Posted on 09 April 2012 by

Successful Gardening 101: How to Create a Garden Journal

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

As the New Year approached, I revisited my past New Year’s resolutions and discovered that I had done pretty well.

I met most of my goals and already had some new ones in mind.

These included improving on my diet and workout, finishing up my graduate degree and expanding on my business.

But like most people or I should say probably 99.9 of the world’s population, there just is not enough time in the day to fit everything in. I know what you are thinking excuses, excuses but I found a quote the other day that has spurred me to move past this concept.

Lao Tzu was a very insightful individual who understood human nature. He stated that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. How simple but how true this statement is so this year my motto for all my gardening projects is an adaptation of this quote. My motto is a garden that feeds a thousand begins with a single step.

This year’s gardening goals include personal and business gardening projects.

I plan to have my own garden at home, continue and expand on the Charlestown Community Garden, and start The Maxwell Project. While doing all this I plan to continue with my business and finish my graduate degree. Well I think I can breath now, at least I see on paper all I need to accomplish.

But before I get overwhelmed I am going to come up with a plan for my garden projects. This plan is not just a plan to do it and how but also includes detailed information about each garden project before it starts.

This detail is not just for my garden plans but every gardener should do this for each garden they have, especially if one lives in an urban setting.

To begin this process, one must create a journal. The type of journal you choose does not matter. What matters is that the journal is in a style that you will use. Some people like journaling on the computer while others like scrapbooks or just plain notebooks. Again, I would like to stress that a journal is only useful if you will use it, so pick your journal style carefully.

Once you have your journal, it is time to fill it with your gardening dreams. To help those dreams come true, one must draw out their garden space. If you do not know how to do a scale drawing do not worry, simply create a rough sketch of the space. Do not forget to add the dimensions of the garden to the plan.

Do not limit yourself to the traditional type of garden. Mulch gardens, straw bale gardens, container gardens and raised beds all need to be planned in the journal.

After the garden is drawn, it is time to add the external information. This includes directions, where the sun hits the garden space and outside features such as buildings, fences and/or trees that shade or affect the space.

Now, the fun begins. A garden can be played with before digging the first hole by simply creating the garden in the journal. This can be done in a couple of ways. If you are using a computer, you can just use a program to draw on your garden. If you are using a more traditional type of journal, then the process is a little more involved.

To do a practice run of your garden space using a traditional type of journal requires one to lay wax paper over the area and then trace the garden onto it. Then, you can practice your garden design on the wax paper. Once you are happy with the design, transfer it to the drawing in your journal.

Some things to keep in mind when creating a practice garden are the same when you are creating the garden for real. This includes plant spacing, plant requirements and environmental factors. If these requirements are not considered during the planning phase of the journal, then the garden design will be useless.

So until we blog again, a garden plan is only as good as the information on it.

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