As we retreat into our homes for the winter, now is the time to think back to the past growing season while it’s fresh in your mind and take notes for next season. If you wait too long into the winter, the growing season will seem like a distant dream and you may not remember all of the successes and failures you’ll want to learn from for next year.
Keeping a garden journal — or even a running list — of things throughout the growing season will benefit you greatly when planning for next year. Take note of any new varieties (even annuals) that you planted and periodically jot down how they’re doing in your garden. If you moved or divided existing perennials, it’s important to note the date that you did this and how they’re doing towards the end of the season.
If you’re feeling extra ambitious, head out to the garden once a week and make a list of what’s in bloom. This is a fantastic way to look back at the season and take notice of times in the season where you may have wanted more color. Then you can look up varieties that bloom during that time and add them in spring. If you loved a particular bouquet you cut from your garden, write down the varieties and date you cut it. All of this information is so helpful to future you who may feel like the summer was too far gone to remember.
Even if you didn’t keep a garden journal throughout the season, it’s nice to write down an end-of-season “debrief” while it’s still fresh in your mind. Overall, what were you favorite moments you enjoyed in your landscape? What plants stood out to you that looked especially fantastic? What plants do you remember struggling with? This is a fun activity for one of those first cold days you’re stuck inside. Look back at photos you have saved on your phone or those you posted to social media to help refresh your mind.
Looking Forward To Next Season
Although you may want to wait a few months to actually make your list of plants you’d like to order for next season, now is the time to think about what you want to accomplish in the garden while it’s still fresh in your mind. If you want more fragrant plants, make a note of this. If you felt like you could have grown more Carrots, write this down to order more come spring. If you loved a particular annual you got at the garden center, make sure to add this to your notes to order for next year.
Our growing season are so short here in Vermont it is easy to become overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done in such a short amount of time. But taking an hour or two once the cold weather sets in to remember what went well and what could have been improved will help you immensely once you start planning for next season.