6 Gorgeous Examples Of How To Use A Bullet Journal To Plan Your Garden

These beautiful bujos track everything from seed sprouting to crop rotation. Check them out and get some serious inspiration for planning your own garden.

March 10, 2017
Bullet Journals help gardeners organize their ideas visually
Photograph courtesy of Erin Murphy

If you love getting organized—or really, really want to get organized—bullet journaling might be for you. 

Brooklyn designer Ryder Carroll introduced the concept of bullet journals, which sound hardcore, but really just involve very smart strategies for using an old-fashioned unlined notebook for planning purposes, eschewing helter-skelter list-making or smartphone- and cloud-based apps for writing stuff down on paper. 

(Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!)

Unlike your average to-do list, these journals (bujos for short), don’t just help with your daily task list. They serve as highly personalized, lavishly illustrated organizers, calendars, diaries and dreambooks that can be used for both project management and appointment keeping as well as big-picture goal attainment. Today, the productivity-boosting system has a bit of a cult following—just look up #bulletjournal or #bujo on Instagram, and you’ll find over half a million results.

It’s a system that has attracted hundreds of gardeners (there's even a dedicated Bullet Journals In the Garden group on Facebook) who use their bujos for logging everything from seed spacing to chicken egg production.  

Here, six gardeners let us take a peek inside their bullet journals and share what they’ve learned from the experience. Even if you’ve never started a journal before, they might inspire you to pick up a notebook and plot out your own garden bullet journal. (And if you also are new to gardening, here’s everything you need to start gardening.)

Amanda Richards uses her bullet journal to plan her garden
Photograph courtesy of Amanda Richards

Name: Amanda Richards

Location: Maryville, TN

Bullet journaler for: 4 months

My bullet journal tracks: My garden plan as well as sprouting dates and eventually planting and harvesting dates.

Time spent creating log: With all the research on planting dates and seed spacing, I'd say maybe 5 hours for the original layout. The fancier one in my new bujo was about an hour to draw the icons, although sadly I haven't finished coloring them in yet. I have two toddlers who keep me busy!

Time spent updating log per week: Now that it is completely laid out, I just add in the dates the seeds sprouted so I have the info for next year. So maybe a few minutes.

Experience with gardening: This is my second season. Last year I had no plan and ended up with am empty plot but tons of tomatoes and arugula. This year I hope I can stick to my layout plan and have a full garden.
 

How is bullet journaling changing your gardening? It's only my second season but I feel much more prepared this year than last. If any thing at last I know I'll have tomatoes and arugula!

Related: Secrets to Growing Plump Tomatoes

Bullet Journals help gardeners organize their ideas visually
Photograph courtesy of Erin Murphy

Name: Erin Murphy

Location: Williamsburg, Virginia

Bullet journaler for: 7 months

My bullet journal tracks: Layout and rotation for spring-summer-fall (I'll be in a new journal by the winter, when we do limited gardening in cold frames); germination/hardening/transplant schedule; notes on sources and germination or maturity times as needed; timing for when things need to be planted; and what seedlings I'm planning to trade with other gardening friends.

Time spent creating log: about an hour

Time spent updating log per week: Less than 5 minutes this early in the season, probably less than 10 minutes when I have more things going. Spending more time on a spread lets me spend minimal time updating it later!

Experience with gardening: Grew up on a farm in Northern California, container gardened for 10+ years in Richmond (Virginia). Five years ago, built extensive, organic raised beds to grow as much of our own food as possible, with 90% heirloom varieties (for canning and other food preservation as well). I can't grow cucumbers to save my life, but seem to do well with pretty much everything else I try. I'm known amongst my friends and work colleagues for a wide range of pestos (I grow at least six types of basil every year).
 

How is bullet journaling changing your gardening? I've planned before, but on pieces of scrap paper I have to keep track of for months. Now I’ll have a record of what worked and what didn't, with all my notes in one place. So this is similar to how bullet journaling has changed the rest of my life, quieting down the "noise" in my head so I can be much more productive and efficient, calmer and more peaceful. I like having pretty layouts, it makes me as happy to look at them as it does to look at my garden. I suppose it isn't changing my gardening as much as it is helping to integrate it in the rest of my life even more seamlessly and effortlessly.

