When Did I Last….?

Anyone who knows me even a little knows of my obsession with planners, calendars, all things date-oriented, not to mention my strict adherence to lists. However, when it came to my gardening, my record-keeping was spotty to use the kindest term possible. I would write things on slips of paper and then forget where I put the paper, which did me absolutely no good. So, at the end of the 2019 season, I decided that 2020 would be different. I had no idea back in December 2019, when I started planning for my 2020 garden, just how different it would be! Nevertheless, I was determined that I would keep much better records beginning this year, but the question became, how?

I know that there are probably fancy-shmancy journals for this sort of record keeping, but I am also being mindful of my footprint, so I used a notebook I already had and created a perpetual journal, which would allow me to keep records for multiple years in the same notebook. I went through the notebook and created a two-page spread for every seven days, leaving room for multiple years’ worth of records. This way, I can see that I started my peas on X date in 2020 and they started sprouting on Y date. Then, next year, I can see if weather patterns, temperature, rain fall, and the like have any impact on the plants. Did a particular cultivar of a particular veggie do okay for me in my microclimate, or would another one work even better?

I have kept a personal journal for the better part of thirty years and I have joked that it is how I stayed out of therapy as long as I did. I’m hopeful that my perpetual garden journal will help me keep from pulling my hair out trying to remember what plants I put where each year when it comes time to rotate my crops. I will have a record of when I fertilized and with what and how much. I will know, when it comes time to take a soil sample, when my last application of lime was. All in all, I hope for this exercise to be one that will make my garden much more about the joy of the process and the yummy veggies than one of wringing my hands not knowing what I should do next.

Heather Duby is a third-year participant in the Grow Your Own program. She is an avid reader and writer and is a long-time cat mom.