Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Garden Tuesday - Garden Notebook!

Welcome to Garden Tuesday at It’s All Gouda. Today’s post is about starting and maintaining a garden notebook. Do you keep a gardening notebook? I’d love to hear about any type of gardening “record keeping” that you maintain.

I literally just started a garden notebook this week. In it, year after year, I plan to keep track of what I planted, how many I planted, where I planted them, the varieties that I liked, the ones that bombed, any soil amendments, diagrams of how-to’s, etc. My notebook is not fancy, but it will keep all my thoughts from jumbling around inside my brain. Plus, it will help me out as I slowly but surely become more and more forgetful! Another big bonus, at least I’d like to think it will be, is that I can pass this notebook onto my kids when they are gardening on their own.

I wish I had a gardening notebook from my grandma and mom, both of whom were amazing, amazing, AMAZING gardeners. Alas, I do not. The sad thing is that I know they would have written everything down for me, in deluxe detail, if I had shown interest when I was younger. Plus, in this day and age of electronic everything, I truly relish having things in their actual handwriting. But I digress ....So, all of you out there in garden land, let’s start keeping garden notebooks. To kick off this project, I simply drew a diagram of my garden, noting what I planted and where I planted it. That will help in several ways including planning “crop” rotation (ha, my little garden is hardly a crop, but you know what I mean) and staggered harvests as well as physical stuff like not planting tall bushy stuff in front of short hard to reach stuff.

I’m also just starting to save my own seeds. I openly admit that I don’t know what I’m doing. I am reading up on it, and am keeping notes on what I’ve done. Hopefully, when next spring comes around and I plant these saved seeds, I’ll be “wowed” that it worked. I. Hope.So far, I’ve only saved Bush Lake green bean seeds and curly leaf parsley seed. Oh, I was so excited when I shelled those dried beans. Did you ever see the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks? Do you remember the scene when he starts a fire for the first time, and thumping his chest and then raising his arms shouts out “I have made FIRE!!!”? Well, that’s how I felt when I shelled the beans. I mentally shouted out to all the neighborhood, “I have made beans!!!”I actually felt all warm and fuzzy inside, and my eyes might have teared up a bit. Yeah, I’m “special” that way.My favorite parsley plant took a beating this year when my hubby split it in half while yanking the hose to the other side of the yard. He duly apologized, and I did manage to keep the plant alive, but I knew it took a severe blow. I let it go to seed this summer, and thought I’d replant next spring. I basically just left it alone, letting it flower, and then dry up.Here I simply used my nail to “flick” out the seeds, and this is what I ended up with. I hope I did this correctly. I’ve got way more seeds than shown here.

The garden continues to do well. Many of the plants are now past their prime production days, but they are still producing food. It has been so wonderful to just step outside and gather what I need. I will miss seeing these things ...
Italia Sweet PepperZucchini BabeBusy Bee on BasilBaby Beans Keep on Comin’Year of the Sage


Marjie said...

I made a diagram in a spiral bound notebook when we were planting, so I knew - well, sort of - what I had done. I'll be noting what worked, what didn't, and what we hated and loved as well. My note to Paula: Simpson Black seeded lettuce. It's wonderful tasting, and lasted a very long time. Coffee grounds mixed with water to water the garden kept slugs away, too; I only found 2 - yes, TWO - all year! Penn State Agricultural service says they OD on the caffeine. I say "Whatever: it works!" We'll have to compare notebook notes in a month or 2!

DayPhoto said...

Fall is starting here and it isn't even September. My garden stuff has been slow, but steady. I am like you I will miss just stepping outside and getting whatever I want for supper RIGHT THERE!


Cheryl said...

That is so freaking cool and you have amazingly beautiful handwriting!

Lynda said...

I have kept a notebook with some of my past gardens, but not this year. It is a great help, so next year i'll start again. I am keeping some seeds from some hard to find tomato varieties so that I can start them next year. It does make a person feel so self suffient, doesn't it!
Your garden still looks so good, Paula. Mine is on it's last legs, I guess because of our strange weather this year.The last couple of weeks were only in the low 80's- very strange for Missouri!

Cathy said...

You have a wonderful, lush garden, Paula. When do you harvest your garbage can potatoes?

Paula said...

Hi Everyone! Thanks for your kind comments about my modest little garden! I'm slowly but surely changing the color of my thumb!

Marjie: I LOVE that lettuce! That's one of the varieties I planted, and by FAR my FAVORITE! Next year, I'm devoting more space to it! :-) I loved using the coffee grounds, too. Perhaps that's why your tomato plants are doing so well! They like their coffee! I heard that tea leaves work too, but I never tried it!

Linda: My weather can't decide what it wants to do! One thing is for sure, it's getter darker earlier every night!

Cheryl: I'll have you know that I now use the phrase "freaking cool" with regularity now! It's our connection!

Lynda: How great that you have the info from previous years! I started taking notes earlier this spring, but didn't have them in a notebook. Now I've dedicated a notebook just for this purpose!

Cathy: Thanks ... it's on its last legs now, but still producing enough to keep me happy. Thanks, too, for asking about the garbage can potatoes! I'm planning on pulling them up in a couple weeks, well before the rain starts up. I took a peak down in the tub, and they look great! I'm really curious what my yield will be! PS: Did you have fun at Stub Stewart? We camped in a cabin there last year ... I felt so pampered in those glorious cabins! :-)

Mickle in NZ said...

What a tomato!

I've let flat leaf parsley go to seed and self seed successfully.
Except when the lawn service chopped it down - this one had reached shoulder height and had masses of seed heads, sob.

The diary will be so useful, and such fun to compare from year to year.

Cathy said...

Hi again Paula - We had a great time at SS State Park. Love the cabins and the campfires. They had great activities for kids every day and even showed an outdoor movie one evening. Food tastes so much better outdoors. Can't wait to go back soon.

Pam said...

I think your garden notebook is a great idea...I am sure your children will appreciate it someday.

Robynn's Ravings said...

Before I forget I have to say your zucchini babe took my breath away. Aren't those THE most beautiful buds?! I LOVE THEM.

I kept a garden journal for one year when I did square foot gardening but if I kept one this year it would say, "Weeds" in every little square. Not that interesting. Also incriminating.

Thank you, LORD, for Farmers' Markets and people like YOU who know what they're doing! Just LOVELY!

Linda said...

Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth has been a real help to me as I learn about seed saving.
My blog is about the topic of garden notetaking and I have free pages you can down load if you are interested. I find note taking has made gardening more rewarding for me because I'm using my time and money more wisely while producing a more successful garden. Good luck with your notebook, what a treasure for your children one day.

The Blonde Duck said...

I need to grow a garden first!

Pam said...

My husband keeps our garden notebook, but not very well, I'm afraid.