I must admit I am a bit of a notebook freak, I love making sketchbooks and you will find atleast 20 notebooks sitting in my room which haven’t been written in yet (I probably brought them because they were so pretty!) I love documenting things so when it came down to finding a suitable gardening journal it took me a while to find one I liked. Now I know there are a few allotment diaries around but I found that most of them contained a fair amount of pages telling you how to grow things instead of including valuable writing space. I was after a diary which was a diary and not a reference book, a diary which would allow me space to record my first year on my allotment so I could later look back on it for references and tips.
I found this particular journal one night when searching the internet and it is simply called ‘Gardener’s Journal’, by Sophie Conran for Burgon and Ball (it points this out on the front cover which I’m tempted to make my own label to stick over it) It is A5 in size and has a lovely print on the front and back along with an elasticated strap to secure the book closed. It was the inside of the book which interested me however and it didn’t dissapoint, it even had a lovely quote inside the cover which reads ‘A journal is one of the most helpful tools a gardener can have’.
It has dividers down the side for each month of the year, handy for future reference and the pages in each month are the same, just simply repeated. Some of the months share the same divider, including Jan/Feb and Nov/Dec, simply due to these months being rather quiet on the gardening front. One of my favourite pages is a double spread for attaching small photographs too, I am obssessed with taking photographs so this is perfect for me, I also think its great to look back throughout the year and see your progress in photographs aswell as writing.
There is also a monthly to-do list at the start of each month aswell as a weekly planner and doodle area. You get to check each to-do item off the list which makes it extremely helpful, especially when your someone like me who forgets to do things without being reminded! You can treat the little weekly calender as a diary, writing down important dates or when you plant certain things. Another double page consists of a weather log where you can record the date, the highest and lowest temperature, the wind speed, sunlight and the rainfall. At the end of each month are 2 pages of lined paper for notes so you can write down other important information like which seeds you purchased, any advice and tips etc.
After all the monthly dividers have ended, which takes up around two thirds of the journal, is a section called ‘Planning and Documenting’. This section has 4 double pages called ‘Planting Diary’ where you can record the variety, when is was sown, when it germinated, when it was planted out, fertilized and when it flowered or fruited. It also has 12 double pages called ‘Special Plant notes’, pages of grid paper and plain paper for planning and doodles. And last but not least is a small ‘Snippets’ expanding page which is attached to the back cover for holding plant labels or seed packets etc.
Overall I am chuffed with my new little allotment journal, it does exactly what I need it to do and this is simply to record my successes and my failures during my first year. This way I can look back and change certain areas, try different techniques and most of all learn by my mistakes and celebrate my triumphs. Now all I need to do it fill it up!