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I found out this year how fun it can be to try new things in the garden. I have a new Patio Peach tree, which was given to me as a Mother's Day gift, and I have some beautiful wildflowers which I have had a wonderful time watching.
I am going to start keeping a scrap book of the things I like about my garden. It is not just going to be during the growing season, I a going to take pictures of winter snow, and rain and how the garden looks throughout the year. I love comparing the seasons, they are so different here in Northeast Tennessee. Keeping the journal simple and effective and full of fun things will be a goal of mine.
I know it will bring me a lot of joy. I enjoy organizing things, finding out solutions for things that don't work, and just thinking on the simple beauty of things. I will include sketches, bits of flowers, scripture verses that fit each day, words of wisdom, and inspirational quotes. I will include pictures of the kids in the garden, sketches of animals, and what I expect the flowers to do and what they actually did. I will even include pictures of major epic failures, such as when the kittens decided to make a bed in one of my soft succulent plants and ruined the whole potted plant. It really is funny in hindsight.
One of the most important sections will be the one called "Things That Did Not Work" or "What on Earth was I Thinking?" The idea behind this is that I don't want to reproduce any of my previous mistakes. I bought a Berry bush early this year at Walmart on sale. I was so proud of it - just a branch with one or two leaves. The price was great, but it turned out to be a sprawling vine, and not a bush. I will not do that again. I detest the way it goes all over and there are thorns. Not just ordinary thorns, but very painful thorns. It was advertised as a bush and not a vine. I will be ordering my blackberry and blueberry plants from online sources next time.
On another note, I found out what kind of green beans I did not like growing. I am going to grow only plain pinto-bean-green-beans. I compared them to the seeds I bought, and I found that by simply throwing pinto beans out and covering them a little with dirt yields so much more of a quality green bean. Plus the runner green beans were so tough feeling, even though they did grow to a larger size. The pinto-bean-green-beans are much less dry and have much more flavor to them.
The guinea pigs are in heaven when they see me coming to their cage, green beans in hand. They wait in line at the side of their huge cage while I hand one to each of them. They like them much better than the runner beans I tried this year in Phoenix's the rooster's green bean garden. Phoenix hardly let anyone near his garden, it was so cute, he was so protective of "his garden".
Another mistake I will not want to make again, is positioning of the garden. Next year I will move the garden back about three feet since the growth was tumbling out into the walkway, and I had to work extra hard to mow without hurting the flowers that were all over everywhere. They kept getting hung in the lawn mower.
Latin names for species will not be used. However I am going to make a large decorative rock with the words "Te Amo" which is latin for 'I love you'. I will probably write it in Calligraphy. That will be the extent of the use of Latin in my garden journal.
I know right now, that due to the invasive nature of some of the plants in the garden, I will be using more and bigger containers next year.
I have learned through experience that even though the plants I choose to grow are tough and won't kill each other, there is a lot of time that needs to be spent separating and and staking the plants and pulling them apart from one another. The time spent on correcting mistakes could have better been spent in the garden enjoying it with a cup of tea.
I will probably not be over technical (rainfall, first and last frost dates, fertilizer, daily temperatures, hours of sunlight, etc). I will, however, put in my journal some of the more common less technical things, such as first planting date, the time it took to germinate, what kind of watering worked best, also what kind of pests, and how the plant did with other invasive plants.
Plants are not the only things that are an invasive presence in my garden. How the plant holds up to my curious animals is also very important. Elephant Ears would never make it and neither would Tulips.
I have never seen such a graceful and yet heavy tree, as my Patio Peach Tree. It is full of peaches, and yet Bruno, my Rottie mix, goes out there everyday to look at it and walk under its branches. All I can think is that he loves the smell of the peaches. The tree is so short he knocks all the branches and the tree is still holding up. Also the storms that bent over much bigger trees, did not seem to phase the Patio Peach Tree at all.
No journal of mine would be complete without some poems to go with the journal, some recipes, and some sketches of what I saw when I just went out there not to work but to just reflect. I will probably include some recipes, for some of the vegetables grown in the garden too.
Seed storage will be documented in the journal/scrapbook also. I will be able to put where the seed are for next year. Paper envelopes and spice jars full of seeds in the house will be on a "Journal GPS System". I will no longer find a full envelope of seeds at the end of the growing season, because I forgot where I stored them. Also any supplies such as dirt, potting soil, etc., will have the locations mapped out in the journal. This will be very helpful. Any free seeds I get will be recorded with the company address and results.
When the journal gets full, brimming with creative notes, and pictures and keepsakes, I will then take the best of the drawings, notes, and samples and transfer them to into photo album. Also, I will probably do crafts, and make stationary etc, make little mementos of the garden to have in the house during that years winter. I will probably make little leaf pictures to frame and hang on the wall.
I will collect different resources, websites, and tips throughout the year to use in the next garden. I will purchase new gloves and a few little decorations new for the next year. Turtles are my favorite. I will probably turn an upside down old bowl into a turtle shell, paint it, and put a head on it and legs, probably from recycled materials. If I do, I will post it onThriftyFun as a tip for garden decor or in the crafts section.
My theme for next year in the garden is going to be blue, and I read on here about using Tulle, and I am familiar with studies which suggest that the color blue is healthful all around, and I am going to find out once and for all if the sun shining down through the tulle onto the garden will help with the success of the garden, and also the reaction of the insects, which according to studies I have read, are disgusted by the color of blue tulle and the sun shining through it onto the plants. We, on the other hand, have our health boosted and our nerves calmed by this color blue.
I have tons to think about, craft about, and make memory albums about and it is going to be an exciting journey for me besides the actual benefit to the garden. I will not have to rely so much on my memory which will be a great relief to me.
And as usual I will start next season by throwing some humble, yet hardy, pinto beans out in the dirt, and watching to see when they germinate, and usually that is the time for me to plant the majority of the plants I will use that year. It may not be technically correct to do this, but it sure works! Like everything else I try to do and be, it is simple and frugal too!
Blessings and Peace.
By Robyn from TN
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Start a vegetable garden journal now so you can begin planning for next year. Use a notebook of any sort and notate things you think would be helpful in future planning.
I preach keeping records of all your flowers, and I am the one guilty of not doing so. Not having truly permanent markers nor a camera or computer, I did tend to get sloppy with my record keeping. Now I have all three. There's no excuse.
I have a gardening folder in my computer and I write a lot of notes, especially about things I did wrong. Sometimes though, having a physical object in your hand can be handier and faster than a computer.
Now that things are winding down for most gardeners, you may be able to find a little more time to organize your thoughts and reflect on the successes and disappointments of the past season.