The 3 things in general to observe in your garden are:
1. Wildlife visiting your garden.
2. Moisture level in your soil.
3. How your vegetables are doing.
When you take the time to observe these 3 things you get to know your garden which will help you make better decisions on how to manage your garden.
Let’s look a bit more why observing your garden is so important.
Why You Should Observe Your Garden
Often you might see gardening advice that is given as if it applies to everyone. The most common is that your garden needs the equivalent of 1 inch of rain every week.
But there is also lots of advice out there about making sure to fertilize your plants on regular cycles.
These are examples of advice that don’t require you to observe your garden. Instead you just do X on a regular cycle regardless of the unique aspects of your own garden.
There are more examples of this sort of thinking but what connects them is they’re all examples of not taking time to observe your garden.
Let’s look at watering as an example.
You could just water on that regular cycle or you could use a basic test—that is just stick your finger in the soil and see if the soil is moist and cool.
This works best if you have a mulch layer over your garden but even without mulch you can still use this test.
I use this test regularly in my gardens and other growing areas. I know my plant roots go deep into the soil so if the top layer of soil is moist then most likely the soil deeper down will also be moist.
Though you do want to make sure you water deeply when you do water and not just get the surface of the soil wet.
If the soil is still cool and moist then I don’t worry about watering. The result is that I water far less than is generally recommended. My perennial food systems don’t get watered at all.
I will water my plants if needed but instead of following some general one-size-fits-all rule I instead observe my garden which let’s me respond to what my garden actually needs.
This is just an example of the benefit of observing your garden.
What Do You Observe in Your Garden?
I would love to hear from you about what you observe in your garden and how your observations affect your gardening.
Please leave a reply to this thread and don’t forget to go check out the blog post. The post dives into 3 ways you can observe your garden so make sure to visit it.
I use both a note book and wooden markers to keep track of what I plant in each bed:split bamboo for the variety of veg (i.e. Manchester long) & sometimes the date, and the tops of wooden wine boxes at the head of each bed with the veg type which I prepare ahead during the winter when I plan my crop rotation.
Last time I collected slugs I noted good many kinds there were (5).
In our community garden, we have a kid friendly reference book so the kids can look up the critters they find. They write the date of the sighting in the book so over time we have our critter library!
I'm so work focused on my garden that I'm grateful to my husband who sometimes visits to take pictures to help me see is beauty. At his suggestion I've installed a seat in the best viewing spot which has really helped me take a step back and observe.
I love the idea of putting a chair out in the garden. I also tend to be very task-focused with these laser-like ops (I have 10 minutes to cut sorgum for the rabbits, go!) and it's nice to just get out there without a stated goal.
This whole topic reminds me of the old saying, the best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow.
All of the world's problems can be solved in a garden - Geoff Lawton. Tiny ad:
the permaculture bootcamp in winter (plus half-assed holidays)