I keep a garden journal, sketching the gardens each year so I can rotate my crops. I jot down the names of the seeds or plants because I realize I will forget which corn or tomato variety I planted by the time the following year comes around again.
Important Things to Jot Down in the Garden Journal
I mark the date of the first ripe tomato and ear of corn, and I note the crop failures and replants. As the season progresses, I start processing the bounty and the dates. Last summer I started picking blueberries in mid-June and was done by mid-July. I made raspberry jam in mid-June and peach jam in mid-August. I started making tomatillo sauce in July. All September long, I was making tomato sauce and tomato paste.
This year I bought a food dehydrator. Usually, I cut basil and put it out to dry on a cookie sheet out in the sun. 90-degree weather in August means that drying is done in a day. Come September, as the days get shorter and cooler, it can take one tray of basil 3-5 days to dry. The dehydrator is great because it shortens the drying process for me--particularly as the days get shorter. And for the first time, I took leftover peppers and dried them into hot and milder pepper flakes.
Write Down what you do with your Bounty
After the season is over and everything is picked, processed, dried, canned and frozen, I write my suggestions for the next year. In the cold, snowy days of January, I pick up my garden journal and think of spring. Time is spent daydreaming of new plants and warmer, drier weather. When the seed catalogs come in the mail, thoughts of spring are ripe for planning.
Like any journal, I can look back on past years. Did I really freeze 10 jars of pesto in 2009? What did I do with that much pesto? My journal doesn’t say.
This year with my food dehydrator I dried herbs for gifts. I found really cute spice jars. There is parsley, basil, sage, rosemary, peppers, chili peppers, spearmint, and catnip. I had catnip, sage, and the spearmint drying at the same time. It's possible a bit of catnip might have mixed with the sage and mint when I was pulling them off the racks. If I get extra spunky, oh well. I guess we'll know what happened. I did note in my garden journal not to dry catnip with other herbs! Meow!!
Do you keep a garden journal? What are some of the best ideas you have in yours?