- Author: Dottie Deems
Sometimes I feel the need to be more organized and sometimes it is PAPER can only resolve the need. There are times and things where a computer, laptop, or cell phone will not do. Yes, I must admit that writing on lined paper with either a pen or pencil feels more creative and more fulfilling. Paper, pens, and pencils are like a comfortable pair of bedroom slippers. A plastic keyboard could never feel that warm and welcoming. Honestly, I feel like I have accomplished something when I get to cross something off my to-do list.
One of the things I am trying to do this summer is write a book. Not just any book, but my own gardening journal. A clean sheet of lined paper does not scare me. It means freedom.
I searched for a gardening journal or diary for several years now and have not been able to find just the right thing. I have finally figured out that I must be suffering from “Three Bears Syndrome”. Some of those pre-printed books have way too many topics, subtopics, and so on. Places for my own photos and entire pages for diagrams that I would have to squish words onto. Then there are the pages that are pre-numbered for lists of plant varieties, seeds, brands of fertilizers, not to mention the unnumbered pages given over to memorializing compost recipes. I need SPACE. I need FREEDOM. Those pre-printed journals are not for me. If I do not fill in the all the boxes and places for lists, I know I will feel like a failure. I know I would have a growing desire to personalize the journal, so why not start where any proper book begins, with a blank page? I am feeling half- way to feeling fulfilled already.
What do I want in My Garden Journal? Isn't that where I must start?
I would have to begin with the date I start my journal and my location. Making room for my address. including my ZIP code plus my gardening zone and the last frost date are things that would be at the top of my list. I would want a plot plan of my property including measurements. I would need a compass on the page too. I could make notes about the angle of the sun and how many hours of full sun, part sun, and shade the parts of the garden will get. Oops, am I really going to cover my entire 10,000 square foot lot? I could start with just one portion like my vegetable garden. That does not sound so daunting. I could add other areas as I go along, like the re-designed patio and flower beds. If I used the same measuring criteria, the continuity would be there. Oh, and since this is a work in progress, I better sharpen my pencils. Pens and markers might seem so formal AND final!
If My Garden Journal is only going to cover my vegetable garden, I will need a measured diagram including points of the compass, the direction of the sun, and any objects that might block the sun like my house, my neighbor's trees, and even my fence. I can add my raised beds and irrigation lines too.
I have not gotten too far along, but it sure seems like I have made a lot of work for myself! I have not even mentioned a plant yet. At least everything is in pencil!
I planned on this being the year I would be adding three or four inches of good compost to each of my raised beds. If I cannot afford a professional soil test, at least I can get a little kit and do that job myself. OK, I forgot to leave pages for my budget, things I budgeted for and what I have spent. I do not recall seeing a page for a budget in any of those “store bought” journals.
All of this did not happen overnight, and I am learning as I go. Two steps forward and one step back. Journaling was never my plan years ago, but it is fun and fulfills my desire to create something of my very own.
Improving my soil in the raised beds will be my next step after I test it and determine what it needs. Will you come back and follow my progress? I hope so.