Day 23 - Gardening Log

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Gardening. Nothing like harvesting food from the Earth with your own hands. Gardening, like everything else in life, is done best with all the right tools, but a plan is the greatest tool of all. 

I was asked by one of my gardening friends "What would a Journal Layout look like for me?". So I searched, and the findings were sparse. I thought this was a great opportunity to collaborate with him - ultimately reaching out and exposing journaling options for this community! I have included feedback received from my gardening friend in this blog. 

We established that the following information should be captured for each item that a Gardener grows. I have filled it out for Garlic, so you can relate to it.  

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Growing Garlic

  • BOTANICAL NAME: Allium sativum
  • PLANT TYPE: Vegetable
  • SUN EXPOSURE: Full Sun
  • SOIL TYPE: Loamy
  • SOIL PH: Slightly Acidic to Neutral
  • HARDINESS ZONE: 3  4  5  6  7  8
  • PURPOSE: intense flavor and culinary uses, “the stinking rose” is good in the garden as an insect repellent and has been used for centuries as a home remedy.

 

 

PLANTING

  • In the fall for hard frost areas, plant garlic 6 to 8 weeks before that frost date. Old farmers say to plant garlic at the very peak of fall color
  • In southern areas, February or March is a better time to plant.
  • Break apart cloves from bulb a few days before planting, but keep the papery husk on each individual clove.
  • They need deeply cultivated, well-drained, rich soil with a pH of 6.4-6.8. Add 2-3 inches of compost and well-rotted manure to the bed before planting.
  • Lightly scratch in fertilizer
  • Select a sunny spot.
  • Place (in french style) cloves 12 inches apart and 2 inches deep, in their upright position (the wide root side facing down and pointed end facing up). The tip of the garlic should just be visible.
  • Press soil down
  • Mulch 5-8 inches deep with seedless straw.

CARE

  • Northern gardeners should mulch heavily with straw for overwintering.
  • Mulch should be removed in the spring after the threat of frost has passed.
  • Cut off any flower shoots that emerge in early summer.  Shoots can be used for cooking.
  • Weed as needed in the spring.  Add mulch back once plants are 12 inches high to prevent weeds
  • Garlic requires nitrogen. Fertilize accordingly, especially if you see yellowing leaves.
  • Water every 3 to 5 days during bulbing (mid-May through June) up to an inch each week
  • Plants should be fed every other week with a liquid fish emulsion fertilizer once the shoots emerge in early spring until early June

PESTS/DISEASES

  • White Rot fungus in cool weather. rotating your crops and cleaning up the area after harvesting.

HARVEST/STORAGE

  • Harvest when the tips begin to yellow before they are completely dry out
  • Check the bulb size and wrapper quality; you don’t want the wrapper to disintegrate
  • Lift the bulbs with a spade or garden fork. Pull the plants, carefully brush off the soil, and let them cure in an airy, shady spot for two weeks
  • You can also hang them in bunches of 4-6 upside down. Make sure you have good air circulation around the entire bunch. 
  • The bulbs are ready to store when the wrappers are dry and papery
  • Once the garlic bulbs are dry, you can store them. Remove any dirt and trim off any roots or leaves
  • Store in a cool (40 degrees F), dark, dry place for several months
  • Save some of your largest, best-formed bulbs to plant either spring or fall

 

You have all you need to know about what you are growing, now we need to organize the tasks around the growing process. You will also want to add dates to your Future Dates list, maybe call it "Garlic Gardening" and call out the page number of this spread.  You can also add the tasks to Post-it notes so that you can add it to your monthly spread. Reusable year after year after year!

  • FALL TASKS
    • Check for frost date in the Almanac (July/August)
    • Test soil for proper ph
    • Cultivate soil with manure
    • Mulch
  • WINTER TASKS
    • Ensure mulch remains in tact
    • Clean out stored garlic
  • SPRING TASKS
    • Check the Farmers Almanac in March for final frost
    • Remove straw when in the clear
    • Add tasks for weekly weeding & feeding
    • Set water schedule every 3-5 days May & June
    • Look for new garlic recipes
  • SUMMER TASKS
    • Harvest late July/August
    • Set 2-week curing task
    • Store garlic

Here is the finished layout I placed in the example journal I created throughout the challenge. The raffle will be starting in a few days! 

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Some other items to consider:

  • Keep all of the plant stake labels and add them to your pages
  • Take photos of the plants and blooms in your garden and journal about them
  • Make a garden map and mark where plants are going to be added

No matter what way you go, as a Gardener, I think anyone of these Journal layouts will work for you! Reap & Sow! 

Leslie Grossman is the founder of Stitches By Leslie, Inc. and the creator of the patent pending Journal Mate. For more information, reach out info@stitchesbyleslie.com