There are numerous gardening books available…in your home, at the library, in your local independent bookstore, and online. The contain very helpful information and encouragement. In the you can learn things about what to plant, when to plant, how to germinate seeds, how to make your own compost, how make your own insecticide, etc. The are most helpful if you remember to read all the words and plan your garden using the information available…but they are not the most helpful gardening book available. Those books are written with excellent general information. They are not specific to your yard or garden plot.
The books in the stores have good information and much inspiration for your organic garden. They tell you about soil pH, air temperature, gardening climate zones, plant mixing, inter-planting, new ideas; however, the most helpful garden book is not available in bookstores or online. You have to write the best organic gardening book. Only you will actually garden in your yard or plot. If you take good notes and create a thorough gardening journal, you will have the best gardening book ever written. It will be customized just for you.
In order to have the most successful organic vegetable garden possible for you and your location, what should you record in your journal?
Soil and air temperature at different times of day including the daily minimums and maximums will give you information that helps in choosing plants for your garden in the future. More immediately, that information will assist in determining whether you need to shade plants or soil for optimum garden production. If you use row covers, record the temperatures under the row covers and/or your plastic mulch. Record unusual weather events [storms, droughts, deluges, very hot and/or very cool weather]. Several years of regular ‘unusual’ weather events become regular weather events. Be sure to keep a watering record. Keep track of the dates your seeds germinate. Then track and record your planting and transplanting dates for each crop. Make sure to keep information on cover crops and times that you leave an area fallow. Journal your composting piles [the dates started, when you water, material added, and the finishing date for the pile]. Track your pests and diseases making sure to note the number, duration, severity, what you treated it with, and the outcome. Track your soil maintenance [crop rotation, compost addition, rock powders, leaf mold, other soil supplements. And finally, track and record your harvest notes. How much did you end up with?
Several years of comparing what you did and what happened to the output will result in excellent information of maximizing your garden production.
If you are interested in the more existential aspects of gardening, journal how different events make you feel, your reaction to hardship, your reaction germination, harvest, pests, dogs, cats, moles, etc. Gardening is a process. The journey is excellent and a lesson in patience and letting go. You cannot control nature. You can help it. There is frequently no why as to the events in nature. It’s okay not to understand. You don’t have to understand here to be here.
Gardening can be a great help in understanding and getting in touch with now. A journal can track your past help improve the present. Make sure to review your journal regularly. Most importantly, a garden journal assists with planning and is invaluable when the snows set in, the seed catalogs come in the mail, and your plan your spring, summer, and fall planting schedule. Go outside and garden. Save money with your own organic vegetable garden.
tn nike John C. Shelton is a recovering attorney, husband, father of two, and newbie blogger. After 15 years in the wilderness (lawyers, on whole are a cranky lot) he is listening to his muse. I love to garden and improve my environment. As an added benefit, I can save money at the same time. We all want to live better for less. I can help you live better and save money.