Saturday, July 6, 2013

Saturday Farmer's Market - A Garden Journal

Created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and now hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

UPDATE from last week:

Remember that stump from last week? Well, we found a large clay saucer in the garden store that had been 'antiqued' and sealed. My husband secured it with water based construction adhesive. 

What do you think? 

It's understated, but I think the birds will appreciate a little respite from the heat. I hope so, anyway.

UPDATE #2: Our first little plum crop is all in. There wasn't enough to preserve, but we've been eating the sweetest, juiciest fruit I've ever tasted. Perhaps it will get old one day, but this is not that day.

UPDATE #3: The weather here has been abominable! We usually don't deal with too much in the way of extreme temperatures until about mid August. This year those temperatures hit before the end of May, and we've had several runs as high as 112 (122 in Sacramento!). The weeks leading up to the holiday have been averaging 16 degrees above normal for this time of year. My camomile is not doing well, which will cut into my tea reserves, (I feel like such a farmer with all the worry about the weather!) and it looks like I lost my blackberries. The Master Gardeners tell me that water is not the issue, they just don't like this kind of heat. Although I was looking forward to homemade blackberry sauce on my ice cream, part of being a gardener is accepting defeat gracefully.

Keep careful record 
of all operations, 
with eventual results,
for future guidance . . .

 - John Horner
A Cottage Garden.

7/5/13 - Watered the trees in front; Three more plums; Watered all the pots & chamomile; weeded lavender & mail box beds; picked peppers, tomatoes & cucumbers; . . . 

Do any of you keep a garden journal? I do, and it has brought a wonderful added dimension to my gardening (and my memory). This is my fourth year, fourth journal, in an ever evolving series. I use old fashioned composition books and started out, like in the entry above, recording date and garden activities. I taped in the ID/care tags from any thing I planted, and decorated (outside & in) with pictures and quotes from garden magazines. I also jotted down any ideas I had and kept a wish list.

With the advent of my new 'orchard,' I decided that I needed to be able to reference what I had done to each tree & when, as well as have any other pertinent information easily accessible. So this year I created a kind of permanent reference. I set it up with different sections, and even drew out my beds and marked all the perennials in them. The journal has ten different section and has really been handy this year.

This is my indoor cat, Snowball.
 (Yes, there is a story behind that.)
She escaped, and was sure I couldn't get her
 - three feet up, in the crepe myrtle.
The useful things I put in my journal are:

CONTENTS: You would be surprised how important this section is. I didn't put it in initially and I regretted it. Luckily, I left a few empty pages in the front of the book!

BEDS: This is where the the drawings of all my beds are, each with a list of its plants.

PHONE #S: Soooooo handy! (master gardeners, hardware stores, local garden centers, poison control, bee swarm experts, pizza delivery, etc.) All in one place.

FRIENDS: This section contains anything I need to remember about the tiny folk who share my garden with me, from birds to bugs - and beyond.

CHEMICALS: Fertilizer, or any other evil concoction I might use, is recorded in this section. (No plausible deniability, here)
LIST: All my trees, flowers, and such are listed here with their planting dates and a page #.

DETAIL: Each perennial plant in the garden has a couple of pages set aside in this section, where I record its progress, issues, etc. This will keep me from repeating past mistakes. (only garden mistakes, unfortunately) The page numbers from the last section are where each plant resides in this section.

ODDS & ENDS: Ideas, wish lists, projects: they all go here. My watering schedule and anything someone else might need to know if I'm out of the picture are here as well.

ANNUALS: After this gardening season got underway, I realized that I had no place to keep track of my veggies and annual flowers. This is it.
I also pasted the Julian calender inside the front (and the one for leap years inside the back). This makes figuring germination and harvest dates a snap.

Slugs used to be a real problem, but when I started feeding the birds it disappeared almost completely, and they bring so much joy and fun to the garden. Not to mention, they make for a wonderful soundtrack.

A small wild bird feeder and a hummingbird feeder both hang beneath the canopy of my crepe myrtle tree.

As for the daily entries that make it more of a real journal, I kind of miss them, and I'm debating what to do about that. Keeping a second journal seems a bit unwieldy, but maybe funneling all the daily thoughts into my poetry is an option.

 . . .  Yes! That's it!  . . .

Poets write stories in verse!
Maybe I can write the first gardening journal in verse!

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