|My collection of plant tags|
For the past five years, I’ve been saving every plant tag, receipt and invoice with plans to eventually set up a spreadsheet or start a garden journal. That has never happened though. Just too many plants, too little time.
With the New Year, though, I resolved to make a fresh start. I would take my bulging file folder with all that information and turn it into something useful. Surely there was a ready-made solution out there for me. I checked out several possibilities: bound journals, three-ring binder systems, computer software and on-line garden tracking services.
None of these turned out to be exactly what I wanted. Most were strong in some areas but weak in others. Many were pricey and/or not that user friendly. And the idea of spending even more time at the computer keyboard than I already do just wasn’t that appealing.
I'm a bit discouraged but a garden organizer still sounds like a good winter project. How else can I track which plants I have in my garden, especially when those baby bunnies nibble on my perennial geraniums? (Let's see. Was that a Rozanne or Johnson’s Blue?)
I’d also like to track bloom times, bulb locations, fertilization, pruning, pests and soil analysis/amendments. A “to do” list and a plant “wish list” would be nice as well.
So I’m now in the process of using Microsoft Word and Excel to create pages like those I found online.
If you're interested, check out the garden journal templates at gardensandcrafts.com and Hobby Farm. Other templates on the Web include Homestead Garden, Gardening Quick n Easy and Northern Gardening. The University of Illinois Extension has an especially nice garden journal page for kids. If you're a seed starter or vegetable gardener, there's Arbico Organics and Blue Boardwalk.
Wish me luck. If I get really ambitious, I may splurge on a customized three-ring binder. It all depends on how far I get before the first plants emerge this spring.
After that, all bets are off.
By Karen Geisler