The Edmond Sun

September 26, 2013

Record keeping for the garden

Ray Ridlin
Special to The Sun

MOORE — A garden map is a valuable resource for long-term planning for gardening. Crop rotation is a worthwhile application for preventing certain disease problems. Rotations of several years are, in general, a wise practice. For example, rotation of tomato to sweet corn to green bean over a three-year period to keep from having plants of the same family two years in a row in the same location.

In the event of certain soil-borne disease problems, having knowledge of previous crops can be helpful for diagnosis of problems. If trying to remember more than two years back, memory may not be clear. A map of each year’s garden can be valuable when this sort of information is needed.

In addition to making a map, keeping information on how specific crops did in a given year, in combination with crop location in the garden, may reveal that a certain crop does better in certain locations. Having maps available from past years enable the gardener to better evaluate gardening practices.

Keeping a list of specific crop varieties, or cultivars, is often helpful with future garden planning. Some gardeners pay close attention to varieties while others use what happens to be available at the garden center. Knowing specifically what is desired for the garden eliminates guess work when making purchases. Once a list of the varieties planted is made at the beginning of garden season, keep it handy for making notes as the season progresses. Write down which plants do well and those that do not. This will be helpful with future gardens.

An inventory of garden supplies can have safety implications and also can save money. Invariably, in a garage or garden shed cleanup, duplicate containers of certain garden chemicals are found. This can be hazardous as old containers may eventually begin to leak or toxic chemicals degrade and create a disposal problem. If not a hazard, duplicates or unused chemicals represent a waste of money. To prevent these situations, make an inventory of chemicals on hand and keep it in a visible location. Make a habit to add newly purchased materials to the list. If possible, it is wise to keep such items in a clearly marked location so that, in the event of any emergency situation, others will be aware of a possible chemical hazard.

Additional information to consider keeping track of includes fertilizer kinds and amounts used, pest problems encountered, manure additions to the garden, etc. It is a good time to get caught up on record-keeping.

RAY RIDLEN is extension educator for the Oklahoma County OSU Extension Center.