A garden journal is a fun family project that can allow you to pin down a fussy microclimate by recording all sorts of details, such as your daily temperatures and frost dates. My own garden journal is more like a scrapbook: It’s a three-ring notebook with pockets that contain garden maps, my daughter’s garden art, notes about successes and failures, seed catalogs, articles, and wish lists. This year I plan to add digital photos.

Want to peek into the past and someone else’s journal? In The Garden and Farm Books of Thomas Jefferson, edited by Robert C. Baron, you can read Jefferson’s comments about the potatoes of Monticello and his letters to George Washington! If you’re not as prolific a record-keeper as our polymathic third president, check out the garden journals sold at many bookstores, as well as others that are free online in PDF format. For those Virgo-ish gardeners who like lavish detail when it comes to garden journals, Seeds of Change offers both print and online versions of its GardenCycle journal, in which you can record all sorts of gardening information from temperature to wind direction.

Eat Where You Live book cover"Eat Where You Live" 

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From "Eat Where You Live", Copyright © 2008 by Lou Bendrick. Used by arrangement with The Mountaineers Books.