Mes­sage from the pub­lisher

Ontario Gardener Magazine - - LOCAL DIRT - Ta­nia Mof­fat

When I pur­chased our cur­rent home I was over­come with the de­sire to fill it with gar­dens. Over the years I have learned that it takes an in­cred­i­ble amount of time and fore­thought to achieve my dream. I also needed to man­age my time if I wanted gar­dens that looked beau­ti­ful with plants that thrived.

The most im­por­tant les­son I have learned is to keep a jour­nal. With smart­phones and dig­i­tal cam­eras you can al­ways take a photo record but I still like to keep my writ­ten notes to re­fer to and com­ple­ment my photos. You can ‘geek out’ like I do by pur­chas­ing pretty flo­ral books and cre­at­ing sketches of your gar­dens or just snap photos with your phone and keep them in a file with a spread­sheet to fill out for your records; ei­ther way find a method that is en­joy­able for you.

Jour­nals help you to re­mem­ber what you have bought, planted and where you placed or moved plants from year to year. I find it ex­tremely use­ful to have a record to re­mind me what's planted where so I don't dig it up the fol­low­ing spring. If you have plans you would like to im­ple­ment in your gar­den, short or long term goals, this is the ideal place to record these ideas too.

They are es­pe­cially help­ful with veg­etable gar­den plan­ning to en­sure that you ro­tate crops. Photos and notes will help you to re­mem­ber which plants didn’t thrive in a par­tic­u­lar area and which over pro­duced in fruit or blooms. You can record pest and dis­ease prob­lems to keep an eye out for any re-oc­cur­rance the fol­low­ing year. Take notes on which plants need to be di­vided or moved, or which you want to do­nate to a local plant swap. Record­ing things like rain­fall and fer­til­iza­tion will also help you to un­der­stand why par­tic­u­lar years may have been bet­ter or more chal­leng­ing.

Keep­ing a record of your gar­den will help you to be­come a bet­ter gar­dener, even if you only have a small area. It serves as a won­der­ful re­minder of your suc­cesses and in­sight into what may have gone wrong. How­ever you choose to do it, I en­cour­age you to start your own gar­den­ing jour­nal and hope you en­joy it as much as you en­joy your gar­den.

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