Keeping a Simple Gardening or Homestead Notebook

by Marcie
notebook with notes on gardening, house remodels, trees to plant, and how to raise animals.

When we moved across the country last year to my forever home I wanted to keep track of everything I did in our yard. This would help year after year so I would know what date I planted the peas, which day I pruned the plum tree.

I don’t share any of this to brag. If so I’d have a fancy app or download or something. I share a simple notebook and journaling method that works for me and hopefully it helps someone out there.

Gardening Notes

Keeping a gardening notebook or journal sounds intimidating but it’s very simple. I’m the queen of efficiency and simplicity. I’m also a fan of paper and pencil. I got a piece of notebook paper and wrote “Gardening Calendar” across the top. (Now that I think about it, “Gardening Journal” is a better title.) Then on each line wrote the date and something that I noticed or did that day. For example, this year’s notebook page looks like this so far:

1-28 Pruned the grapes.

2-7 Tiny leaves on roses. Pruned them.

2-9 Five yellow crocuses blooming by lamppost. Pruned the back grapes.

2-10 Pruned the blueberries. First yellow flower on forsythia at trail head.

2-13 First daffodil bloom.

2-14 Cleaned the wildflower garden. Pruned the figs.

2-15 Planted first lettuce, spinach and arugula seeds!

It’s really fun to keep track of. Now that it’s our second year here it’s fun to read the notes from last year. You can compare when the first daffodils bloomed last year verses this year. When the first asparagus came up. It helps you remember when you planted which seeds. Which day you picked your first strawberry or tomato. It only takes 30 seconds to make a note and saves you lots of time trying to remember when was the last freeze last year? Or how many watermelon plants you planted and how many watermelons you got.

For those who want to see the actual pictures. Here are my pages from my gardening calendar from last year.

Planting Notes

I also grabbed a piece of notebook paper and in January listed out all the food I wanted in my garden. (This did not count the fruit or nut trees) Then as I planted it I put a check mark by it and noted the date I planted the seeds. The garlic and asparagus were already here so I just noted the day I first started picking it. A few crops I never did plant.

List of all the seeds I want to plant with the dates that I plant them.
My wishlist of all the food I’d plant and the dates I sowed the seeds.

The garden we had in North Carolina was really small and we simply dug up a small area, went to Lowes and bought some plants. Then we came home and planted them. Done. In one day. Here our garden is much larger. I’m planting much more. A lot of the seeds have different soil temperature requirements so they go in on different days. Some I do succession planting. So it’s important for a successful garden that I write it all down. Read my post on planning your garden here.

Use a Simple 3 Ring Binder

When I first made a goal to buy a country house I made a 3 ring binder and put different farm categories in it: animals, plants & trees, gardening, house, property. Then when I read a book about goats I would make notes about what breed I wanted in the animal section. I’d research wood burning stoves and make notes under house stuff. Another day I’d read about fencing and put my notes about it in my notebook under property. The kids contributed by researching animals, plants and trees they wanted too. It was really fun to plan and dream while I waited for my divorce to be final and saved money so I could move. It helped it become more real, that it was really going to happen. And helped me be prepared when I did buy a 36 acre farm only 8 months later.

Now that I’m here I write about what I’m doing in each category. For instance my house category has all our projects recorded in it: The color of paint I’ve bought for each bedroom and dates I painted. The company I bought the balustrades from, measurements they needed to be, how many I’d need, the youtube video I watched to learn how to install them, etc. The date I installed them. Where I got the rugs for each bedroom and the price. You get the picture. This has proved invaluable. Especially since I’m single and have to keep track of everything.

notebook with notes on gardening, house remodels, trees to plant, and how to raise animals.
My Farm/Homestead notebook

So get yourself a 3 ring binder, make dividers, and start writing your gardening plans and gardening happenins. Add a section for house repairs, remodels, large purchases (ceiling fan or water heater). Add any sections you want and all your house/property stuff will be in one place. Or if you live in an apartment just get a cheap spiral notebook and only keep a gardening journal along with notes from season changes around your city. It is so rewarding and you’ll be glad you did!

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