My #1 Gardening Mistake, & Why I'll Never Make It Again.

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: 

It's really not a garden journal, but more like a folder. A folder of random scraps of paper that basically outline my 2014 food aspirations. In this folder, one might find:

  • 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!

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  1. Great ideas, at a very appropriate time. I am the proud owner of a new barrel collecting rainwater for my new small raised garden bed. It's exciting to watch stuff grow. I already want another bed and more barrels for next year.

  2. I really need to start a journal of some sort, too. Part of me says that I should just do it electronically to stay organized, but then another part says your way might suit my personality better. I guess SOMETHING is better than NOTHING, right?
    Also, how do you get your water from the barrel to the garden to actually water it? We want a rain barrel, but I'm thinking that our new hose would just sit in the corner of the yard then. Thoughts?


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