Veterans Corner: Journaling for your garden or your veggie logbook

Lovay Wallace SingletonYour garden journal is the way that you keep track of the events in your garden. The most important step is to make sure that you log consistently. After a while it will become second nature and once you see how helpful it can be in the following year, you won’t start a season without it. Schedule a time that is convenient and conducive to your schedule.

So how do you start? First you have to get a journal: lined or unlined it is up to you. Is purple your favorite color, do you like hummingbirds? In the military we are used to logging so many things that it almost becomes second nature to want to track things. But this is for fun and not supposed to be a lot of official “by the book” rules. So let your imagination run wild.

Put a name on it, a date and start writing. The first thing is an outline of your garden; are you doing one raised bed draw a large square on a page and start inserting the plants that you want to grow. Do you prefer a marker, pencil or crayon? Well it’s your journal and you use what you want, to draw your plan. Pencil works best if it is your first one because you will want to change.

Keep your journal handy when you are doing your Google searches on plant characteristics, if you are going to a Cooperative Extension program scribble tips in it and if you are going shopping take it with you so that you can remember the name of the plant or seed that you wanted to try. There may be magazine articles of a pest management method that you will want to tuck in between the pages.

But even that is not the most important part of your journaling. What seeds did not work, what did the weather do: positive and negative, what will you do different next year? In the military we call this the after action report: any form of retrospective analysis on a given sequence of goal-oriented actions previously undertaken.

But your garden journal will be so much more fun. Add drawings, names of contacts, cost of plantings, harvest amounts and finally what were your failures and your successes. Good luck and happy journaling. Next time seed starting or how much ammo do you really need?

By Contributing Author: Lovay Wallace Singleton, Founder and Executive Director of the Veterans Employment Base Camp and Organic Carden