Your Garden Planner and Journal is easy to set up!
Step One: Print What You Need
Look through this PDF and decide if there are any pages you won’t use. This Garden Journal is designed to be scalable and flexible. Similar types of pages are grouped together to make it easy to “print around” what you don’t use and print additional sheets of a certain type when you need them.
For example, the PDF includes both single and two-column versions of the Monthly Observation Sheets. You may know right away that you prefer the two-column format. Or perhaps you don’t start seeds indoors, preferring to buy starts or focus on crops you can direct-seed.
No problem! If some of the sheets in this Garden Planner and Journal don’t fit your organizational style and your garden, just skip printing them!
Similarly, there are Section Divider Sheets for almost every form in this PDF. Just use the ones that make sense for you. Some people will want to break out the Calendar section from the Checklist section, and some people will be happy to file everything under “Monthly Records.”
You can always come back to this PDF and print more copies of something, so don’t worry about getting it perfect right away.
Step Two: Assemble Your Journal
To assemble your garden journal, you will need:
- The printed pages from this PDF.
- A 3-ring view binder (such as Cardinal ClearVue style). Spine Labels are included to fit 1-inch, 1 ½-inch or 2-inch binders. Most gardeners should be fine with a 1-inch binder, but if you take very extensive notes or start many different types of seeds on a huge scale, you may prefer a larger binder.
- Several plastic sheet protectors to hold the Section Divider Sheets (one for each Section Divider you opt to use). There is a Section Divider called “Record Keeping” that is designed to be a catch-all for the various logs included in the Garden Journal. There are also specific Divider Section pages, such as “Seed Starting Log,” “Harvest Log,” etc. I suggest that gardeners who keep less specific records and notes and do more journal-based recording use the “Record Keeping” Section Divider and larger scale gardeners or those who will be keeping more detailed notes use the specific Section Divider Sheets. Of course, it’s your Garden Journal, so make it work for you!
- A set of 12-tab month dividers, available at any office supply store. These are optional, but are nice to have and make it easy to find information month-by-month once your Garden Journal starts to fill up. If they don’t get too wet or dirty, you can use them year after year.
Set the Cover, Spine Label and Section Divider Sheets aside. These should not be hole punched. Hole punch the remaining print outs and cut out the Spine Label that matches your size of your 3-ring binder.
Insert the Spine Label and the Cover Sheet. Place the Section Divider Sheets in their sheet protectors and insert into the binder. I recommend placing the Section Dividers in the binder in the order they appear in the PDF, but feel free to move your sections around based on the organization that makes sense to you.
Insert the appropriate printouts behind their Section Divider Sheets. It’s that simple!
Step Three: Organize Your Journal To Meet Your Needs
One of the great features of The Garden Planner & Journal is its flexibility – you can move or remove or expand sections based on what you need in your garden.
However, sometimes it’s nice to see how someone else is already doing it. So, this is how I organize my Garden Planner & Journal.
- Garden Plan for front beds
- Garden Plan for back beds
- Goals and Projects
- Project Supply List
- Individual Garden Project Planning Sheet
- Crop Rotation Planner and Simple Crop Rotation Guidelines
- Seed & Plant List
Collected and compiled information on the best time to start crops in my area, including my Year Round Vegetable Planting Guide. This information varies from region to region and is therefore not included in this Garden Journal, but check with your local University Extension program and they will have good information for your area. The Year Round Vegetable Planting Guide (Excel spreadsheet) is available as a free download on my website, www.nwedible.com. It will be helpful to people in the Pacific Northwest and similar bio-regions, and as a jumping off point for many year-round gardeners. This is also where I file away garden plans from prior years. I find these are fantastically helpful to keep.
I don’t use this Section Divider, preferring the more specific ones that follow. If you opt to use the Record Keeping Section Divider, file the Seed Starting Log, Sow Out & Transplant Log, Harvest Log, Pest & Disease Log, Soil Amendment Log and Garden Expenses Tracker here.
Seed Starting Log
- Seed Starting Log
Sow Out & Transplant Log
- Sow Out & Transplant Log
Pest & Disease Prevention
- Pest & Disease Log
- Simple Soil Test Log
- Soil Amendment Log
- Harvest Log by Date
- Orchard & Soft Fruit Care Log
- Individual Plant Profile Sheet
Because I organize these items by month behind the Monthly Records Section Divider, I do not use the Checklist, Calendar or Observation Section Dividers.
- 12-tab Monthly Dividers. Behind each appropriate month I keep the appropriate:
- Monthly Checklist
- Calendar Sheet
- Monthly Observations
- Garden Expenses
- I put another sheet protector behind the Garden Expense sheet and stick any big garden order receipts in that.
- Reflections On The Year
- Specific Successes
- Specific Challenges