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The Challenge of Record Keeping

The Sandbox Bed

The Sandbox Bed

In the excitement of getting plants in the soil, don’t forget to make some notes about this season’s garden for your future self. You might think you’ll remember what varieties were planted or what plants went where, but odds are you won’t; there are just too many details to keep track of! Any method of record keeping will pay off in the short term, when you fall in love with a particular tomato and you know its name, as well as in long run, with plant rotation and next year’s planning– so you can plant that wonderful tomato again! The trick is to keep your notes some place handy so you’ll have them when you need them.

The Sandbox Bed with Labels

The Sandbox Bed with Labels

This year, I’m trying a technique I’ve seen other gardeners use successfully: labeled digital photos of each of the garden beds. Given how simple it is to take a good picture with a camera phone and how easy it is to annotate a photo with words, there’s no good reason why I haven’t used this practice before. Here’s the Sandbox Bed with 6 tomato plants of different varieties, all labeled.

I also like this technique better than leaving the plastic tags stuck in the soil. Those tend to get covered with mulch or moved away from the right plant or lost altogether.

The End Cap Bed Labeled

The End Cap Bed Labeled

For years, we kept a paper gardening journal, which was also handy for making notes and record keeping. It was also fun to look over our garden history and remember what we learned and grew. Even now, pen and paper are the quickest way to jot down garden plans and kept track of what was planted where. Those paper notes are easy to lose however, so I’m going to be doing more digital record keeping this gardening season.

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