It's important to document your garden observations because humans are forgetful.
Think about it... do you really remember how much fertilizer that you used 4 years ago on the tomato plants? Probably not.
Do you remember how many times that squirrels ate the strawberries before you did last season? Probably not.
Do you know how many days that it rained last summer? Probably not.
These are just a few examples of why you need to keep track of what you have observed and what you have done in your garden. I use this blog as my garden journal because I'm able to share with others what I've learned from running a garden.
What do you need to keep track of in your journal? That's up to you!
I would recommend keeping track of the following items and tasks:
- weather conditions, including temperature
- whether it rained or you manually watered your plants and the amount of water
- any pests, including those pesky squirrels, that have caused harm to or ate your plants
- when fertilizer was applied and how much
- when you started your seedlings
- when you harvested your food and the size of your harvest
- pictures of your observations
Paper or digital (online) journal? Again, it's up to you!
What's more important is that you keep records so that you are able to analyze what you have done. I've chosen to do an online blog because I know I can type faster than I write. Now if you have a digital or online blog, it is easier to find what you are looking for as you can utilize the search functionality.
For example, if you create a journal entry each time that you harvest food from your garden, you can do a search for "harvest" and the fruit or vegetable that you harvested and find the information quickly. If you have a paper journal, you would have to manually look page by page until you found your latest harvest information.
How often should I write in my journal?
I would recommend writing a new entry daily or when significant events take place.
For instance, if you have non-stop rain for an entire week, I would make note of that in a journal entry. Planting new vegetables for the growing season, make a new journal entry. Squirrels eat half of your three tomatoes, make a journal entry (and remove the half eaten tomatoes from the vine).
Journaling may seem pointless in the beginning when you don't have much history to look back at. However as the time progresses and you make some gardening mistakes, you'll learn from those mistakes and end up with a productive and strong garden.