Have you ever taken a school trip to the countryside? Some teachers ask their students to bring a field notebook that day so that you can write down everything they see and develop small cards about the animals and/or plants they see. They can even collect sheets to include in that document and thus illustrate it much better.
But actually, the field notebook is much more and today we want to explain everything you can do with one. Go for it?
What is a field notebook
A field notebook, also called a field diary, is nothing more than a notepad in which all the information obtained in the «field» is written down, understanding this word as the work that is done.
For example, for an archaeologist, the field notebook may contain information about the excavations that are being carried out, the guidelines that are followed and the finds that are found (with photos, drawings, etc.). In the case of a naturalist, it could be a compilation of what he sees when he goes out to explore, with examples of leaves, drawings of plants, etc.
And in gardening? well normally the field diary refers to the different care provided to the plants and the result you get. An example of this could be annotations of phytosanitary products, exploitations or compilation of care and reactions of the plants.
- If it is one of phytosanitary products, the field notebook is used to write down what is given to each plant and the reaction it has. If it goes well, if it has become wilted, if it has had any illness… In fact, Royal Decree 1311/2012, better known as the Law on the sustainable use of medical devices, requires all farmers to have a field notebook of a farm if it has phytosanitary controls.
- If it is one of exploitation, it refers to the rotations of the different cultivation areas in such a way that it is known what has been planted in each one and which has rested to start the cycle again (and that the land recovers).
- Finally, if it is one of plant care, which may be the usual for your garden, you can make a compilation of all the plants you have and comment on the care that is given and how they evolve. Keep in mind that sometimes plants have to adapt to their new environment and this is sometimes not easy and requires more attention.
What is the purpose of a field diary?
We cannot say that there is a single objective in a field notebook, but several. If we focus on the definition of this, being a record of all phytosanitary treatment applied to plants, then the objective is none other than to verify that current regulations are being followedas well as to evaluate and ensure that the plants are being well cared for (this is very important when asking for help).
But if we are not farmers, the objective that you can have with these annotations is none other than to see the evolution of your plants, as well as to record the moment in which it is fertilized, pruned, transplanted, products are applied to combat pests, etc.
What information does it contain
This time we are going to divide this topic in two. The field notebook itself and the gardening one.
Information from a field notebook
As we have told you, this would be the registration of phytosanitary products and This document is divided into two parts. On the one hand, the registration of the plot or of the fields of exploitation. That is, here is included information about the field extensionwhere is it, what is the land like…
Furthermore, the phytosanitary treatment data. It must include invoices from the phytosanitary agents, equipment inspection certificates, proof of delivery of empty containers, analysis of residues and employment contracts of the people who have applied the products.
All this must be collected in the same document (don’t worry because the Ministry of Agriculture has left a model on the web that you can Download).
Information from a field diary for gardening or research
In case you only want to have a field journal (either because you have gone for a walk in the countryside or because you want to keep one for the plants in your garden) you can also do it.
In the event that it is for a walk, you must contain the plants you come acrossa description of these and even a memory (a fruit, a leaf, a piece of its bark, etc.).
Yes it is one for your garden, should contain:
- A relationship of plants. If possible, also its location. In this way, by looking at the book you will know which plant is (sometimes, when you have many, they can be confused).
- Basic care of each plant. This in a general way.
- care provided. Sometimes they differ from the previous ones because the plant, due to its location, can change its needs. Here you can write down the dates of subscriber, transplant, irrigation, diseases and treatments, results…
How to make a field notebook
Has it caught your attention and do you want to make one yourself? You already know that, if you are a farmer, this document is mandatory, and it is best to use the model of the Ministry of Agriculture So you don’t have much room to be creative.
Also, you must keep it three years minimum, either on paper or digitally.
In the case of being a education notebook, or gardening, the thing changes.
The goal in one is to write down everything that happens on a field trip (to nature) where everything you see is written. On the other hand, the gardening focuses on your plants, what are they, what do you give them, how do they react, if they bloom, etc.
For this you need a notebook, which can be a simple ring binder or whatever is most comfortable for you. It is also necessary to have colored pens and pencils (in case you want to paint the plant you see). In addition, small bags with closure, or tape are other tools that can come in handy.
We recommend that you divide it into two parts, a first in which you write down where you are going on an excursion in nature or the details of your garden; and a second where you focus on what you see or the plants you have.
Have you ever made a field notebook? Did you like the experience?