Keeping a Garden Journal
Keeping a garden journal is a great way to teach your kids how to track the highs and lows of a garden. By recording plant varieties, sowing and harvest times, unexpected issues, and favorite growing methods, kids will create a beautiful and useful tool that gives insight into the wonders of a garden from one year to the next. Scientific observations such as weather patterns, rain amounts, and pollinators in the garden can be coupled with sensory observations- smells in the air, the texture of a favorite flower, sounds of wind in the leaves- to create a fantastic and lasting memory of summer in the garden.
Garden Journals don’t have to be all writing- they are a perfect place to press flowers, create leaf rubbings, and add drawings. You can include other academics as well. Math can be incorporated by creating a line chart to track plant heights. You can add vocabulary words such as “photosynthesis” and “hydration” in proper context.
Whatever form a personal journal takes it will be a valuable resource in the garden from one season to the next.
What You Need:
• A notebook. Just about anything will do, but a three-ring binder can work very well for adding in lined paper, blank pages for drawing/leaf rubbings/plant pressings, graph paper, and even folders to hold plant tags.
• Pen or highlighter
• Colored pencils
• Parchment Paper
What to Do:
1. A journal is meant to be a record of big and small events in the garden. Here are a few basics to get started:
2. A sketch of the garden (graph paper can be helpful here). See if you can teach your child to sketch a plan of the garden in scale. Include a key to plant tags if you have the tags on hand.
3. Pictures of the garden, either drawn or photographed
4. A plant list that includes a basic description, light/soil needs (or where it currently is planted).
Keep Track Of:
• When the seeds were sown and transplanted, and where the seeds and plants are from. Costs can also be figured in for a mathematical bonus.
• The length of time it takes to flower
• The length of time it takes to fruit
• Notable pests
• Pollinators that are attracted to the plant
Observations can be made on a daily or weekly basis, but journals should be updated as often as time allows. The garden is a dynamic living thing and the changes from week to week will amaze you!