Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.
Wouldn't it be great to know when to schedule your garden party for peak bloom time? And to remember come spring which variety of perennial you planted where last year? Or what variety of seeds you sowed last year that yielded such great vegetables? If only there was one spot you could turn to for all that information.
There is, of course, if you're among those people who faithfully chronicle their yearly garden progress in a journal. Journals are a great way to chart successes to repeat and failures to avoid repeating,and to note bloom times, harvest schedules and which tomatoes were the most prolific or tasty. Also nice to have in a journal: a plastic sleeve to hold plant tags and empty seed packets, a calendar of what to do when, and a graph of your garden to help you plan.
Yep, that would be great. But I haven't done it, even though I kick myself every spring when I can't remember which clematis grows on old growth and which kind I should cut back, and the tags have long since vanished. Or which variety of nearly black heirloom tomato it was that I tried last year that was so tasty.
I've got no excuse but time and inertia. I even have a ready-made garden journal that someone gave me, complete with pretty pictures, helpful pocket folders and graph pages, all of which seem too immaculate to house my usual scribbled, dirt-smudged drawings of which tomato seedling went where. I find the pristine pages daunting, as if such an elegant volume requires notes more thoughtful than mundane. And every time I'm in note-taking mode, I've got dirty hands or gloves, so I just jot things down on whatever scrap of paper happens to be at hand and throw it into a folder, if I'm lucky.
Yes, I should just get over it, and break in the journal. Or else develop a weekly ritual of grabbing a notebook, sitting on the porch with a glass of lemonade and recording garden progress of note. (Doesn't that sound delightful? Too bad I'd need to fix the porch first.) Alternatively, there are any number of computer-based options for journaling, although you still need clean hands.
At any rate, this year I'm determined to at least make a start at a journal, and to help me I've turned to my camera. With a time-date stamp option, I can tell when I took what. So now I know when the peonies were in bloom (this year), which clematis is on which trellis and when it bloomed, when the pea seedlings set blooms, and where I planted new perennials. My pictures might not be quite as pretty as those in the untouched journal, but they're far more useful.
Do you keep a garden journal? What tips can you share for those of us who really, really plan to start one? (Other than pick up the pen....) This site offered great suggestions and templates for those inspired: www.hmk.on.ca/journal.html
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