I have been journaling this summer; have you?
Some days it isn’t as easy as others to sit down and write what was going on in my garden, and on those days I take a lesson from the Extension Master Gardener Blogs’ “Wordless Wednesdays” and add some photographs I have taken. In these cases, a picture is worth a thousand words!
Using a computer to expedite journal entries
Other times the words just fly from my fingers onto the keyboard. And this is why I prefer to do my journaling on the computer. Gone are the days when “Ladies of Leisure” had the time to sit and write their thoughts in a beautifully bound, lovingly designed paper journal, perhaps with a quill pen and some perfumed ink. Who has time for that in 2013?
So the computer comes to the rescue because – even as slow as I type – I can type faster than I can legibly write.
The computer has some other benefits, too. I can add my digital photos right into the document. They can be sized to what I need to make my point, or they can be deleted and replaced if I take a better photo tomorrow. Besides, if you are reading this blog, you are computer-literate enough to create one of your own.
Step 1) Start by opening a new document and saving it as “Garden Journal, 2013” or whatever name you choose.
Step 2) Optional. Add a header and use some clip art to jazz it up (if you want to get fancy)
Step 3) Set a page aside for each month. This is another benefit to computers: if you need more pages in any one month, just keep typing. The computer adjusts for you. Some months I have as many as six pages; in the winter that may dwindle to a half a page instead. I do try to add something each month, even if it’s only rainfall amounts or a plant I saw in a catalog that I want to try next year.
Step 4) Be sure to include the date and year in each entry. This helps keep you organized.
Step 5) Add some photos by using the “insert” tab. When you are finished writing for the day, add photos. You can use the formatting tool to adjust the size, crop the photo, wrap the text around it or add a caption. Captions can be helpful to identify the plant in the future.
Step 6) Save the document! It should go without saying to be sure to save the document when you are done!
Step 7) Print when you have completed each month or year. At the end of the year, I print my year’s journal entries and keep it in a three-ring binder for future reference.
Using tabs to mark the years is a helpful organizing tool, too. And I bought some photo sleeves so I can add pages with my plant labels as well as some hand-drawn maps of plantings, too.
Other pages of gardening information from magazines or newspapers can also be included. It’s your journal; include what you need!
In a few years, you will be amazed at how much information you have been able to gather by being the least little bit organized on a daily basis.
~ Carla Albright, Tillamook County Oregon Master Gardener
Have you started a garden journal yet? What are you including? What format do you use?