We recently came across this picture from 1998 of our adorable daughters enjoying their pool.
It made me smile like all of our old pictures of them do. The added bonus to this picture however, is that you can see our raised bed garden in the background! Back then the vegetable garden was manageable and fun for the whole family. Last year we switched to a large farm style row garden and it WAS NOT fun for the family. We got a large harvest but the weeds got so out of control that my wife and daughters wouldn't even go out there. It looked terrible!
The other cool thing about our old square foot gardening gardens were that they were small enough to be mapped out in my garden journal. Here is the map of the exact garden seen in the first picture:
It is recorded in my favorite book, A Gardener's Journal: A Ten Year Chronicle of Your Garden which was a Christmas present from my wife in 1997. In it you can track your garden's progress every day for 10 years! I used it faithfully for two or three years but I wish I had all 10 years filled out. If so, my garden would have been much more successful! Here is what the outside looks like (I've been looking at it along with my new 2014 garden catalogs!)
It's a fantastic reference because it has designated places for you to record lots of things about your gardens; layout maps, notes, weather, planting and harvest records, perennial gardens, pest and disease control and more.
I'm looking forward to using it again this year. The first thing I'm going to do is draw a new garden layout with raised beds like in the picture of my swimming little girls. I have much to consider. How large of beds? How many? Made from what materials? What will we grow in them and how much? These are great things to ponder during this cold winter.
Hopefully going back to the basics with only a small number of raised beds and using the Garden Journal again will give us a new start and a garden that the whole family will enjoy!