You've probably heard me say it a million times: I learn more about gardening every year. It's really pretty simple. The best way to learn and master a topic is through experimenting, and trial and error. Gardening and growing your own food is no different.
There's one big mistake I've made for the last four years that I am bound and determined not to make again this year. I am convinced that this huge error in judgement will have big rewards for my garden in years to come.
What is my #1 Gardening Mistake, you ask?
I've never kept a garden journal.
Never. I just wing it every year, and make some of the same mistakes year-after-year because I can't remember what worked (or didn't work) for me in the past. Every time I make a mistake or have a big success I think, "Oh, I need to remember that for next year."
Do I remember it for the next year? Nope.
So, in 2014, I am keeping a garden journal of sorts. And here's what it looks like so far:
- A map of where I'm planting what, which helps me do accurate companion planting.
- A calendar of when I started my seeds, when I should transplant, and when I should direct seed in the garden.
- A map of my front yard, where I am planting more edible landscape this year.
- Sticky notes with tips for new growing methods, like my 5-gallon-bucket potatoes.
- PowerPoint slides and handouts from recent gardening seminars I've attended.
- Lists of what I've planted last year, and what I am planting this year.
- A cost breakdown of all the expenses I've incurred so far (seeds, soil, seed trays, etc.)
A folder is more appropriate for me, since I can simply toss papers and notes into the folder and then spread everything out on the table when I'm ready to do some analyzing. Also, I can have a folder for every year and pull data from each folder for easy comparison.
Do you keep a garden journal? How to do measure progress from year-to-year? Share some of your ideas with me!