The first year we planted a garden, we were so excited about the plants that took off in full swing. We were disappointed about the varieties that never sprouted. We had a run-in between our tomatoes and our black walnut tree (read about juglone here). We had enough tomatoes to can for the year, but not much squash. We made mental notes of all these things.
But guess what? Come January (seed planning time), we couldn’t remember what varieties we had purchased, how much we needed to plant for preservation, where the best place in the garden would be for the broccoli… It turns out there’s a lot to remember with all of this garden stuff!
Likewise, for home and homesteading projects, we found that we would easily forget details that would really have been helpful to remember. Details like- what was that brand of chicken feed we really didn’t like? What length of pipe did we need to redo the bathtub drain? And where in the world did we put those lean-to greenhouse plans we printed off?
Enter: the homesteading notebook.
Ta-da! Isn’t it… er… grand and inspiring? (Don’t laugh at my 6th grade-ish collage attempts.) Okay, Martha Stewart I am not, but I’m sure you could make yours prettier. And keep your toddler away from it so it doesn’t get wet and stained and ripped.
I threw this together for a birthday gift for my husband last year. I took a binder and made a cover and dividers to help organize our various project information. Then I added notebook paper, graph paper, and blank paper. I made sure the binder had pockets for holding important or time sensitive receipts.
I divided our binder into garden, outdoor, and home projects. You could get more specific if you wanted to. Now, we are still not the most organized people- most of our papers in the binder just have scribbled notes and crumpled edges- but the best part about it is that everything is in one place.
Can’t remember how many beans we should plant? Check last years notes! Can you remember how you built that part of the chicken coop? Me neither, but the plans are in the notebook if you need to reference it. Where’s the phone number for that farmer we got our manure from last year? Not sure, but I bet you wrote it down. It’s all there for us to page through and refer back to.
Why should you make your own garden or homesteading notebook?
- It keeps your information organized.
- It helps you to plan ahead.
- It helps you avoid repeat mistakes.
- It helps you to recall good ideas.
- You don’t have to worry about losing a plan, receipt, idea, or record of anything you’ve dreamed or accomplished around your homestead.
Here are some ideas for things to include in your homesteading or garden notebook:
We’ve found that the more we take notes and plan ahead, the better organized we are and the more success we have for the next year. How do you keep track of your garden and homestead projects?
I love this! I just started a master to-do list notebook a couple weeks ago and am using it for all our bigger projects. I am trying to be more organized – something I used to be impeccable at, you know, before my three kids
Haha, I don’t think I was ever organized, and now with kids- I’m hopeless!! Great idea though on the to-do list. I hope it works well for you!
I enjoyed your post. Yes, keep a journal! I spent almost 10 years (and several binder replacements) doing just what you described. Write down those numbers, addresses, and random thoughts. Draw a quick sketch or plan and stuff it in the pocket. Where did I plant the carrots last spring? Rotation notes… tanning recipe… emergency vet numbers… you name it, I had it.
Then I needed to move my office corner to another building and somehow the notebook was left in a plastic storage tub out behind the house. I couldn’t find it. For a year. Sun damage cracked the cover and we got a crazy rain event that lasted almost a week. When I opened the bin it was swimming. I cannot describe the loss I felt!
So, new year, new homestead journal. The earth renews itself… and the journey continues!