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Gardening: Avoid past mistakes and repeat successes when planning spring garden

Ray Ridlen answers questions about gardening and horticulture.
BY Ray Ridlen Published: November 26, 2012

Q. How can I improve my gardening for next year?

A. Making the most of your gardening experience starts by repeating your successes and avoiding your mistakes. What is an easy way to improve your gardening performance? By keeping good records.

I agree that keeping records and storing them so you can find them again draws up images of laboring over piles and files, but the reality is much different. Garden record keeping can be done on a single tablet, calendar or computer.

By recording what happens in the garden, we can learn to avoid what went wrong and repeat what went right. This is where records play an important role in successful gardening. These records don't have to record every daily activity, but need to include a few important items. So during one of these cold December days, why not take a few moments to update your 2012 garden records and place them where you can find them next season.

What kind of records should you keep?

•The first item is to create a map of the garden and show what plants were planted where in 2012. This will allow you to properly rotate vegetables to reduce soil disease and nematode problems in 2013.

•Another important record is the pest control and fertilizer products applied over the season.

•Planting and harvest dates provide important information on when to begin soil preparation and when you can anticipate harvests for varieties you plant next season.

•Taking some notes on the varieties planted will help you select the best varieties for the next season. For vegetable varieties, note the days to harvest, general yield and eating quality.

Q. What can I do in the landscape this time of year?

A. Oklahoma provides a great place to live for gardeners. Our climate in Oklahoma allows us to get outdoors and garden year-round. While some may decry garden “chores,” true gardeners see garden tasks for what they are, a chance to get out of the house and enjoy some simple, invigorating activity.

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