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How to Keep a Garden Journal

Garden Journal

A garden journal helps you remember what you want to do, what you did, how it went, and what to do next time. For most, it’s as much a scrapbook as it is a diary. A garden journal can be as casual or serious as you are. For the more agriculturally minded, a garden journal is where you can keep a record of crop rotation, yield, and rainfall statistics. It’s a good place to write down where you got stuff from and where you planted it.

How to Keep a Garden Journal

Chief Executive Gardener

Just as a business person would highlight the different business quarters in a financial year planner, year planners are great for highlighting gardening seasons. For fun, make the day you start your journal the start of your gardening year. The contents over the next twelve months will form your CEG’s (Chief Executive Gardener) Report.

The journal will provide you with a record of your proposed and final layouts, as well as the successes and failures. A key feature of an annual report is that it presents year over year performance, and measures and explains variances. Whether it’s in the form of vegetable crop output or new plant flowerings, year on year performance is something that you as a CEG must be mindful of to determine your success and justify your investment. Record expenses and keep receipts in your journal.

Journal Contents

Essentially your journal is a written account of your garden over time. Use a scrapbook, notebook, or ring binder in order to add pages in where you like. Use the pages to document your learning about your plants, soil content, and quality. Your garden journal reports can only be as good as the data entered. Keeping a record of what has been planted and the concomitant milestones reached helps you stay patient and manage expectations. In addition to the ideas above, here are a few more garden journal content ideas.

Before and After

Keep a sketch of what you originally envisioned. Then, take photos before the work begins and take more during the course of the year. This can help you create a visual progress report.

Plant A-List and D-List

On the A-List, record the names of plants that have done well and even better than expected, in terms of yield and longevity. The D List, which speaks for itself, is for those plants that won’t be returning next season as they just won’t grow.

Record Bloom Times

This should be a seasonal or annual highlight. Record dates of blossom first sightings and how long they lasted. This list should also be supported with photos.

The Maybe List

This is a list of plants you’d like to give a go, replete with their growing requirements.


Include observations made daily, weekly and monthly. Document what has grown from clippings and seeds. Record those flowers that were transplanted. Be sure to record the seed supplier details and where you bought them from. Also, record the day when perennials were divided.

Winter Planning

Schedule time for pre-winter clean-ups, pruning, and mulching. Make a note of which trees and shrubs will need to be wrapped.

Keep It Simple

Keeping the journal simple will make it easier and more inviting to update. Journal entries should become a natural part of your gardening routine as much as weeding and watering are.

Additional Reading: Fall’s end is the perfect time to take gardening notes to help with planning come spring

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