The garden journal is an important component of the garden planning process. It allows the gardener to review the successes and failures of the past year. This evaluation reduces the chances of repeating the same mistakes, helps create a healthier garden environment, and helps reduce costly gardening mistakes, especially for beginning gardeners.
A journal doesn’t have to be anything fancy and can range from a simple school notebook to an elaborate leather-bound journal. Some gardeners even use technology to design a one-of-a-kind garden journal that goes to great lengths to get you to agree to plant the seed. The key to the journaling process is choosing one that works for you and one that you actually use.
Whether you are a beginning gardener or starting a new garden, the first step in this process is to extract the garden space. Some people find it helpful to scale the drawing, but that’s not really necessary. The important component is that the dimensions of the garden are noted.
Don’t limit yourself to the traditional idea of what a garden is. All gardens need to be planned and this includes container gardens, mulch, and straw bales, along with hanging baskets and flower bags. However, keep in mind; that the information described below is geared towards terrestrial gardens and in doing so will need to be adapted to other types of gardens.
Once the garden space has been extended, the next step is to add environmental information. The north, south, east and west directions should be placed on the garden drawing. The general wind direction and how the sun hits the garden space during the growing season should also be taken into account.
Weather conditions are another component that needs to be added during the growing season. This includes temperature, humidity level or amount of rainfall and any natural disasters that may have affected the garden space. Including this information will help the gardener deal with microclimate issues and help him make a more accurate determination of the success of the garden.
Another environmental feature to add to your garden daily is soil health. This includes the pH level, the type of soil, and any nutrient problems. This information is easily obtained through a kit that can be collected at any local extension office.
External features surrounding the garden space should also be added to the drawing. This information is very important since the shadows of buildings, vegetation and fences can affect the space of the garden. In addition, observing the plant material around the garden can help reduce the possibility of incompatibility between plants. A good example of plant incompatibility is tomato and black walnut.
Once the garden journal has been created, the next step is to decide how much you need.
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