Keeping Track Of Your Plants
Now that you are starting to put your plants in the ground, you need to consider how you will keep track of them. This is important for both flower gardens and vegetable gardens because knowing what plants you have where helps you when it comes to providing them with the proper care.
Keeping the Information That Came with the Plant
The first step to keeping proper record of your plants is to keep whatever information came with your plant. If you purchased seeds, keep the packet the seeds came in. If you purchased a plant, it most likely came with a plastic insert that was either placed in the soil or tied to the plant. This insert provides you with valuable information regarding how to properly care for the plant.
If the seeds or plants you purchased did not come with information on how to care for the plant, you might want to consider purchasing a plant encyclopedia. These books can generally be found at garden centers, though you might consider going to a major book retail chain to find a wider variety. Using these books, all you need is the name of your plant to look up valuable information for its proper care and even for propagation. If you purchase a new variety of plant or one that is more unusual, however, you may have a difficult time locating information in one of these.
The Internet can also be a valuable resource for learning more about the plants you purchased. This source also tends to have more current information since it is much easier to update than a book. In addition, you may be able to locate some gardening forums or chatboards on which you can discuss your particular plant with other gardeners.
Stakes in your garden are a great way to keep track of your plants. You can purchase wooden stakes that look like Popsicle sticks from most garden supply stores. If you cannot find any there, then look at a craft and hobby store instead. Using a permanent marker, you can write the name of the plant directly on the stake.
Another option is to cut up vertical blinds, which is what I did for my gardens. The plastic strips used to make vertical blinds cut very easily and are water resistant. In addition, permanent markers write very well on their surface. If you have an old set of vertical blinds that you were going to throw away anyway, a great alternative is to cut them into strips that are about three to four inches long. You can literally get over 100 stakes from just one blind!
Using the labels you have placed next to your plants, you can quickly and easily identify your plants. Then, cross-reference the name with the information you have gathered about your plant. In that way, you can be sure to prune, fertilize, and provide other care for the plant at the most appropriate time. This will also help you if the plant begins to look unhealthy because you will know what the plant is and have a better chance of learning how to care for it.
Keeping a Garden Journal
If you are really serious about you garden, you might also consider keeping a garden journal. In a garden journal, you can record information such as how well the flower did in the garden, when it bloomed, and any problems you encountered with the flower. This will help you be better prepared for the flower the following season if it is a perennial.
Maintaining a garden journal also helps you determine what your favorite flowers are and which ones you would like to have more of. In addition, it can help you decide what flowers you might need to add to your garden and where. For example, you might decide that you need more flowers that bloom in the late spring because you currently do not seem to have many that do. Or, you might decide that you need more white flowers because most of your current flowers are shades of blue and purple and you think white would create a nice contrast.