Tracking the Mood of the Gardener

Swiss chard--January 2010

Swiss chard from the winter of 2010

A Root Simple reader I ran into this weekend took issue with my assertion that fall is the best time to start a vegetable garden in Southern California.

Thinking about it some more I think she may have a point. Some of you may have noticed that we have a new feature on the blog–if you click on an individual blog post you’ll see a list of related posts at the bottom. Looking at some of those older posts showed that I have an annual vegetable gardening freakout around November. Why? Two factors: freak heatwaves (that are common here in the fall) as well as skunk activity which is related to applying compost (they are digging for grubs). So it may be, in fact, better for us to delay planting by two months, at least in our central Los Angeles microclimate.

The moral of the story is that it’s valuable to keep records for your vegetable garden, specifically:

  • Planting
  • First and last harvest
  • General observations–taste, flavor etc.
  • Mood!

Gardening and human consciousness are very much intertwined. Our thoughts effect what happens in the physical world and vegetables are heavily dependent on our interventions. Looking back at old blog posts as well as reader comments have led to many insights. If you don’t already, keep a gardening diary.

So what kind of records do you keep?

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7 Comments

  1. I keep a log of-

    Seeds,did they grow well and did we like them.Which company they came from and where/how we got the seed from the company.
    Chickens,personalities and laying habits.
    Veg and fruits we bought for canning,where we bought (I keep the phone numbers to the farms.)how much we bought and how many jars we got.
    Dates we planted fruit trees and when the tree produced.Same for berries.
    Resources for things we have needed and people who could help us in the future with whatever may come up.Also the free things available around town.

    It helps,my Grandparents taught me to do this so I am keeping a family tradition.

  2. I (try) to keep a log of varieties that do well and not so well, so I don’t replant them the following season. So far beefsteak tomatoes never work out (the blossums always drop), but small to mediums are quite prolific. I’m not sure why that is, I might have to go around pollinating each one by hand or something.. :/

    • Do you think it has to do with the lack of bumblebees in the Los Angeles area? I noticed when I visited the east coast they had lots of cute little native bumblebees.. only carpenter bees here, and they love my sage but not much else..

  3. I keep a log which I update every couple of weeks. My headings under each date are:
    1. What we’ve planted
    2. What we’ve harvested
    3. Waste not (stuff we’ve re-purposed)
    4. Want not (stuff we’ve bought new, if anything)
    5. What we’re eating (to keep track of what we’ve canned and eaten)

    These aren’t my idea, I borrowed them from Sharon Astyk and her farm log, but I’ve found they give me a really good idea about what’s going on around here — our growing, our spending and our harvesting and consumption of what we grow.

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