Why you should start a gardening journal

a model sitting and writing in their journal

Gardening is a rewarding hobby that provides the satisfaction of connecting with the earth, caring for something alive, and growing your own food, flowers, or succulents. You may have gotten into it because you find peace in it and it continually teaches you new things, no matter how old you are or how many years of experience you have.

Journaling is a great way to compound the benefits you get from gardening, keep track of your progress, and the lessons that you have learned.

What is a gardening journal?

A gardening journal can be whatever is meaningful to you. The bottom line is, that a gardening journal is any journal you keep about gardening.

This might mean that you log what seeds you’ve started, the dates that they sprouted, the types of soils and amendments you’ve used, and the weekly rain quantity.

It might also mean that you draw pictures of your plants or your future vision of your garden, you use stickers, or write poems about the feelings that gardening elicits.

There is no wrong way to keep a gardening journal! Whatever type of journaling feels meaningful to you is the proper way to do it.

How to use a gardening journal

There are tons of different ways that you can use your gardening journal:

  • Draw out and plan your gardening space
  • Track what you plant, when you plant them, and the dates they sprout
  • Track the daily or weekly rainfall, and/or the amount of watering you do
  • Create to-do or bullet lists for gardening tasks
  • Write about how gardening makes you feel
  • Write about the things you want to do differently next year
  • Draw pictures of the plants you are growing
  • Draw a picture of the vision you have for your future garden
  • And much more!

Benefits of journaling

Journaling is a powerful tool for learning and exploring your inner self. And it isn’t just anecdotal: there is plenty of science and research to support the benefits of journaling.

Improved memory

Expressive writing has been shown to increase memory capacity. This extends to writing expressively about thoughts and feelings, and even negative experiences.

Mental health

Journaling is known to help manage negative symptoms of mental health like anxiety, stress, and depression. It can also help positive factors of mental health like prioritization and positive self-talk.

Physical healing

One study found that writing thoughts and feelings had significantly improved physical healing. The researchers think this was because writing about negative events helped the participants reduce their distress and cortisol levels, which can negatively impact the immune system.

Learning from your mistakes

If you journal to track your gardening habits, it’s a great way to learn from past mistakes and have an even more abundant garden next year. You might find that your seeds from a particular brand struggled, that you didn’t have sufficient draining with a particular type of pot, or that you had an overabundance of a vegetable that you really didn’t love.

Tracking your gardening, and the feelings that it inspires, is a great way to learn from it and grow your connection with it.

Types of gardening journals

There is no wrong way to keep a gardening journal, so depending on your style there are a variety of different types of journals you can keep.

Gardening bullet journal

Bullet journaling has become a very popular option for gardeners over the last few years. You can use a bullet journal to capture thoughts, feelings, track habits, express yourself artistically, or any other variety of journaling activities.

A bullet journal itself is a notebook that contains a grid of small dots on each page. You can find fun designs that match your gardening theme and use the grid of “bullets” to help you organize any type of information you want.

Gardening bullet journal ideas

Many people keep immaculately organized bullet journals with an index, to-do lists, and rapid logging symbols like asterisks, dashes, and circles, to indicate the type of note that you are making.

If your journaling style is expressive writing, make sure that you prioritize plenty of room for written words and feelings.

Using stickers is also fun and artistic. You can find a variety sticker set of the things that you are planting (like flowers or vegetables,) and use the stickers in place of the words when you are journaling about your experiences. Using gel pens or colored pencils to draw your plants or doodle your feelings is another great option.

Gardening spiral journal

Spiral journals are a very popular option for gardeners who focus their journaling on written words. Spiral journals can also be incredibly cheap — you can pick up a regular notebook at any grocery store or Target, usually for a dollar or less.

Spiral journals typically come in a college or wide rule. The lines allow you to effectively keep your written words consistent and organized.

Printable gardening journal

Printable gardening journals are a great pick for people who want to start ASAP without going to the store. There are tons of creative printable journals on Etsy that you can choose from to help you organize your thoughts around your garden.

The point of a printable gardening journal is to print them out, and then keep them safe in a folder or binder.

Gardening journal apps

Gardening journal apps are a popular option as well if you want to keep everything completely digital. These apps allow you to write notes and thoughts and collect photos all together.

One downside of journaling apps is that they are slightly less flexible for expression. You are limited to writing with your keyboard instead of hand-writing, and you can’t draw or doodle or use stickers.

Gardening journal apps are best for people who might struggle to hand-write things, and who prefer to journal with written words and photos rather than drawings and doodles.

What is the best journal for gardeners?

The best type of journal for gardeners really depends on what your journaling style is. If you are highly organized (or want to be) and expressive, a bullet journal is a great pick. If you prefer simply writing your thoughts and feelings, a ruled spiral notebook is a simple solution. If you don’t want to run to the store or you need ideas and structure, a printable download is an amazing option. Or, if you prefer to keep everything digital and you like to match photos with text, journaling apps might be the best bet for you.

Ultimately, the best journal is the journal that you enjoy and keep up with on a daily basis.

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