As you are wrapping up your garden tidying for the season, there is one task that is easily overlooked: writing in your garden journal.
It doesn't matter if you have a fancy one or a simple one, but what does matter is that you write in it!
My journal (pictured above) was given to me by my mom many years ago. It's pretty well organized and is filled with delightful illustrations throughout. If you don't want to purchase one, you can create a simple journal using a notebook or a binder filled with loose-leaf pages and dividers with pockets. Those dividers can come in handy for storing magazine articles you've clipped out or leaflets on interesting products you've picked up at a home and garden show.
I've been using a garden journal for years and it really helps me become a better gardener. I use it to list what went well and what didn't, which new cultivars are worth growing again and which ones weren't worth the time and space. Experiences with troublesome insects are included in the information because chances are I'll need to come up with a strategy for dealing with them again next year.
And while I hate to admit it, my memory isn't what it used to be. Many times, I am certain I'll remember the details about something that happened for the next year's garden, but that can be pretty hard to do. So the journal keeps me on track.
Another thing I like about journals is that it makes each garden easier to grow because I've listed when certain tasks need to be taken care of. If I have it all written down -- or most of it, at least -- I don't have to waste time trying to figure it out all over again, year after year.
And last but not least, I frequently learn wonderful gardening tips from my Master Gardener colleagues, neighbors and readers. That's valuable information I want to carry forward into future garden seasons.
So take the time to jot down some notes about how your garden did this year and I am certain it will become an annual habit that helps you become an excellent gardener.