I keep a garden journal, sketching the gardens each year so I can rotate my crops.The name of the seeds or plants, I jot them down. I realize I will forget which corn or tomato variety I planted by the time the following year comes around again!
In my journal I mark the date of the first ripe tomato and ear of corn.
I note the crop failures and replants.
As the season progresses I start processing the bounty and the dates.
This summer I started picking blueberries mid June and was done mid July. I made raspberry jam mid June and peach jam mid August. I started making tomatillo sauce in July. All September I was making tomato sauce and tomato paste.
This year I bought a food dehydrator. Usually I just cut basil and put it to dry on a cookie sheet out in the sun. 90 degree weather in August and drying is done in a day. Come September, as the days get shorter and cooler it can take one tray of basil 3-5 days to dry. The dehydrator is great. For the first time ever I took left over peppers and dried them into hot and not so hot pepper flakes.
After the season is over and everything is picked, processed, dried, canned and frozen, I write my suggestions for the next year.
In the cold snowy days of January, I pick up my garden journal and think of spring. Time is spent daydreaming of new plants and warmer, drier weather. When the seed catalogues come in the mail, thoughts of spring are ripe for planning.
Like any journal I can look back on past years. Did I really in 2009 freeze 10 jars of pesto? What did I do with that much pesto? My journal doesn’t say.
This year with my food dehydrator I dried herbs for gifts. I found really cute spice jars. There is parsley, basil, sage, rosemary, basil, peppers, chili peppers, spearmint and catnip. I had catnip, sage and the spearmint drying at the same time. In pulling off the racks a bit of catnip might have mixed with the sage and mint. If I get a bit extra spunky oh well. I did note in my garden journal not to dry catnip with other herbs! Meow!!
Do you keep a garden journal?