Tips & Tasks: Garden Journaling

— Written By Megan Gregory and last updated by
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Sample garden journal

image by Kathleen Moore

Whether you’ve been gardening for a year or decades, every season brings new lessons about your site and soil, plants that do (and don’t) prosper, adapting to a changing climate, and more. But will you remember the lessons of 2019 come spring 2020—the spot that’s too shady for sun-loving plants, which vegetable varieties were most productive, and when to put row cover over your greens to protect them from cabbageworms?
As this growing season ends, now is the time to update your garden journal. These records will help you make future decisions about crop rotation, variety selection, soil amendments, and fertilizers, timing your plantings, and cultural practices to prevent pest and disease problems.
Here are a few things to include:

  • A map of beds and plantings is essential for crop rotation planning.
    include notes on crop varieties, such as yield, eating quality, disease resistance, and—for lettuce and brassicas—heat tolerance (resistance to bolting).
  • Record soil test results and fertilizers applied.
    Describe weather conditions, gardening tasks, and pest and disease problems to help plan your work in future years.
  • You can download a journal template at For more suggestions on garden journaling, see Appendix A of the NC Extension Gardener Handbook.

More information on garden journaling.

—Megan Gregory

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