From one year to the next there are things to keep track of in the garden. We do this by keeping a notebook. Ours is a bound hard cover one so the pages stay in. Using a notebook, we find, keeps it all together. It's an ideal organization tool for us.
This time of year we are pouring over garden catalogs and deciding what to grow in the coming season. So we choose a couple of facing blank pages and sketch out the shapes of the gardens. Then we write in what will go where. A sticky note is marked with the year and stuck on at the top. This keeps the place so we can go right to it as needed.
Each new garden season moves forward in the book. This system keeps our previous year's data so we can look back to see how things were earlier. Ours goes back ten years and it's fun to look back to see how things have come along.
The system keeps our rotation planting in order. It's easy to see where things were last year. This year we simply move each veggie one row along. Beets last year, potatoes this year.
The orchard areas are permanently located in the book unless drastic changes are made and the page is redrawn. Usually we just add in the new apple, or peach, or pear.
The notebook also serves as a scrapbook; clippings and planting info are rubber cemented in. When we buy a fruit tree for instance, a snippet of the invoice that says what we bought and when is pasted in. We paste in handouts and notes from lectures and gardening workshops. All of the necessary data is then in one place instead of getting lost in piles of clutter and junk mail (oh, we're REALLY not THAT messy!).
When it comes time to plant, the notebook goes right out to the garden with us, so seeds get put into their designated rows, and trees into their alloted places.
Its a great little system, and when we are not using it, it takes up only the space of a book on the bookshelf. -jmm