How I Keep a Garden Binder

My gardens have taken many forms over the years and I'm a firm believer that anyone can garden just about anywhere. When I first started out, I grew a few herbs on my windowsill because I lived in a tiny apartment and had no green space of my own. That little basil plant in my kitchen got me hooked! When we moved to a new home we joyfully ripped out the back lawn and put in raised beds for veggies. 

back yard raided bed garden home of lori roberts of little truths studio

Next we lived in the shade of the forest, we enjoy an ever-expanding container garden on the deck. (I talk about some of my favorite plants for containers here.)

patio flower garden with woods in background home of lori roberts little truths studio

And now we live on a ten acre property we lovingly named Paint Water Farm where we have much more room to grow! You can read more about our garden's transformation here.

Every year I grow as a gardener. And each season I learn something new- which plants thrive where I live and which don't. Which gardening practices work and which don't. After a few years I knew I needed a way to chronicle this journey and track my learnings.

table top garden planning with garden binder and seed packets

So I started a garden binder

For me, digging in the dirt, feeling the earth in my hands, has become a sacred practice and one I've documented for many years. Along with the practical aspects of gardening that I want to track (planting dates, seasonal patterns, seed inventory, etc) I also wanted to write and sketch about my love of gardening: why I garden, how I feel when I watch something grow from a seed (triumph!), what it means to be mindful as one season transitions into the next. To fit this all into one place, I started using a 3-ring binder to hold it all. It's part journal, part planner, part almanac and part sketchbook. It's a big, messy, mud splattered, chronicle of my gardens over the years.  And over time it has evolved into a creative place to sketch and write and has become a cherished piece of our family's history.  

garden journal three ring binder made by lori roberts of little truths studio

Why keep it in a binder?

  • I like to keep all of my gardening information in one place and that can be a lot of pages! Given that I divide my binder into several sections, I need enough space to hold it all.
  • It's adjustable! I'm constantly tweaking and adjusting how I organize my information.
  • I can choose to use plastic page protectors if I plan to use certain sections outdoors.
  • Most pre-made garden planners don't incorporate all the sections I want so this way I can add and remove pages as I wish and fully customize it.

garden three ring binder with photographs and seed starting page

How to organize your garden binder

I created a printable PDF Garden Planner & Journal here. It's a great place to start if you want to create your own garden binder. It includes 37 printable pages for you to organize and add to as you wish.

illustration of what pages in printable garden journal by little truths studio

Garden binder sections:

  • Planning: Graph paper or a planning grid to map out what you will grow where.
  • Tracking: A place to track when you start seeds, your seed inventory, seasonal checklists, budget.
  • Journaling: As a journaling evangelist, I find it rewarding and valuable to chronicle my time in the garden. And it's fun to look back over the years and see how my garden has evolved. For me, I don't always know what to write about so I prefer journaling prompts. In my Garden Planner & Journal PDF I have several different prompts to get you started.
  • Sketching: As a painter, there are few things I enjoy as much as sitting in my garden, painting. I sketch on card stock if I'm using pencil or I use watercolor paper if I'm painting. 
  • Inspiration: In my binder I've included my dad's garden sketch when he was planning our family garden in 1989. I have saved magazine clippings, recipes, photographs. Be creative!
  • Preservation: A place to record what I plan to do with my produce this year, canning inventory, do I plan to donate any produce? Host a food swap?

garden journal pages food preservation plan

Want more garden inspiration?

Thanks friends and happy gardening!

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Hi Friends!

I’m Lori Roberts

At the heart of Little Truths Studio is a shared journey. To be better humans. To make the world more beautiful with our actions and intentions. To declare our values into being. I speak these truths through gentle art, thoughtful words and a desire to embrace a slower, kinder way of life. Learn more about me >