Related: 7 Secrets For A High-Yield Vegetable Garden, Even When You're Tight On Space

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Audrey Ko's garden bullet journal helps her plan her garden
Photograph courtesy of Audrey Ko

Name: Audrey Ko

Location: Chicagoland, IL, USA

Bullet journaler for: 7 months

My bullet journal tracks: The weather, monthly gardening tasks, expenses, a wish list, gardening tips and garden layout. (See more of Audrey’s garden bullet journaling at her website, The Things Unseen.)

Time spent creating log: 1 day

Time spent updating log per week: About 10 minutes per day, so 70 minutes per week

Experience with gardening: Going on four years

How bullet journaling has impacted your gardening goals: It keeps me on task, allows me to compare prices, and enables me to track growth and harvest. 

Gabriela Navarrete uses bullet journaling for growing orchids
Photograph courtesy of Gabriela Navarrete

Name: Gabriela Valenzuela Navarrete

Location: Mexico City

Bullet journaler for: I started doing my gardening charts since last September. I started bullet journaling in general in July 2016.

My bullet journal tracks: I have spreads where I write down the name of orchids species in my collection and my garden plants, their need for fertilization, soil, water and light.  The log I have is to write when I last added fertilizer to each plant, and when I last did a major maintenance to the gardens.

Time spent creating log: It took me a few days to start with it, but it keeps growing as I add new plants or new orchids to my garden.

Time spent updating log per week: I usually update it every two weeks, when I write down the date when I fertilized my plants. 

Experience with gardening: On my own about 5 years. And my mother has a great garden and I've always helped her.

How is bullet journaling changing your gardening? It helps me keep an eye over the frequency of fertilization of my plants, and that is making them be healthier and give more flowers. It is especially important for orchids since they have more specific requirements.

Related: 6 Easy to Care For Flowers To Grow Inside 

Candice Andyn uses her bujo to create a garden layout
Photograph courtesy of Candice Andyn

Name: Candice Andyn 

Location: South Australia (Temperate Zone)

Bullet journaler for: About three and a half-ish years. I've only had a dedicated garden bullet journal for the past year.  

My bullet journal tracks: Everything garden-related. What I plant in which beds, and when they should germinate, grow, and ripen. When I feed our worm farm and what they like or dislike. The cost of garden supplies and chicken feed. A chicken log for tracking egg production, health and general behavior. Even how much produce I receive from certain plants, and how much has been preserved (canned or dehydrated) to know how much I may wish to grow the following year.

Time spent creating log: Some logs are just a few ruled lines on the page for things like garden costs, which are very quick. One is an aerial view of our house to scale, which took the better part of a day to draw.

Time spent updating log per week: My journal is by my side every time I do something in the garden or when I notice something about the chickens (helpful for getting on top of problems fast!) I really only spend a few moments updating what I do each day. 

Experience with gardening: Until 5 years ago, I had never grown anything outside of primary school. However, things are looking up, with small successes like cauliflower, broccoli, peppers and salad vegetables — when the chickens don’t get into the yard! 

How is bullet journaling changing your gardening? Now, I know when I planted and when to pick (no more pulling carrots before they’re ready!). I’m keeping track of what I need to do differently next year to get good results, in our specific conditions. I was so inspired by farmers’ logs and homestead journals, so I look forward to looking back in 20 years time and seeing the history and progress that has been made.

Related: How To Keep Chickens In A Tiny Yard

 
 
Noelle Podoll is using her bujo to learn how to garden
Photograph courtesy of Noelle Podoll

Name: Noelle Podoll

Location: Ionia, Michigan

Bullet journaler for:  Less than a year

Time spent creating log: 3 plus hours, researching spread, planning, and actually making spreads.

This bullet journal tracks:  I am in the planning stages, so it is tracking what I plan to grow. Both veggies and herbs, when to plant and transplant, information about soil and sunlight, and then just ideas that I have for the garden.   Once I actually start the garden, I will track when I water, weed, and growth charts. That sort of thing. 

Time spent updating log per week: Just starting for the gardening season.  The plan is to make it a quick and easy way to keep track of my garden. 

Experience with gardening: I grew up with my parents always having a garden but I had little interest until I was on my own and had a family.  This will be my first garden.

How is bullet journaling changing your gardening? Because this is my first garden, the bullet journal has helped me to get an idea of what I want out of my garden, a place to put down my ideas.  Hopefully long term, it will help me to keep me on track to have success with my gardening experiences.