Keeping a Garden Journal and Labeling Your Plants

bingbingflickr 300x225 Keeping a Garden Journal and Labeling Your Plants

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Do you actually remember what you have growing in your garden? Labeling what you\’ve planted in the garden if a great way to keep track of what you have. Keeping any labels that came with your plant also helps you identify any problems which may arise when your plant looks poorly, where you can then look for relevant information and ensure that your crop next year will be better than the present. This is especially useful when you\’re a first time gardener. Keeping a garden journal will also help you record how your plants are performing, when the flower bloom and any other information that will help you keep a better garden next year.

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Keeping a Garden Journal

You may find it helpful to divide your garden journal into sections. As with all the other choices you\’ll make regarding your journal, your choice of sections depends on how much information you plan to keep. Think about the gardening information you currently keep, and why you might consider a change. Then consider how to achieve this. Here are some possibilities to choose from. There are many online resources that will even allow you to download free garden journals in PDF form that you can use straight away.

A garden journal can include a graph layout of your garden plot which will tell you exactly where and what you have in your garden. It will also contain your soil preparation information, the condition of soil in each bed (clay, sandy or silt), the pH level of each bed (important especially if you have several types of plants that require different pH), or the specific fertilizers each plant require. Jot all this down including any soil amendments that you\’ve used on each type of plant.

A garden journal also includes plant information such as purchasing date, seed starting information, size of plant, type (annual or perennial), types of fertilizer, light requirement, water and soil requirement, bloom cycle, known disease, pest and insect problems and how to rectify them.

Some other additional feature you can have in your own garden journal is keeping some dried blooms or samples. Of course if you\’re not up to pressing blooms or foliage, then it is a good idea to take pictures of your plant through out its different stages of life. This way you can compare your crops from year to year, and pin point out reasons why one crop does better than the one before, and improve on it.

A garden journal may also include a wish list of plants that you may consider for the future. It may even contain any architectural additions such as a greenhouse, pergola, hoop house, water feature or dry river bed as well as any design layout you may want to try.

If you have a vegetable garden, then some suggested recipes for your harvest can be included as well, making easy reference for you to just pop up the book and start cooking. It may also contain ways for your to store your produce over winter, how to preserve them and what are the best ways to prepare them. Also jot down any reference materials such as articles, magazines, comments, book list or course materials that will come in handy should you need to refer to them again in future.

Last but not least, your garden journal should have a list of costs. Keeping all your gardening costs together can really help you look at how much you have invested on at the end of the year. It will help you budget, and make the most of your expenditure and know what you should pool your money into and what to avoid.

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Labeling Your Plants

Labeling your plants in the garden will help you identify what you may have planted over a season. Labels will fade throughout the season, so keeping a garden journal with a plot outline of where you\’ve planted what, will help you identify them should this happen.

Types of Label for Your Plants

Using wooden labels are inexpensive as well as environmentally friendly. They will rot over the season, and all you have to do is to just make new labels and throw the old ones into the compost heap.

You can also consider using plastic labels that will last longer than wood. But because they are exposed to sun and frost, they may become brittle over time. Once the writings have become faded, re-write the names again with a permanent marker.

The most durable type of labels among all, of course, are the types made from metal, such as zinc or steel. You may consider using copper labels too, just make sure that they come with steel legs. Use a marker to write on them. Metal labels are more expensive than wood or plastic.

More reading:

Label Your Plants and Keep Garden Records:

http://gardening.about.com/od/gardenprimer/ss/NewGarden_8.htm

Plant Label Ideas: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/tools/plant-label-ideas/

Instructions for a Homemade Garden Journal:

http://www.hmk.on.ca/homemade.html