Three Ways to Keep Garden Records

comments (1) January 6th, 2011

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There are probably as many different ways to keep records as there are gardeners. Before deciding on a method, think about what your reasons are for keeping them in the first place. What is the goal, what do you hope to get out of them? Different methods are best suited for different purposes; you may even find that using more than one will work best for your goals.

Perhaps the simplest, though the least structured method, is a garden diary. The diary can tell the story of your garden, day by day. My first garden records used this method.The drawback to a diary as a source of information is the difficulty of retrieving the data. It requires looking through a year's worth of notes, trying to figure out on what day did you record the particular piece of information that you are looking for. Perhaps you did not record it at all. Other more structured methods may be preferred if your purpose is to use this year's experiences to aid in next years gardening.

One such method might be to employ a calendar. A calendar can be used to both plan and record activities. For example, if you grow fruit trees and use orchard sprays, you can then mark the calendar whenever you spray, and note when the next application should be done.

Other things you might want to record are planting dates, insect or disease problems seen, or what the weather was each day. You can simply save the calendar to refer to next year, or consolidate the information in some other type of record that might be more convenient.The most formal way of record keeping would be in the style of a spreadsheet. You can do this on a computer or with pen and paper; but computerized records do make retrieving the information easier.I have tried all three of these methods, and now actually use them all, for different purposes. I still keep a diary, so I can record thoughts and observations. I keep a spreadsheet to help me plan the next years garden. I have a terrible memory, and can never remember things like which variety of pea did I prefer, and which bed needs compost this year.And lastly, I use a calendar to plot planting dates - when to start seeds indoors, when to transplant, things like that. This gets transferred to the same spreadsheet as above, so all the information eventually ends up in one place.Whether you are an experienced gardener or a novice, keeping records can help improve your garden year after year. Or they might simply make enjoyable reading on a cold, winter's day.


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posted in: planning, record keeping, garden records

Comments (1)

Crslyn writes: What are some of the best and least expensive software driven programs for garden content? I am leery of online applications. What if their server crashes or they just go out of business? Back to my calendar I go.
Posted: 4:11 pm on June 24th
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