If you find it difficult to stay on top of gardening tasks, a garden journal may be the perfect solution. Keep records on such information as what is happening in your garden, what plants and equipment you have acquired, and garden chores.

You can store your notes in a blank notebook, a structured garden journal, a planning calendar, or a handheld digital organizer or computer. Another option is to create your own personalized garden journal complete with prompts that are specific to your garden. Print or photocopy multiple pages with whatever headers you choose, and store them in a three-ring binder. Then, all you'll need to do is fill in the blanks.

Spotting butterflies around certain plants is

worth noting in your garden log.

You can store your notes in a blank notebook, a structured garden journal, a planning calendar, or a handheld digital organizer or computer. Another option is to create your own personalized garden journal complete with prompts that are specific to your garden. Print or photocopy multiple pages with whatever headers you choose, and store them in a three-ring binder. Then, all you'll need to do is fill in the blanks.

Some prompts you might include are:

Plants in bloom and changing foliage

  • The date
  • Weather this week (or today)
  • To-do checklist
  • General observations
  • Equipment purchases
  • Plant acquisitions (common name, botanical name, cultivar name, source, etc.)
  • What was planted today
  • Plant performance
  • Garden problems
  • Plants in bloom
  • Harvests
  • Tasks done
  • Ideas for improvement
  • Wish list
  • Wildlife sightings
  • Garden visitors
  • Gardens visited

You'll also need a place to store tags and records of your plant acquisitions. If you take pictures of your garden, keep them with your notes. Over time, your garden journal will prove to be an invaluable planning tool. For example, if you're browsing through seed catalogs during the winter season and need to know what blooms at the same time as peonies so you can group them together, the answer will be in your notes. If someone asks you which of your tomatoes tastes so wonderful, but you can't quite remember what you planted, you can simply refer back to your records. Each season's successes and disappointments will be on hand so you can make informed decisions when planning new plantings.

Your notes can also remind you when to plant seeds or take cuttings. For example, seeds such as tomatoes and peppers need to be planted six to eight weeks before the last spring frost, but squash and cucumbers need to be planted only three weeks before the last spring frost. It can be hard to remember everything unless it's written down. Keep good propagation records to track how successful each operation has been and how the young plants are proceeding through the seasons. These records will guide you about when to plant, divide, start seeds, or collect seeds for future years. Avid plant propagators may appreciate records like these:

  • How long seedlings grew indoors before being transplanted outdoors and whether that timing allowed enough, too little, or too much time for a great performance outdoors.
  • When you planted seedlings outdoors and how well they responded to the weather conditions at that time.
  • When the first shoots of perennial flowers and herbs emerged in spring and were ready to divide.
  • When you took stem cuttings from roses, lilacs, geraniums, impatiens, chrysanthemums, dahlias, and other plants. Rooting success often depends on the season in which the cuttings were taken.
  • When seedpods matured and were ready to harvest for next year's crop.

With the help of a garden log, you'll be able to monitor changes in your garden over time, and gain a unique appreciation for what your garden needs to grow and thrive.Want more gardening information? Try: