, tracking your failures and successes, that year's quirks, recording weather events, and learning are important parts of growth. Besides, the older we get, the more things start running together!
Keeping a garden planner to track what you see and did each year helps you feel more in tune with the seasons, just the way your plants and wildlife are! So start your own and record backyard events each growing season!
Document what happens in your garden or landscape from year to year. You’ll have some fond memories to look back on, a place to turn to when particular events pop up again and be able to see how you handled them, and get an idea of what to expect. This is especially important to start doing when you are just starting your gardening and landscaping journey!
Pictured below is a basic sample page (for a given plant) out of a garden journal.
It is very important to remember to rotate crops of plants like Tomatoes, which should not be grown in the same location for 3-4 years again. List phone numbers or websites that are your frequent go-to resources. Set up a schedule of reminders - gutter clean-out, sharpen the mower blade, get the maintenance done on the snow blower, that great company that always has firewood or power-rakes the lawn inexpensively. Anything related to year-round maintenance is important to write down.
Another thing we suggest doing each year at the end of the growing season is to write down the names of the best performing Tomato varieties, the best or your family’s favorite vegetable, or herb that grew like crazy in that one spot. Note which Begonia or Petunia varieties did amazing in your porch pots that year. Make a note of the best performers so when you buy plants next spring you will not have to remember what to shop for and what to avoid. No, no matter how great it did, you may not remember it next season!
There’s so much information you can document once you think about it! Think of all the things you wish you could remember or look back on.
It’s also a fantastic way to get outdoors and commune with the natural world. Buy or make your own gardening journal, or download your favorite app, then start recording! You’ll feel more connected and collected!
An online or downloaded app like Smart Plant & Tree Care helps those who are more tech-savvy, or an old-school scrapbook, spiral notebook, or composition book work great too! Even a pocketbook calendar for those on the go. It doesn’t have to be fancy and have all the bells and whistles.
A ring binder is sometimes best because it allows you to insert the many free, downloadable and printable sheets that are available online! You can add or remove pages and keep things organized at your fingertips! Then easily add more with each passing year.
Include lined and graph paper, blank pages, envelopes glued onto pages for small items and pressed plants (free envelopes from junk mail), calendar pages, make or buy sheet protector pages to slide plant tags and seed packets into, or pages to glue your photographs onto. Tabs allow you to easily jump between sections. Some glue and/or tape, and a bit of a routine and you got a garden journal! Some fun stuff to get if you want are gel pens, stickers, post-it notes, markers and highlighters, and scrapbooking additions. But they are by no means essential.
Me to self: “I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it!”
Narrator: “Moments later, she would not remember. In fact, she even forgot what *it* even was.”
Don’t let this mistake happen to you! There’s a reason why that fuzzy, hazy, and incorporeal space between our ears is called the 'gray' matter!
All you really need is a pencil and paper - it's just that easy! Just start writing down what is going on in your garden daily, weekly, or whenever you can! You’ll not only feel more relaxed but you will also feel more 'present'!
With a sweep of the mighty pen (or a swipe on an app), you’ll turn those garden thoughts and dreams into reality faster and easier - by getting organized with your own Garden Journal today!