Thursday, March 4, 2010

Make gardening easier with a journal

Gardening books had once overtaken the shelves of my bookcase. The books were filled with loads of useful information, but not all pertaining to my garden. I wanted to slim-down my collection since I needed room for all of my scrapbooks. I decided to use an empty journal that had been gathering dust and turned it into my favorite garden tool.

Back in 2007, I was full-swing into the garden phase of my life and had completely revamped my landscape. During that year, I photographed my flowers, plants and trees during each season and used a journal to record everything that happened. I included the basics, like how much sun was needed, if I should fertilize, pests and diseases that visited, when each bloomed and any other tips that I found useful.

(Note: Did you notice the funky carrot cluster? Apparently I'm not good at growing carrots. Oh well.)

I made mini journaling cards using Microsoft Word and printed them onto green cardstock. This was particularly helpful with my roses since they needed a lot of attention. (Unfortunately, I no longer have my roses since I was unable to keep up with their high maintenance after having my youngest child in May 2008. I failed. They failed. But by keeping a record of how I did take care of them, I know how to care for roses in the future if I want to go down that road again.)

My favorite garden memory of 2007 was when I planted a Three Sisters Garden- corn, beans and squash. Now this type of garden is meant for a large amount of land, but I only had a 4'x10' area to use. I still wanted to do it since I loved the story behind the Three Sisters. The three seeds are planted together because:

They want to be together with each other, just as we Indians want to be together with each other. So long as the Three Sisters are with us we know we will never starve. -Chief Louis Farmer (Onondaga)


I also planted a row of Mammoth Sunflowers behind the Three Sisters for added privacy. These sunflowers were named Mammoth for a good reason too. Mine grew over 12' tall, which my daughter absolutely loved. And with sunflowers, birds and squirrels are always nearby.

My garden journal is far from being fancy- just plain white pages, cropped photos, scribbles of words and a few doodles. Yet, I reached my goal. I reduced my stockpile of gardening related material and created a one-stop source of information for my garden. Now gardening is easier and there is still plenty of room to continue documenting my garden experiences.

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