Secrets to Success

Garden Journal, Part 3: Month-to-Month Organizer

Garden Journal, Part 3: Month-to-Month Organizer

We all want to be organized, and while some of us are better at it than others, any tool to help us get and stay organized is worth its weight in gold—or seeds. This calendar template organizes three activities in one place in your garden journal. It’s an essential part of your garden journal because it provides an at-a-glance review of a season’s successes to learn from for next year.

First, fill out the calendar for seed sowing. Lay several months out before you, mark your average last frost date*, and then turn to your seed packets. Organize them into ‘sow indoors’ and ‘sow outdoors’ piles. For each variety, note the recommended amount of weeks before or after your average last frost date, and you’ll then count backwards (or forwards, depending on the sowing time) from your average last frost date, and mark that date on the calendar. You could even use two different color pens or pencils to indicate which varieties are indoor sowing and which are outdoor. Now you have a complete sowing guide to keep track of what gets sown when, so you, thankfully, don’t have to remember it all.

Use the organizer to write notes or reminders to yourself in the right column. It’s a great place to make yourself a to-do list such as fertilizing your zinnias, weeding the vegetable garden on Saturday, or whatever else makes your garden successful. This is also the perfect spot to jot down those tips from your local nursery or newspaper. The best part is that you learn from your notes, so that each following year your garden gets better and better.

Speaking of learning, tracking the weather is great information to record for later reference. At the bottom of each day on the calendar is a place to track the weather, including the high and low temperatures of that day. Because the weather has a tremendous effect on your plants’ success, it’s important to record the patterns of your area. Knowing if it was an extraordinarily hot day, or that it rained several inches may be a clue as to why your tomatoes had blossom end rot or your corn grew so early. You may not be able to control the weather, but at least you can learn from how the conditions affected your garden for future planning.

It’s that simple! Print one Botanical Interests calendar template for every month and start getting organized. You’ll have a beautiful—and successful—garden to show for it.

*Note: If you don't already know your average last frost date, contact your local independent garden center or local county Cooperative Extension Service Office. There are also websites that provide maps and charts with frost dates specific to your state, city, or zip code.

Garden Journal, Part 4: Individual Garden Beds

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