What worked for you this year in the garden?  What didn’t?  Now is the time that you should start reflecting on this years accomplishments and learning opportunities.  One of the biggest mistakes I know that I make is telling myself “I’ll remember that next year”.  This is especially true when it comes to certain plants that were a knockout.  I usually end up in the garden center the following spring scratching my head trying to remember.

There are a multitude of different ways that you can record your plant selections:

  • Keeping plant tags together for each container
  • Spiral bound notebook
  • Photographs

Any of these methods will work and you can use them together to make sure that you know what you had in your containers.

Crop-RotationIf you planted a vegetable garden make sure you keep record where you planted.  Many diseases will travel in plant families.  Knowing where you planted your tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant will be helpful.  Crop rotation is one of the easiest methods to reduce plant diseases.  Also while you are at it write down what cultivars you purchased and rate them on their performance.  I would like to point out that this year in the Omaha metro area, tomatoes had a rotten season.  Knowing what cultivars did best for you will help you decide on what you are going to plant next year.

Something else that many of us never think about recording – bloom times.  When we set out to refresh our flower beds knowing what you have blooming at different times of the years will help you decide what to add or even subtract from the garden.  Were you lacking spring blooms but heavy on mid-summer flowers?  Keeping in mind that every year is a little different this should help you fill in those gaps.  Another fun thing that you can keep track of is fall color change of trees.

Taking time to reflect on the season now will hopefully head off headaches down the road.  Now, if you are like me – the hard part will be remembering where you put the journal once you start using it.

Scott Evans
Scott Evans is a horticulture assistant with Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties. A certified arborist through International Society of Arboirculture and Nebraska Arborist Association. Scott is also Tree Risk Assessment Qualified through ISA. Scott co-leads the Master Gardener program in Douglas & Sarpy counties. Along with volunteer management he provides his expertise with disease and insect identification, lawn and landscape weed management, plant health, and I.P.M. practices. He also enjoys growing many houseplants ranging from African violets to cacti and succulents. Scott has two Bachelors of Science, one in Biology (emphasis in Botany, Ecology and Environmental Science) and second in Environmental Geology from Northwest Missouri State University. He earned his Master of Agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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