Digital Garden Record-Keeping Tools
- when was that seed planted,
- when did the sprout come up,
- when did it start to wilt, brown, or
- when fortune smiles upon us, when did it flower?
All these questions can be answered with Garden Record Keeping. Certainly this is not an easy or simple task. There is so much data to track.
I remember trying to keep track of life when we used those little sticks of wood and graphite and dried sheets of wood pulp to make records. Then we’d have to leaf through all these pages to find what we wanted to know and correlate data both manually and use up valuable brain cells to think it through.
Now I rejoice in all the digital record keeping tools at my fingertips. Here’s an example:
One of my gardening friends, upon visiting my greenhouse wanted to know when the growth of the lettuce (at this point, I’m forgetting a word she used to describe the growth pattern. Let me digress to investigate. We corresponded by email, so I go to my email program to do a search on mail with her name in it. I didn’t have to go far, only to the next item on my dock - yes, I’m on an Apple, but don’t worry -even Windows users have these cool tools.) accelerated.
Hmm, I said. I don’t know. Let me consult, not the oracle - but the visual record. Moving over to my Photo database, I created a folder and labeled it “lettuce growth”. Then scanning through the photos from the time the lettuce seeds were planted. Oh, how did I know the date?
By consulting the calendar program. I have a calendar which shows up in a different color for each of my life paths (all integrated on one monthly page). Recently I’ve added several to accommodate all the gardening areas. My favorite one is for yearly activities. I set each item to be repeated once a year, so as I learn what needs to be done, when, in this Ozark environment, my trusty computer can let me know when its time for what.
Yes, I’m giving a computer a lot of responsibility, which means I have to BACK UP frequently. I’m sure that my rusting brain cells can remember to do that. Much better than they can remember all the details of everything I’m planting and growing and having to do to keep the garden growing.
Back to the Calendar program, input in search field “lettuce” and I can see when I planted them, 12/31/08. Back to the photographs at the beginning of the year to see more details and place representative pictures of the lettuce growth in the folder marked “Lettuce Growth.”
I love photography. But in the old days, though I had a good camera, I didn’t feel that good about the cost of film and development. And I never liked the date burned onto the photograph. However, I love the date that comes with digital photos! And the ability to label each one and sort them into folders.
Frequently I take the camera with me into greenhouse and field just to note what is going on, so when the questions come up later, there’s the answer!
I planted too many different types of seeds into one tray yesterday. I have little mini popsicle type sticks as the labels that fit in the tray. I know that they can easily be dislodged. And I’d really like to know what variety and color of which plant each seedling is. To keep it straight, I photographed the labels in the tray in order so I will be able to put the puzzle back together if it falls apart. Digitally assisted gardening!
Back to the lettuce - Wow, they were transplanted into the greenhouse bed on 1/5/09 (photo below). That’s fast!
Then (below) the lettuce plants started to overlap on 2/6. (That’s probably when I should have started to thin them, but my “right to life for plants” perspective is not today’s focus.)
I find great beauty in the unfolding leaves.
And below, complete overcrowding occurs on 2/20. My friend received a couple of photos and the answer in her email! Another example of digital recording keeping: I’m preparing a post on a comparison/review of two brands of watering cans. I couldn’t remember one of the brand names and the photo did not show the logo clearly enough. Back to my digital records in the Mail department. I did a search for “watering” in the body of the emails and came up with the email receipt for each item, including model number and brand name. Hazaah! No wonder the Baby Boomers and the Digital Age are such good friends! Whatever my little mind forgets, the super-big hard drive kindly remembers. I just have to recall what word to search for... However you garden, May you have joy in both the remembrance and the forgetting!