Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Taking Notes

     When I first got into horticulture it was the first time I'd really done any gardening.  One of the things I always used to tell myself was "I'll remember...."  I'll just remember when I started these seeds, when this problem first appeared, etc.  Sure enough I never got any better at remembering dates.  Taking notes on your garden is an invaluable tool.
     If you'd like to set up a schedule for your garden you'll need to know how long certain crops take to become harvestable or to produce fruit.  Taking notes will tell you how long these things take in your garden.  The number of days a seed pack tells you it takes to get to your first harvest may not be accurate for your area and should be taken as a ballpark timeframe.  Having somewhat detailed notes will also give you an idea of which crops you're growing do really well in your area.  It will help you choose varieties that grow fast and/or strong.
     Notes will also help you with problem solving.  Symptoms may appear ambiguous when they first pop up.  One deficiency may look like another.  Some pests cause similar damage, making identification tough.  By taking notes you can build a symptom complex that will narrow down what exactly is going wrong, which allows you to handle the problem before it gets out of control.  Notes will also highlight any recurring problems that constantly plague your garden so you can prepare for them in the future.
     And one of the most rewarding parts of taking notes is recording your harvest.  Detailed notes will tell you how much space, how many plants, etc. it took to get a certain harvest.  If you'd like to improve your harvest or get more of another variety notes will help you plan for the next season.
     Notes don't have to be extremely detailed.  A date and how the plants are doing is about all you need.  It also helps to record details such as how often you are watering and any amendments/fertilizers you are adding.  If a problem occurs simply record the symptoms and the date they first appeared.  If you keep notes on your garden regularly it will pay off for you.


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