But a benefit of this is that I like to catalog things. I love to write, and take pictures, and tuck things in envelopes. And that is exactly how our family’s garden journal began.
In a small spiral bound book, we chronicle the things we grow in a little plot that seems to grow itself each year. In a time before children, my father taught me how to plant a basic vegetable garden. He taught me rules, like that you make mounds for cucumber seeds, and that you never ever try to direct sow broccoli (rookie mistake). He taught me how to make mini-greenhouses for tomatoes so that you can start them just that much sooner.
I wrote a few of those things down. They seemed important to remember.
I think now that I should write down how much my dad seemed to come by gardening naturally, and the way he would drain a glass of lemonade while looking out on our work, clearly at home.
But in gardening, I’m learning, there is a lot to remember. Like how tall your child is next to a fully grown sunflower or what type of oregano is best on pizza. Or how your youngest calls the plants “babies” and makes every effort not to step on them.
My son wrote a book three years ago. It is full of stories about our cat, Rigatoni’s adventures. And because every book must have an author page, in his neatest 6-year-old handwriting, his says: "When not writing, Owen likes to spend time in his garden."
I hope both my children will continue to enjoy our family garden project. As long as they do, I will continue writing about it.
I may not be able to grow much inside out home, but I was definitely instilled with a love of gardening and a hyperactive sentimentality gene. Most days, that seems like enough.
What to keep in your own garden journal
Like any journal, a garden journal can be an ever-changing and evolving work. And in a family, it can be a project everyone can take part in. Some things to include:
* Children’s drawings
* A yearly photo of your family in front of the garden
* Favorite seed or plant varieties
* When to plant, or when to start seeds indoors
* A map (this is especially fun for a child to make)
* Family quips, “Mama, do a-squitoes like tatatoes?”
* Garden tips or resources
* Saved seeds (in small envelopes)
* Poems, verses or quotes: “Keep rosemary by your garden gate …Plant roses and lavender for luck." ~ Alice Hoffman
* Plans, baby. Big, big plans …