Does anyone keep a Plant Journal or is it just me?


I kept a binder for years with all seed starting, and rooting methods to keep track of what worked and what didn’t. I also had a fruit tree journal and I found that it became too tiring as so much was weather dependant and I can’t control that variable at all.

I did find, however, that bloom time and harvest date records is helpful as it allows me to count the days it took for a particular variety to ripen, and a map of where everything is located is a must for me.

I now just keep a sort of journal that, along with a few paragraphs of growing notes, includes odd bits of information such as a late June snow, grandkids getting trapped in the electric goose fence, or the day we ran the cattle to pasture and they stampeded over my garden twice! Once on the way out and again on the way back because after they reached the road they decided they would rather stay home. There is no saving a carrot row that has been punched down with a cows hoof, or a lettuce that sports a cow patty mulch.


That is about all I do. When i harvest I make comments, like “could have used a week more” Or “perfectly ripe!” . I don’t write a lot down as you mention weather can change everything. I have had cultivars vary harvest date by as much as 30 days. What is important is being able to look at the fruit and tell (by looking) when to harvest. That is a developed skill with experience. The journal helps decide when I start paying attention. I’ve been doing this long enough to know when certain tasks are performed. i don’t really need a reminder. I grow mostly perennials as they require much less attention. For seeds I have bookmarked a site that gives local ground temps. That is my guide as to when to sow seeds. I don’t rely on the journal.


I use to keep notes and plans written down on paper (and still draw plans out for things) but these days I try and keep record of everything on my smartphone. I have locations of plants a daily regular journal that I keep track of life in general and note down when I do anything orchard or garden related, sometimes weather, what is blooming and when certain things are ripening. A running list of what needs to be done and what I want to do as well as things that I need/want to buy. Lately I have been really taking notes of many different varieties of several types of fruits that have been recommended here and many types of misc. data. I can also download pdf files and other lists of orchard related things and upload them to Dropbox so I can view them across my devices.


I admire you Poncho65. I just cant pull myself into a full digital mode. I like the feel of the paper and my handwritten notes too much. I could scan them in, but whats the fun in that?


No admiration :wink: it is just the convenience of having them with me when I am not at home and need to jot something down. I love writing notes and planning things out on paper as well :+1: The way I work and how long during the days I am not home coupled with the longer than average commute (I ride in the morning usually and drive back home in the evenings) it gives me time to read up and get a gameplan. Without the digital aspect I would only be able to rely on my memory and that is something that isn’t as reliable as it use to be :joy: Don’t get me wrong, I am not old yet but nowhere near as young as I use to be…:relaxed:


Poncho65, what ap do you use?


@Vlad Mostly just Samsung Notes. Any text document app should be very similar. I keep it uploaded to dropbox fairly regularly. I have multiple documents started for lots of different topics. Nothing fancy but it keeps me fairly organized :+1:


For free-form notes or lists or a to-do I use I also keep a spreadsheet with separate “tabs” or “sheets” for apple/cherry/pear/peach/etc… Again cloud-based and free:

The suggestion of a walk-through video a few have made… Is interesting and something I may do this year as well.


I may actually start a spreadsheet. I can keep up with what I have right now but when I start grafting and getting many different varieties then it is going to get harder and I need a system to keep track of it all.


Likely to go to pencil and paper when it starts getting complicated :joy: then hopefully I can transfer it to digital… :laughing:


I’m somewhat remiss in keeping notes anymore. But, I’m scatterbrained anyhow sometimes.

But, I used to have a loose-leaf notebook with one page, sometimes two, devoted to each of my 85 hives of honeybees…started in 1985 with three hives, and up to 85 or so around 1990. Then I sold them in 1996.
And had a fire in 1997 and lost the records. Had bloom dates down for fruits as well as all other plants the bees were working on. Knew the genetics of each hive’s queen. Recorded the honey harvested, if any. (Swapped an email not long ago with Kim Flottum at Gleanings in Bee Culture…used to submit monthly reports to him for publication…25+ years ago.)
Need to get a hive or two of bees again…for pollination and my own honey and bee pollen,just keep procrastinating. But, not dozens of hives…no money in it…just a lot of work.
(And no hive beetles, and no bears in these parts back then either!)


I am not sure where you will get your bees from but I met an interesting man here in Ohio that sells bees. I talked with him last year at an apple festival. He says his bees are pretty much disease free because he is careful how he handles them. He says e believes the bigger bee supply places just are not as careful as he is. His failure rate is really low compared to some of the other people that have bees that I talk with.


There are a lot of things that I could improve upon, but I do work hard on documentation. In many ways I enjoy my journaling the most. I have drawings of my fruit each year as I add to the orchard. The relatively small size allows me to document pest, fruit load, things to remember. Trying to start adding hive checking at the same time, queen added, split, etc.

Its a little scary sharing, like showing your diary when you are a kid, but I need to get over that


Wow. That’s a nice looking detailed journal.




Love to see how organized people are :+1: Everything looks great and well organized to me so it probably is even more so to you! I am nowhere near as thorough with my notes and likely they do me no good from year to year as I have no real way of referencing but I enjoy doing it so I will continue :+1:


Wow that is pretty amazing there! Excellent notes love your additions of pictures and great drawings.


I started out using pencil and paper notes and later on started using google sheets (free app). At the bottom you can see tabs for each row/tree with mostly planting and graft information but what I mostly use and find the most useful is the note sheet. I add almost any notes to this this list if I think it pertains to my fruit and nut trees. The notes are for me and I’m the only one that needs to understand.


Nice journal. Great information you kept.


Great way to store information and easily searchable. Thanks for sharing!